Resourceful HR: Re-evaluating what makes us unique

You should see my living room this morning. It’s covered in flip chart paper. What started out as a new web site project has morphed into a dissection of our business

  • What is our brand promise?
  • What service standards can our clients expect?
  • How do we know when we’ve met their expectations?

I know that loosely in our minds we have general ideas that answer these questions but I think it’s time we get it down on paper and share it with you. I’ll want to take some time with this over the course of the year to really dive into what makes us truly unique from other HR firms and what makes our clients raving fans. I’ll share this journey with you as I expect I am not the only one who struggles with how to articulate who, what and why a business exists to the outside world with clarity and truth. Posts won’t come on a “schedule”. They’ll come as we finish a piece or discover some nugget of what we think might be wisdom and useful to share. Our blog will be less of reference guide moving forward and instead be a journey of evolvement both internally at Resourceful HR and from what we learn working with clients and external research. We hope you appreciate the change in focus and invite your feedback. One thing I know for sure about us is our desire for feedback. It’s what fuels us to keep doing what’s working and immediately tweak what could be changed.
I hope 2015 is off to an exciting start for you. Cheers to what’s possible for all of us in the year 2015.
– Jennifer

Talent Wars: Are you prepared for battle?

The war for talent is on, as most industries require very specific skills from their employees. Targeting and attracting that talent is critical to remain competitive in the marketplace. There are many ways to ensure your recruiting efforts are successful.

Resourceful HR’s top five tips:

  1. Create a contingency plan.
  2. There will always be unexpected vacancies and no candidates ready to fill the role. Recruiters are great at building a pipeline of talent and maintaining relationships with quality candidates. They should spend time finding professionals with critical skill sets or experiences that would be valuable to your organization to ensure you can move quickly in hiring someone should the original plan fall through.

  3. Vet your internal candidates and external talent pool.
  4. A good recruiter can gather market intelligence on the talent pool and see what the market has to offer. This will ensure that the decision to promote from within or offer training to existing employees is because they are the best person for the job and organization.

  5. Engage recruiters that know what you offer.
  6. Recruiters (internal and external) should serve as a brand representative for your organization. Maximize their ability to build interest and excitement for working for the organization.

  7. Craft your compelling story.
  8. All communications a qualified candidate receives, whether it be your website, job boards, postings, social media, or communications with your recruiter should help them understand what differentiates your organization and why they would be interested in joining your team. From organizational goals and career opportunity to the unique culture, every aspect of working for the organization should be used to garner enthusiasm for joining your team.

  9. Assess your culture before you make a hiring decision and ask the right questions.
  10. Articulating your culture and work environment and what it takes to thrive at your organization during the recruiting process will allow candidates to know what success entails. Asking the right questions of candidates will allow you to fully understand the likelihood a candidate will be able to perform as needed. (Link to:

Quiz: Is it time to bring in recruiting resources?

There are some tell-tale signs that it is time to outsource recruiting. If you answer yes to two or more of these questions it may be time to look for a recruiting partner.
1. Is it taking you longer than expected to find quality candidates?
2. Are you spending your time weeding through candidate resumes that are clearly not the right fit?
3. Is recruiting taking your time away from your core business functions?
4. Are you experiencing high turnover rates from employees you hired that aren’t the right fit?

The “Occasional Basis Worker” Under Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Benefit Ordinance – Obligations for Companies Based Outside of Seattle

Seattle’s paid sick and safe time benefit (PSST) went into effect on September 1, 2012. It may seem like eons ago considering all that you are working on but it may be something that has slipped off your radar due to your full plate. Or maybe your company is growing and is sending workers into the city for the first time since the ordinance took effect. This is the important element to consider: Even if your headquarters are outside of Seattle but have employees that travel to Seattle for client work you are still mandated to adhere to the Seattle PSST ordinance. The Seattle Office of Civil Rights requires that “Occasional Basis Workers” must accrue PSST after working 240 paid hours within the city limits. The amount of accrual varies and we can help you design a policy that works for your organization – more details and resources below.

Quick tips and several resources to help manage this process:

  • An “Occasional Basis Worker” is defined as one who works primarily outside the City of Seattle, but who works inside the city limits on an ad hoc, irregular basis.
  • Companies must track hours worked in Seattle for all workers. (See the exception for qualifying PTO programs, below.)
  • Accrual time starts the minute your employee arrives in the Seattle City limits from the time they leave, except when the employee is just driving through. This means that even if there is a traffic jam on the way to the meeting downtown, they must accrue PSST hours.
  • Accrual of PSST hours begins on the 241st hour of work within the Seattle City Limits. Employees must be allowed to use accrued PSST hours no later than 180 days from the day they begin accruing.
  • There are different accrual rates based on whether you are tier one, two or three company. This is a great place to learn more information:
  • If your company offers Paid Time Off (PTO) program that allows employees to use the benefit hours for issues that would qualify for PSST, and the accrual rate meets the minimum requirements under the PSST, tracking hours worked within the city limits is not required. However, all other requirements of the PSST (such as qualifying events and minimum usage requirements) must be met within your existing policy.
  • Commission-only and piece rate workers must also track their hours worked within the city, and must be compensated at least at minimum wage for PSST hours used.

For even more information check out:

Do you have questions regarding this ordinance? – how to write a compliant policy, how to track it, how to apply it – let us know! We also look forward to hearing your tips on how you are tracking hours and remaining compliant. Let us know in the comments below.

HR and Startups – Planning for Successful Growth and Greater Productivity

Over the years Resourceful HR has had the opportunity to work with many cutting edge startups in both the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest. It has been a pleasure to help these companies put a plan in place for recruiting, compensation, performance management and compliance. We have had the wonderful opportunity to watch them achieve their growth and productivity goals including hiring top talent and receiving the funding they require to continue to grow.

Accomplishing these initiatives is often easier said than done though, because many entrepreneurs and startup founders have many other responsibilities to focus on. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, often startups do the bare minimum when it comes to HR because there just isn’t enough time in the day. As the article shares, HR is an important component to add to your bench in order to get most out of your most expensive line item – your people – and to avoid current and future people, performance and policy issues. We encourage you to read the entire article here as several HR consultants and executives share some great tips.

Four important things to remember:

HR is more than recruiting. Often startups are focused on acquiring the talent they need without thinking about the HR structure and initiatives needed to support them after they join your company. Don’t lose sight of the long game.

Your office manager may need HR training or support. Many times HR responsibilities fall to the office manager by default. He/she may need additional HR training or an HR expert that can provide support when it comes to employee, performance, or compliance issues, as well as guidance on which HR activities will bring the greatest return on investment.
Be conscious of the culture you want to create and work towards creating it from the very start. It is much easier to start as you intend to finish rather than find yourself in a situation where you may need to make big culture changes when you’re already well underway.

Assess which policies are required by law and which policies will clarify company expectations and offerings. You may also want to consider policies that are specific to your work environment and/or demographic such as social media, telecommuting, and relocation policies. At this point, it’s probably safe to say that every company should have a social media policy given its ubiquity in our current society.

Be aware of the nepotism. Startups often tap their own networks for hiring, which has its plusses and minuses. While hiring from referrals tends to be less risky, you can end up with a homogeneous and/or cliquish and divided staff.

Additional resources as you grow your startup:

Are you hitting the 20-employee mark?
Employment laws we advise you to embrace
Create structure for successful growth and greater productivity

Onboarding. Start New Employees Out on a Road to Success

Many believe onboarding is the process by which new employees fill out new hire paperwork – they are set up for payroll and benefits and provided a quick overview of the systems they’ll be working on. While these activities are important, onboarding that results in maximizing performance and earning a greater return on your investment requires a little more strategic planning, which our clients have found to be well worth it. By viewing the onboarding process as an investment throughout a new hire’s introduction to the organization, you will greatly impact the new hire’s contribution to your organization and the timeframe in which they can make it happen. We recommend creating a process that focuses on integrating new employees into your culture and team and getting them up to speed and confident in what is expected of them from a conduct and performance perspective.

Here are some tips to consider as you build your organization’s onboarding process:

  • Allow technology to expedite the compliance portion of the process. Email the new hire all the required paperwork in advance of starting. Share relevant information upfront such as the organizations’ pay schedule, insurance options, any information that will affect their household. When they arrive on the first day, they’ll already have it completed or know questions they need answered.

  • Create a schedule for their first day, week and month so they have clear steps on how to get to know the organization (culturally and procedurally) and give them opportunities to interact with teammates. Schedule meetings throughout the first month to engage with different levels of employees throughout the organization to allow them to hear about different teams and projects.
  • Make sure there are lunch plans for their first day. They won’t know going into day one what they can anticipate for lunch, so plan that for them.
  • Communicate to all team members what will be changing when the new employee starts and how the onboarding process will unfold. It will provide a greater sense of security around what they can expect and the importance and value of their role. It’s important to remember that while it is exciting to start a new job, it also means change, which can be a challenge not just for the new employee, but also for other team members.
  • Make the process fun, interesting and productive! Don’t just provide a slide deck overviewing the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Ask other team members to provide the introduction and give them the freedom to be creative and provide anecdotes of the culture in action. Getting existing employees involved will get new employees excited about working with their new teammates.
  • Set and communicate expectations. Let new employees know what the organization, team and individual’s goals are and how their contributions support those goals.
  • Share how things operate and how different teams interact to support one another. Highlight, beyond an organizational chart, how the teams work together and who has accountability for which aspects of projects.
  • Provide a tour of the organization and if it’s a large space, provide a map for future reference. Introduce the new employee to as many people as possible. Make sure they know the logistics of the workspace such as where the cafeteria/kitchen is, the bus routes are, where to park, where the bathrooms are, etc. In addition, show them what’s available off site such as where the nearest coffee shops are, which restaurants do take-out and delivery to the office and which are great when you need to go off site for lunch.
  • Have the tools for their job ready, such as a computer and login information, mobile phone, if appropriate along with the information/instructions needed to get set up quickly and easily.
  • Create a peer onboarding system so they have someone other than their manager to go to if they have logistical questions. Provide guidance to the peer to check in frequently in the initial days to ensure they have what they need or any cultural questions can be answered in a comfortable environment.
  • Have their manager meet with them on the first day and throughout the first week to review and answer questions on expectations. Throughout the first 90 days, there should be frequent check-ins to ensure the new employee is on track, feeling comfortable with their role, and has the tools they need to perform their job.
  • Be consistent. Use the same onboarding process for each new hire and make changes and additions as you get feedback from employees on what worked well and what would have been helpful for them to have during the onboarding process.

How to Listen When Interviewing & Recruiting Job Candidates to Ensure the Right Skill Set and Cultural Fit

Active listening is key to getting to know a job candidate. I always recommend that when you are interviewing an individual, whether in person or over the phone, to have an open mind and to ask the right questions.

Keeping an open mind means you can often find the right fit even when you may have preconceived notions about the position’s needs. I’ve seen excellent resumes and realized during the interview process that the person looked great on paper but was not going to provide the skills/results the organization needed. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I’ve interviewed people who I thought may be lacking but then when I talked with them I could tell they were the perfect fit when delivering what a company needed.

What to listen for when interviewing a potential candidate?

  • Indicators that illustrate the candidate’s work style and how they work/collaborate with others.
  • What contributions/results they have provided to past employers.
  • How they are driven/motivated to contribute to their new employer.
  • Examples of why they may be a good fit for the organization.
  • Demonstrated/quantifiable successes and overall delivery of those successes.
  • And of course always check references.

I am genuinely interested in people and what they are seeking. That means I have to be truly present and ask good questions so candidates have an opportunity to share their true selves. I am always taking into account both the candidate and employer’s perspective to ensure a good fit when it comes to skills and culture.

We have lots of recruiting resources and tips including ideas for attracting top talent! You can check them out here.

Grades and Ranges – What are they and why are they important?

Pay grades and pay ranges are key components to creating a successful compensation plan and driving performance.

Pay Grades and Pay Ranges Defined

A pay range sets a minimum, midpoint, and maximum dollar amount that your company has determined it will pay for a given job. Employees’ salaries are determined within the range parameters based on their performance quality, proficiency, internal equity, scope of responsibility and tenure. Pay grades are a mathematically determined set of pay ranges with increasing midpoint differentials (the difference between the midpoint of one range and midpoint of the next range up) based on the nature of the positions included in the range and usually with overlapping boundaries. Grades provide a way to give structure to various pay ranges within a company.

Why are they important?

Grades and Ranges:

  • Help with financial planning and projections.
  • Ensure your business and compensation strategies align.
  • Ensure pay equity and can be perceived as legal protection against an inequity claim.
  • Inform salary movement related to career paths.
  • Help determine how to pay unique positions.
  • Makes administration and employee conversations related to compensation more transparent.

As an organization grows, grades help to ensure fairness, make it easier to make compensation decisions and share with employees how you make those decisions. As we shared in our blog post on tips for making compensation conversations more productive for managers and employees, employees who are well informed and communicated with clearly about the pay-setting process in their organization, walk away feeling much more satisfied even if they don’t agree with the actual number.

Is it time to create a compensation structure with grades and ranges?

If you answer yes to one of the following questions this may be a good time to create a compensation structure.

  • Do you have jobs that may need to be leveled?
  • Do you have unique or hybrid jobs that you can’t figure out how to pay?
  • Do you have known pay issues that a structure would help fix? (i.e., legacy issues, compression issues, equity issues, budget issues)

For more tips on compensation including tips on using pay to drive performance visit our blog.

A Pay for Performance Perspective and Tips

You’re Invited! Join us for our HR Strategy Workshop – Two Dates and Locations Available

Are your HR initiatives increasing profit? Are you utilizing the person tasked with HR as an active business partner? Often HR is thought of as ensuring your organization is compliant and vetting employee concerns. However, HR can have a much wider impact when it comes to maximizing the largest line item on your budget – your employees. Thinking of HR as a part of your overall business strategy and deploying it correctly can increase productivity while saving on costs.

In this workshop we’ll explore:

  • The true cost of staffing your business (average cost of recruiting an employee, training, retention, termination, etc. as well as a benefits for a typical hire).
  • How to select the HR areas and initiatives that will increase effectiveness of your organization and decrease costs.
  • Creating a successful strategy that focuses on affecting change in the identified areas that bring the greatest return on investment.
  • Setting expectations, measuring and evaluating results.

Join us! April 17, 2014

Location: Southwest King County Chambers
14220 Interurban Ave. S #134
Tukwila, WA 98168
Time: 7:30am – 9:30am
Cost: $100
*Free to Equinox, SKCC members, and Resourceful HR’s clients and guests.
Register Now

Join us! April 23, 2014

Location: Civica Office Building
1st Floor
205 108th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
Time: 7:30am – 9:30am
Cost: $100
*Free to Equinox, SKCC members, and Resourceful HR’s clients and guests.
Register Now

Recruiting – It’s not about filling a position, it’s about solving a business need

Recently I attended a presentation on commercialization in the life sciences industry. It provided a great road map for smaller organizations to follow and plan for as they approach this phase of development. Interestingly, there was no discussion about human capital or the skills employees need to possess to move the organization through each phase of growth.

The lack of focus on this topic underscored why having a recruiter (internal or external) that not only has the ability to source and attract talent but also understands your industry, the challenges you face and your organization’s development lifecycle is critical. A recruiter who merely views their role as filling a position with a warm body and then moves on doesn’t have your organization’s best interest in mind. To truly be successful over the long term and make a serious impact on achieving your goals, a recruiter needs to serve as the facilitator in finding talent that can solve the business issues you are experiencing.

I attend a lot of events that are not focused on recruiting and HR. It allows for me to have more engaging conversations with our clients and really understand what’s keeping them up at night. In turn, our team is better able to find talent to deal with those challenges instead of just filling a spot on the org chart. This includes asking: What are some of the challenges you face? What skill sets are needed to take you to the next level? During the early stage of growth, how are you differentiating your vision and culture from your competitors and attracting the team you want and need? What types of projects are you working on? How can adding to your team make these projects more successful, make your organization more profitable and help you achieve your goal/vision?

In addition to being invested in helping you achieve your vision and providing solutions to a business need, there are several traits you should look for in a recruiter.

What traits are important to you and your team when working with or hiring a recruiter?

If you see me at an event, please say hello. I’m always interested in different perspectives on the critical issues for your business.

Timing is everything – 3 ways to overcome short timelines when you need to fill positions quickly

The Bay Area Bioscience Recruiting Trends Survey results highlighted what most of us already know – the need to fill positions quickly is a challenge when it comes to hiring top talent. Often hiring managers need to fill a vacancy or bring in new skills ASAP. Whether you are a recruiter, hiring manager, or team member, tight deadlines add to the pressure of placing someone in a key role. We recommend that clients build a talent pipeline in advance of the hiring need, especially for positions that are in constant demand.

There are also other steps that can be taken now to overcome the challenge of short timelines and the need for specific skill sets:

  1. Develop a relationship with your ‘go to’ recruiter and ensure they not only have a successful track record but that they also take the time to understand your organization and specific needs. When you engage with the recruiter provide a clear picture of the “must have” and “nice to have” requirements for the role.
  2. Spend time building your network. Over 50% of survey respondents indicated they spend between one and five hours monthly building and maintaining a network of potential candidates.
  3. Train your existing team members on skills you anticipate needing in the future, such as STEM skills.

Interesting Work More Important Than Money

Are you concerned compensation is what’s preventing candidates from joining your organization?

In our recent Bay Area Bioscience Recruiting Trends Survey we asked organizations to share the most effective ways in which they attract talent. And here are the results:

  1. Providing challenging or cutting edge projects
  2. The organization’s environment/culture
  3. Products and/or services offered
  4. Compensation

You read that correctly – compensation came in fourth. These results serve as a good rule of thumb as you create your hiring plan as well as your retention strategy. Happy employees (employees that are going to contribute to your organization over the long term and truly invest in the goals you are looking to accomplish) are ones that are working on projects that engage and challenge them. There are many different ways to motivate employees. The most important things you can do is check out the research available to you and then ask your employees (they know better than anyone). Until you have the projects, culture, and products candidates can get excited about, you’ll always struggle to bring in and retain quality talent.

You can check out all the results by downloading the full white paper here.

Do Ratings Help or Hinder Performance?

This is the question on the minds of many leading organizations these days. Microsoft recently shared that they were doing away with their stacked ranking system, a key element of the performance review process that was based on a bell curve and forced the elimination of the lowest-rated 20% of employees. Microsoft went so far as to eliminate ratings altogether in their performance reviews.

At the same time, Yahoo!’s CEO implemented stacked ranking, forcing managers to rate staff using the designations “occasionally misses” and “misses” to accommodate a bell curve strategy, even if the designation wasn’t completely accurate. While Yahoo!’s CEO denied that the ratings were forced, many employees disagreed (mostly anonymously). She has been widely criticized for her decision, and interestingly most pointed the finger at the HR head in charge of communicating and executing the controversial plan for the poorly executed roll-out.

When it comes to managing, measuring and rewarding performance, what is the right way? Unfortunately there is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer to performance reviews. Every organization and employee is different, and an effective performance review process takes into account cultural aspects of the organization.

In an effort to help you better understand and implement performance reviews that add value, we put together some best practices that should serve as the cornerstone to any performance management plan, whether you choose to do ratings or not.

Performance feedback should be a continuous, ongoing process. You are missing out on a huge opportunity to accomplish goals and move initiatives forward if you wait to address performance issues on an annual basis. Be proactive and provide ongoing feedback so that there are not any surprises during an employee’s yearly, or even quarterly, evaluation. This approach gives the employee the directives they need to change course immediately if needed, or incent them to continue the course they are on.

Provide a clear line of sight between the employee’s responsibilities and the organization’s goals. Ensuring employees understand how their work directly affects the organization’s success is an essential driver to getting employees to perform well. If your employees know where the finish line is they are more apt to reach it.

Use SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. It is important to make sure each employee’s goals meet each of these five criteria, otherwise it can be difficult and highly subjective determining whether a goal is met. And if it is clear that a particular goal is not met, it is easier to assess the reasons why the employee didn’t make it (i.e. it was not because of poor communication on the organization’s part).

Be mindful of the process and timing. An effective performance evaluation requires giving managers and employees plenty of time to complete the process in a thoughtful way. Rushing through an evaluation makes it seem like you are just crossing something off your list. Create an environment that shows you value their contribution and feedback and you’ll experience greater results and engagement from your employees.

Training is important. Give your team the tools they require to administer reviews that result in the actions your business requires to be competitive in the marketplace. For managers, you might need to provide additional training to prepare them for dealing with difficult questions or delivering challenging messages. Employees may not always like what they hear, but they will always respect an honest and straightforward response.

Understand what motivates your employees. Not all employees are motivated by the same thing. Check in regularly with employees to see what gets them excited about coming to work. It’s not just about compensation (although if you don’t get that right it is a big demotivator). In fact, Resourceful HR recently conducted a survey about what attracts and retains talent – compensation came in fourth. Check out the results here. Link to whitepaper/resource page. Be creative and consider other rewards you can provide in lieu of raises or bonuses. Consider opportunities for additional training, leadership/career development opportunities or team rewards. It’s important to remember that pay systems alone do not keep people nor manage their performance.

Two Ways Your Organization Can Deal with the STEM Talent Shortage Today

Fifty percent of the respondents of our Bay Area Bioscience Recruiting Trends Survey agree that there is a shortage of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) talent. There has been much publicized about the shortage and the need for better education starting in elementary school and even earlier. In addition to academia, politicians and business leaders are devoting resources to bridge the gap. Diversity groups are also pushing to get different ethnicities and women engaged in STEM programs. These efforts are all key to the future health of our economy by ensuring organizations have the talent they require to grow and innovate.

As these programs prove to be successful we will continue to see strides made to develop talent and create an extremely competitive workforce. But what can you do now to find the talent with the skill sets your organization needs to succeed?

  1. Train the employees you have. Instead of hiring a new employee, look internally for someone who already has institutional knowledge and understands your goals and your culture. Creating opportunities for employees to grow and learn is also a great way to retain talent. It’s a win/win. You receive the benefits of having the skill set you need without the cost and resource expenditure of sourcing and onboarding a new employee.
  2. Work with recruiters that have experience finding talent in these areas and engage them to proactively build relationships. Start planning now! Take stock of the skills sets that are making your organization successful and determine which skill sets will be needed down the road so that you can start building your talent pipeline. And then work with a recruiting service that can help you build relationships with these individuals so that when you need to hire someone outside the organization you can act quickly.

You can check out all the results by downloading the full white paper here.

The Results are in for our 2013 Bay Area Bioscience Trends Survey!

We recently surveyed San Francisco area bioscience organizations to help the community better understand the industry’s recruiting needs and challenges.

Findings offer insight into organizations’ #1 challenge (finding quality candidates) and whether the region has the talent, knowledge base and STEM-related skills needed to be competitive in the marketplace. Findings also address which attributes organizations can offer in order to attract the right talent.
While organizations identified recruiting as a critical business objective, most indicated that they don’t have a formal recruiting process in place. The organizations that do have a recruiting process shared that the areas in which they excel are screening potential candidates and aligning them with the organization’s goals and fit but struggle with finding quality candidates and attracting them to their position.

As the industry continues to grow and gain traction in areas across the U.S., ensuring the West Coast is poised to attract, find and retain quality talent will be mission critical. We look forward to continuing the discussion, gaining your insights and putting this data into action. Download the white paper and share your thoughts on the results in the comments section below.
You can check out all the results by downloading the full white paper here.

Findings from the 2013 Governor’s Life Science Summit and Annual Meeting

I recently had the opportunity to attend Washington Biotechnical and Biomedical Association’s (WBBA) 2013 Governor’s Life Science Summit and Annual Meeting. Along with many other impressive presenters, Governor Jay Inslee and WBBA’s President and CEO, Chris Rivera shared Washington State’s most critical legislative and economic priorities when it comes to the life sciences sector. They also shared how WBBA’s ten-year strategic vision will work to support the sector. Their vision is to make Washington “the global leader in life science innovation and health care delivery.” It’s a lofty goal, but one I believe we are well poised to take on.

2013 Annual Puget Sound LIfe Sciences Recruiting Trends Survey

It’s an exciting time not only for our region’s life science organizations but also for the people benefiting from the work they are doing. Life science professionals are working on cures for cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s to name just a few and are proactively creating and inventing products and technology to help individuals worldwide enjoy healthier, more productive lives.

This sector is also contributing greatly to the Northwest economy. WBBA shared that the life science industry is one of Washington State’s largest employment sectors and that:

  • More than 420 life science companies located in 70 cities call Washington home.
  • 72 non-profit research institutes garner billions of dollars in research funding annually.
  • Since 2007, employment has grown more than 12 percent, adding $11 billion to the state’s GDP, $7 billion in personal income and employing more than 92,000 people statewide.

As a member of WBBA and an avid supporter of the industry, Resourceful HR is focused on how we can contribute to WBBA’s vision. The strategic initiative we are poised to support is helping organizations find, attract, recruit and retain the talent they need while also creating the infrastructure those organizations need to be nimble, productive, competitive, and compliant.

2013 Bay Area BioScience Recruiting Trends SurveyAre you a Bay Area bioscience professional? Download our latest white paper highlighting the recruiting trends in your area.Lisa Brown, Chancellor of Washington State University – Spokane, emphasized another aspect of the equation regarding the need for increased high-performing talent over the next decade. As thousands more patients enter our medical system through the Affordable Care Act, the need to recruit world-class faculty to train competent physicians needed to treat those patients becomes even more critical.

The event was extremely informative and exciting to me to see where we are headed in Washington State and how we can also apply our own strengths to the life science industry in the Bay Area. I look forward to continuing the conversation and helping our clients contribute to WBBA’s vision.

Are you a bioscience professional who is responsible for recruiting at your organization and eager to contribute to WBBA’s vision? Here’s how you can help:

Fill out our Bioscience Recruiting Survey, together we can understand the trends around skills and talent in the Puget Sound Region. We will be sharing the results in a white paper in the coming months. It’s also a great opportunity to win an Apple Store gift certificate!

Notes from the Montana Economic Development Summit

Sharing ideas and focusing on what small and large size businesses can do together to increase economic activity were the main agenda items for the summit. Montana will always have a special place in my heart because of growing up there, and now that I have had an opportunity as an adult to get to see and meet the business leaders who are contributing to its economic prowess, I am even more proud. The summit’s attendees and speakers were impressive including nationally recognized, Eric Schmidt, Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg and many Montana business owners who gave great advice, asked excellent questions and ‘showed up’ ready to collaborate, learn and innovate.

One aspect that stood out to me was there were no filters on the questions being asked (i.e. no spin behind the scenes) so speakers and attendees were able to have authentic conversations (in front of a large audience mind you) and get to the heart of issues/challenges/solutions. And again the focus was always in sight – what can we realistically do together to make a difference and grow our economy – while laws and regulations were covered, the main goal was to identify what can be done NOW. From an HR and business owner perspective, I heeded this message and how it relates to helping move our clients’ goals and organizations forward.

Overall the conference was inspiring and made me also appreciate the Pacific Northwest and what companies are doing here to make it a great place to work and live. This has been highlighted in KUOW’s new series, The Big Reset, which is airing now and explores how the Puget Sound region has emerged from the Great Recession. Two of the main takeaways are that the Puget Sound region is fairing better than the rest of the country but we still have a ways to go, especially when it comes to urban verus rural areas. All good food for thought as fall begins and we start planning for our 2014 HR and business goals.

Speaking of events that inspire or that you are excited to attend – what events do you have lined up? TedTalks? Industry conferences? Education opportunities?

We’d like to hear your top three!

Invest in Employee Learning – You’ll be glad you did!

This year’s motto at Resourceful HR is to go deep and it is especially appropriate when it comes to giving our employees opportunities to continue their education and encouraging our clients to provide educational opportunities to their employees. There are so many operational benefits when it comes to educating employees including loyalty, productivity, confidence and ownership. And if that is not enough to make education a priority consider this – educating your employees helps ensure your customers are being served effectively so you can be even more competitive in your industry.

There are many ways to provide continuing education including, paying for a class an employee wants to take or an industry conference they want to attend, organizing lunch and learn meetings, inviting a vendor or outside expert to share their expertise on a specific topic, providing mentoring opportunities and providing a library of books and DVDs associated with the topics your employees want to learn more about. Another opportunity to capitalize on your employee educational efforts is to involve your employees as much as possible – have them lead a training or if they attend a conference have them share what they learned with the rest of the staff or with their team.

Understanding the importance of keeping up with the trends of your industry and the news and laws that affect you industry will ensure you stay ahead of your competitors. Share with us what you are doing to create a learning environment at your organization in the comments below.

Is Your Internship Program Legal?

A new case law went into effect this summer, which is driving the requirement that interns be compensated for their work. The case is dubbed the Black Swan case, named after one of the movies in which the defendant (Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc.) ‘employed’ interns for zero pay. In his ruling, the judge referred to a Department of Labor (DOL) “Fact Sheet” that includes six criteria that an intern program must meet.

As graduates look for opportunities to gain on the job experience and organizations look for ways to garner talent while minimizing payroll costs, it’s important to test your internship program’s legality.

The Test

In a nutshell, the law says that your intention for employing an intern should be to provide them training or job experience that they can apply to their studies or to further their career. It is key to understand that the employer should not be receiving the benefit (e.g. a free cost employee) of having the intern work for their organization and that instead it is the organization’s responsibility to provide the benefit (e.g. on the job training) to the intern.

Here are the criteria your program must meet in order for it to be legal NOT to compensate interns:

  1. The internship is similar to training, which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is really for the benefit of the intern, not for the benefit of the employer;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Learn more information and view the fact sheet..

Worried your internship program might not pass the test? Send us your questions and comments below.

The Recruiting Revolution: Human Interaction

In the past month I’ve read countless articles and seen advertisements for presentations highlighting a new way of recruiting and what is being termed an impending RECRUITING REVOLUTION. I love to learn improvements and new trends in my field so that I (and the Resourceful HR team) can be on the leading edge. So of course, I was all ears – What could be the new development that could impact recruiting to this extent?

Answer: Human interaction.

Yes, you read that right. Old school, old fashioned, plain and simple one-to-one human conversation.

For those that have been in the recruiting field a good amount of time, this doesn’t feel revolutionary, but for many it is. In the past decade things have changed dramatically when it comes to ‘connecting’ with candidates. Many recruiters have stopped picking up the phone to call prospective candidates or attend events to meet and interact with professionals in a targeted field.

Social media, especially LinkedIn and the internet in general have allowed recruiters to be more targeted with their outreach and efficient with their sourcing and research. Many recruiters have come to rely on mass blasting candidates that match a key word in hopes that good candidates will respond. Some recruiters assume the cream of the crop will get their “Inmail” and immediately jump to respond and want the job they are filling. But the problem is the cream of the crop have been inundated with these messages and tactics and are no longer responding to these messages. It’s become noise to them. These sought after professionals are busy making an impact on their current employer and only responding to recruiters who are providing a compelling and more personal reason to contact them. If you want them to join your team and contribute their needed skills be thoughtful, be specific and don’t send mass communications – which means human interaction wins out over Inmail.

Good recruiters still use human interaction to identify the best candidates, sell hot prospects on the compelling opportunity, and determine alignment and fit with the position. This tactic is how great recruiters have sustained through the peaks and troughs of hiring and has their clients returning to them time and again.

At Resourceful HR, we’ve never stopped including human interaction in our efforts. We have always believed that you need to find and sell great candidates if you want to build a great team. We use LinkedIn, job boards and other social media as a tool – not the solution. This ‘new revolution’ in recruiting is a good reminder that new trends and resources do not negate the power of tried and true practices but instead enhance them.

How do you see this revolution changing your organization’s approach to recruiting? I’d love your thoughts on how revolutionary this is for you.

Why Recruit When You’re Fully Staffed?

Do you think recruiters are only necessary when you have an immediate need or vacancy? Do you believe your “promote from within” culture or extensive succession plan leaves recruiters obsolete in your organization? If so, I encourage you to re-think the value of recruiters. They serve a critical role for an organization, even when you don’t think you need to be recruiting.

1)      Recruiters are often the most public and accessible brand representative your organization has and their efforts are what allow you to have a successful promote from within culture and have talent worthy of developing for succession. So when you’ve reached this point, don’t rest on your laurels. Keep your recruiters engaged in that community to ensure the reputation stays strong and you remain an employer of choice.

2)      Even the best plans require a contingency plan. There will always be unexpected vacancies and no one ready to move into that role. No matter how deep you go in a succession plan, there will be a need to backfill a role. Recruiters are great at building a pipeline of talent and maintaining relationships with quality candidates. They should spend time finding professionals with critical skill sets or experiences that would be valuable to your organization to ensure you can move quickly in hiring someone should the original plan fall through.

3)      As a hiring manager, we know you want the best person in each role. Getting recruiters involved provides an opportunity to vet your internal candidates against the external talent pool. They can gather market intelligence on the talent pool and see what the market has to offer. This will ensure that the decision to promote an employee is because they are the best person for the job. In addition, if your internal candidate knows that the promotion is not a sure thing, they will consistently strive to do better, stay competitive, and innovate.

Recruiters are not just about filling requisitions. They need to be focused on ensuring the organization has the right talent to achieve the business goals. At Resourceful HR, we serve as our clients’ ambassador and work with many to build a pipeline to ensure they have the talent in the wings when the need arises. I encourage you to engage recruiters as ambassadors for talent and you may be pleasantly surprised at how rewarding hiring, both internally and externally can be.

I’d be interested in learning how else you find recruiters adding value to your organization when there isn’t an open requisition. Please leave me your comments below.

Quality-focused Recruiters – Yes, We Do Exist

When I tell people that Resourceful HR provides outsourced recruiting or about my background in recruiting, it fascinates me that most everyone has a negative recruiter experience to share. Most often it is a result of a recruiter focused on placing people regardless of fit for the sole purpose of getting paid and moving on to the next role. I’ve worked as a recruiter in several different environments and it is true, there are some recruiters and recruiting organizations that are more concerned with quantity of placements over quality of placements. My experience working in a quota oriented environment is the reason why I became so passionate about organizations hiring the right talent. As I talk to business leaders and hiring managers, I’m always working to dispel the myth that recruiters only care about quantity. Here are three traits I look for to identify recruiters focused on quality hires.

1) Quality oriented recruiters delve into the organizational culture and keys to success in the environment. Understanding what makes your organization unique allows the recruiter to ask candidates questions that highlight their alignment with your needs. A technical writer candidate may have the skills to do the job but not thrive in your rapidly growing start up that is faced with tight timelines and requires long hours. A quality oriented recruiter understands aligning candidates to the environment and culture is often the most important factor determining success in a role.

2) Recruiters interested in making quality hires enjoy building relationships with candidates and the hiring organization. Understanding the trajectory of the organization is useful in finding candidates that align with that trajectory. The candidate that can help you launch a product in three months is not the same candidates that will help you design and develop a new product. You want to make sure the candidate you select is not simply looking for a 6 – 12 month gig if you need someone to stick around longer term.

3) The quality-oriented recruiter has repeat, long-term customers. This applies for both internal and external customers. If you stopped working with a recruiter because they were not providing candidates that met your needs, you are probably not alone. That recruiter likely has a client base of one hit wonders. A quality oriented recruiter will have worked on numerous roles for a client and adds new clients based on referrals and reputation.

I joined Resourceful HR to help businesses grow through recruiting and HR practices. We don’t focus on throwing candidates into roles just to fill a seat in the organization. We focus on getting the right person into the right role. When we do that, our clients will ultimately grow and then need more recruiting help.

As you look at adding team members, I’m asking you to keep an open mind to recruiters. There are many who want to see your business succeed and making good hires is key to success. Get to know the recruiter or recruiting team. Find out what got them where they are at. If the answer doesn’t revolve around quality hires and helping businesses grow and succeed, they may not be the best resource for you.

I’d love to hear what other traits you’ve seen in quality-focused recruiters.

U.S. Workforce Engagement Stagnant – Holding Back the Economy

“Managers from hell are creating active disengagement costing the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually”

The Gallup Institute’s most recent 2013 State of the American Workplace Report shared several survey statistics and results that business owners should take to heart. I found these to be the most alarming and interesting – “Managers from hell are creating active disengagement costing the U.S. an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually” and that “to win customers— and a bigger share of the marketplace — companies must first win the hearts and minds of their employees.” And to bring it closer to home the Puget Sound Business Journal recently reported that 72% of employees in Washington State are unhappy in their jobs. These are sobering statistics but I remain optimistic for employers who take these words to heart and resolve to create better engagement in their organizations. I am also thrilled to see that business leaders, politicians and the media are taking notice of what intrinsically matters when it comes to growing our businesses, growing our economy and creating a globally successful marketplace.

I recently attended the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference in Chicago and had the opportunity to hear Hillary Clinton speak about the gap between education and the skills we need in the workplace. We recently discussed this topic here. In line with the Gallup study, the former Secretary of State also acknowledged HR’s role in workforce development and the necessity for good decision-making, team leadership and “showing up” for your constituents and staff. Fareed Zakaria from CNN also spoke about the history of recessions and recoveries and the role that HR played in creating job growth.

We all know intuitively that good leaders create impactful results but it is not always easy to draw a clear line of sight between the two. I am hopeful though that with the latest Gallup survey and focus on this topic by our politicians that we will be able to understand and measure the impact an engaged workforce has on our economy. Another key takeaway from Gallup’s poll:  “When leaders in the United States of America — or any country for that matter — wake up one morning and say collectively, “Let’s get rid of managers from hell, double the number of great managers and engaged employees, and have those managers lead based on what actually matters, everything will change.” The country’s employees will be twice as effective, they’ll create far more customers, companies will grow, spiraling healthcare costs will decrease, and desperately needed GDP will boom.”

It’s an exciting time! How do you plan to add to the momentum?

Growth Strategies – HR Temp Staffing and Outsourced HR

The Puget Sound area marketplace is once again and not surprisingly experiencing a period of growth. We have some great organizations and industries that have proved time and time again their commitment to innovation, business efficiencies and employee satisfaction. The Seattle Office of Economic Development recently shared some exciting headlines regarding employment and the economy in 2013:

“Seattle Ranks One of the Ten Best Cities to Find Employment. Forbes, April 22, 2013”

“Seattle Ranked Fifth on List of Best Cities for Good Jobs. Forbes, February 25, 2013”

“Seattle Ranked Thirteenth of 200 Best-Performing Large Metro Areas. Atlantic Cities, April 29, 2013”

“Seattle Ranked Seventh-Best City to Start a Business. Nerd Wallet, April 22, 2013”

“Seattle Ranks Third on List of Manufacturing Boomtowns. New Geography, May 15, 2013”

All great indicators for growth to say the least and also a good reminder that organizations need to continue to create strategies that help garner growth and innovation while minimizing costs. Two of the ways in which we have seen organizations garner growth and foster innovation are:

1. Outsourcing their HR needs

2. Hiring temporary human resources and payroll/benefits professionals.

Each of these avenues provides a way to get the knowledge and employee-power needed to accomplish business goals and propel organizations forward.

As employers begin recruiting and onboarding new employees it makes sense that there is an increased demand for HR professionals to support their growing employee base. Anecdotally, it appears that many employers are optimistic but remaining cautious and therefore opting for temporary or outsourced staff to support that need. My expectation is that many of these temporary HR positions will convert into regular full-time roles as the economy continues to strengthen. In fact, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, May’s unemployment rate was the lowest since 2008!

It’s an exciting time in our region and we are we are very proud to be a part of such a wonderful and innovative business community!

Learn More about Resourceful HR’s Outsourcing and HR Temp Staffing services.

HR Temp Staffing – A Candidate’s Checklist

Last week we wrote about what companies should look for when partnering with a HR temp staffing firm and this week we are focusing on the candidate experience. If a candidate isn’t a good fit for a client, it goes without saying that both the client and candidate suffer. If a staffing company doesn’t understand the benefits of setting expectations or finding the right culture fit for the candidate the partnership falls apart for all parties involved. That is why it is critical that candidates select the right staffing company in which to partner.

There are many staffing firms that place HR professionals, both local and national, which is great news for candidates looking for temporary employment opportunities. It also means that candidates should take advantage of their options and be selective. The following provides a checklist of what candidates should look for in an HR temporary staffing service firm:

  • Is their contact and resume submission process easy?
  • Do you receive notification, either electronically or by phone that they have received your information and resume?
  • Do you get the feeling that the service firm is just filling up their database with resumes to throw at their clients or is their intention to get to know you and make a good match for both the candidate and client?
  • The above bullet is a deal breaker as you want to ensure the agency you choose to work with is being realistic and honest about how they can help you. The staffing firm should always let you know their process during first time interviews to ensure your time is not wasted.
  • When the staffing firm does follow-up regarding a position, do you feel like you are being treated as an individual (that they are not just reading your resume and looking to fill an empty seat)?
  • Do they take the time to get to know your skill set and what you are looking for in a HR temp position?
  • Is it clear to you that they are setting the right expectations with you and the client?
  • Does the staffing firm follow-up with you and the client to make sure things are
    going as planned?
  • Do they conduct quality assurance calls with you and the client to ensure all parties receive the service they signed up for (and even exceeded the expectations)?

Have you looked for a HR temp position? We’d like to hear from you! Please share your comments below on what you look for in a HR staffing company.

Temp Staffing – A Client’s Perspective

Are you looking to fill a temporary HR need? Perhaps for a planned or unexpected leave of absence or a short-term project that could benefit from expertise you don’t want or need to employ full time? The good news is there are lots of options available to you. The bad news is, there are lots of options. Where do you start? Full disclosure: We are one of the companies that provide HR temp staffing services. With that in mind we emphatically encourage you to find the right one for your organization, as it will save you time and grief down the road. You may want to start by reading the benefits of finding the right cultural fit and setting clear expectations. We’ve also put together a guide that includes the questions you should ask before hiring a staffing agency.

To further help with your HR temp agency selection process, we have put together more tips below. If you have questions or additional information regarding making a temp engagement successful, we’d love to hear from you! Please also stay tuned in the coming weeks for what a temp should look for in an agency.

First and foremost: the temp agency should be responsive, knowledgeable and honest. While sometimes taken for granted it is important to be mindful that the agency you choose to work with possesses these qualities, as they are critical to a successful engagement for all parties – you, the candidate and the agency. These attributes come in the form of many operational deliverables so define upfront what they mean to you (for example, returning emails and phone calls promptly, answering questions kindly and eagerly, making sure they are transparent when it comes to sharing and placing candidates with other clients and being attentive to your specific needs).

Here are the top three things (after the above is covered) we recommend you look for in an HR temp staffing firm:

  1. Did the agency ask you and the candidate the appropriate questions so that you are confident they know what you need and what the candidate can deliver on? Making sure your agency does the due diligence to determine the right fit for both your needs and the candidate’s skill set is essential. For instance you may have a need for a technical recruiter temp who already has an established network. Make sure the agency truly understands what you are looking for and be very specific with them so there is no room for interpretation regarding those needs. If you feel like they are not treating you or candidates as individuals and just filling a seat in your organization, run!
  2. Do they take care of all the administrative details (otherwise, what are the benefits of using their service?). From timecard processing to onboarding paperwork (W-4s, I-9s, confidentiality agreements, etc), the process should be turnkey so you can focus on providing your temp with the information they need to perform.
  3. Does the agency check in on a regular basis to make sure all is going well and that your needs are being met? From the start, the HR temp agency should have taken the time to get to know your needs but also be understanding when those needs change as your business landscape changes. Checking in on a regular basis on both you and the temp will ensure the engagement is successful and that tweaks and changes happen quickly when needed.

Do you have success stories (or not so successful stories) when it comes to hiring temps? We’d like to hear from you! Share your comments below.

Temp Staffing – The Benefits of Finding the Right Culture Fit and Setting Expectations

Everyone who has had a bad experience with hiring a temp or being a temp at any point in your career, raise your hand. Chances are the majority of you have had at least one challenging experience with a temporary employee situation (it seems to be a rite of passage when it comes to careers these days). And unfortunately, I’m raising my hand right along with you. Why does it have to be like this?

“As I look back, most of my bad temp experiences are due to poor culture fit and a void when it comes to setting expectations on either side.”

Early on in my career, I worked for an organization that needed a temp for a few weeks due to an unexpected employee departure. We needed to keep some basic activities afloat while the company determined how best to fill the gap. We contacted an agency that had spent the previous three years trying to maintain a relationship with us. They jumped at the chance to find us a temporary employee to greet visitors, answer an occasional phone call, forward general inquiry emails, and complete data entry. I reviewed a couple of resumes, chose not to interview and instead selected the candidate with experience in a professional services organization and with the tasks we were seeking to accomplish. In 48 hours, we had someone to help… and it went downhill from there.

The temp wasn’t familiar with the Mac platform, which was used across our entire organization, and was more of a social butterfly, which didn’t fit into the culture of the organization. She was interested in a full-time opportunity with us from day one and she spent more time trying to convince us to hire her  than actually doing the necessary work.

She was at the organization for two weeks and left, having found employment outside our organization. Her rationale was that we weren’t willing to commit to hiring her on a more “permanent” basis. We never indicated this was a temp-to-hire position but apparently that was her expectation. We were still in the process of trying to figure out what we needed at the organization when she suddenly left her role with us. We then spent the next month plus cleaning up the mistakes in her data entry tasks and trying to figure out where general email messages had gone.

It is amazing (and a blessing) that so much was learned from ten days of a temporary employee. I pass on my lessons in hopes that you don’t have to learn the hard way when it comes time for you to hire a temp.

1)      Take your time. No matter how urgent the situation is, you do have a couple of days before an implosion will occur. Interview the temp before you agree to work with him/her. A 30-minute conversation will help you assess if they will fit with the rest of the team and be committed to doing the tasks that need to be done.

2)      Explain the culture. If the agency doesn’t ask you about your organization’s culture, consider using another agency. If you aren’t in a position to change agencies, explain your culture and the nuances critical to the temporary employee being successful. Then focus on those factors when you meet the potential temp (see #1 above).

3)      Have references completed. Ask the agency to do a reference check (if they haven’t already) or if more comfortable, check them yourself. Make sure the temporary employee has done the tasks you need support on and that previous employers would hire this person again.

4)      Set expectations.  Just as you do with new hires, sit down on day one with your temporary employee and set expectations. Spending 30 minutes to an hour of your time will save you hours of headaches later. Explain what needs to be accomplished during the assignment. Provide insights into how the organization operates so they can work within the system. And let them know exactly what the plan for the role is long term (even if there is no plan yet, share that this is the case).

At Resourceful HR, we use these four steps in our process of placing temporary HR professionals because we know it makes a huge difference in both the client’s and temp’s experience and success.

What other lessons have you learned and applied to make your temporary employee experiences a success?

Hitting the 20-Employee Mark Part 2 – Creating Structure for Successful Growth and Greater Productivity

As you begin to hit 20 employees, you may find your staff requires more structure and communication regarding your vision and goals for the business. Having a plan in place for meeting this need is very important as it gives employees more visibility of where the business is heading, reassurance that you are managing growth effectively and ensures they have the tools and information they need to help you accomplish your goals. Communication around “how am I doing?” and “how does what I am doing fit in with what other team members and departments are doing?” is also important as it helps ensure productivity by giving employees a greater understanding about how their responsibilities impact long-term and day-to-day milestones.

Offering insight into your vision and communicating job responsibilities are interrelated (although they also require independent analysis and a custom approach).  Your attention to these details will absolutely affect the efficiency and financial performance of your organization. The most profitable organizations on the “Best Places to Work” lists focus on developing programs and processes that address these issues and the good news is these deliverables don’t need to be elaborate. The key is taking a step back, assessing the structure and communication needs unique to your business, recognizing any inter-relationships and then acting on an intentional, “do-able” plan you can test to see what works and what doesn’t. The key is to start doing this while you are still relatively small. The bigger you get, the harder it is to undo or reinvent what isn’t working. Putting these mechanisms in place now will help you remain nimble while ensuring employees who are contributing important skill sets and institutional knowledge remain on board.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Write down who does what and what you need them to do. This boils down to creating job responsibilities and defining the goals you want employees to achieve. Goals don’t need to be lofty but do need to be measurable. If it’s something that needs to get done to achieve your business plan, it’s a goal and should be documented. If you can articulate a goal in writing in order to measure it, you can move it. The employer should provide the goal and the employee and employer should craft the roadmap (i.e. job responsibilities) to get there. It’s ok to leave most of the legwork to the employee if you as the employer give good guidance and direction. You already have a lot on your plate, I know. Asking them to create the draft generally yields more buy-in and accountability. Goals shouldn’t be more than 12 months out. Shorter lines of sight equate to greater results.
  2. Identify what’s missing. Inevitably in a smaller company, you are not going to have every skill you would like to have. Prioritize the “must haves” from the nice to “haves” for the next 12 months. Where is your business now and where do you want it to be in 12 months? What’s missing from making that happen? Determine your budget. Be ok with mitigation plans. As small business owners, we can’t always have what we want but we can come darn close.
  3. How’s your leadership bench? Are they farmers or hackers (i.e. are they going to cultivate your organization or tear it to shreds because their management style is abrasive and focused on control rather than growth?)? You need leaders who can grow your talent. If you are going to invest in any area, invest here. Don’t allow your managers to act as “technicians” even if part of their job is still doing the technician work. Groom them to think like a mini-owner of their unit and find good mentors who can teach them to get work done successfully through other people in a collaborative and supportive manner. They should be revered as a coach and leader by their staff and not as someone to fear.
  4. Consider messaging. Employees want to know what’s going on but not everyone will share the same level of understanding of the business. Keep this in mind as you talk about the company’s financials, sales plans, expense management, etc. Before communicating to a particular group of employees, think through what they care about, be transparent and speak only to what you’ve identified. I’ve found that some leaders will share everything with everyone in an effort to be collaborative and transparent but not every employee knows what to personally do with the information or really even cares about knowing all of it. Employees all want to help but need to see how that’s possible. Keep it simple, personal and relevant to them.
  5. Define at least a few “rules of engagement”. This doesn’t have to be a full on employee handbook, which I know is a four-letter word to many employers. Small “playbooks”, if you will, at the 20-employee mark are a good idea. You are probably getting at least some questions around “what’s our policy on this?” or “how much money can I spend on that?” Having at least a few expectations laid out will save you a lot of time from repeating yourself or remembering what you did for Bob six months ago in an effort to be consistent. You can make case-by-case decisions but just need to feel comfortable explaining your intent if called into question.

These are a few ideas I recommend to clients and am putting in place myself. If you have ideas to share, please do in the comments section. We’d love to hear your ideas for successfully setting the stage at 20.

We also encourage you to learn more about the employment laws you need to be familiar with when you reach 20 employees. For more information check out Part 1 of our hitting 20-employee mark.

Hitting the 20 Employee Mark Part 1 – New Employment Laws We Advise You to Embrace

In my experience, hitting the 20-employee mark is the most challenging in terms of setting up the employer-employee relationship for long-term success.  You are still small enough that each person is wearing multiple hats but the hats are becoming more complex and if you are like most small companies we work with, you want to keep things informal and the idea of “structure” makes you want to “run for the hills.”  That’s just too “corporate” you may be thinking.  I get it and I am actually living it right there with you.  We aren’t quite to twenty yet, but I can see it coming.   As I am getting my own act together, I thought I would share my experience in working with smaller clients over the years as well as what I have learned as I grow Resourceful HR.  This blog as well as next week’s is offered in the spirit of giving you some things to think about as you hit 20. Congratulations on reaching this milestone!  Only a small percent of the employer population actually make it this far.

While you can take time figuring out “who really does what” and “who we are” in the marketplace, new employment laws take hold the minute you hit 20 employees. There is no grace period, period. At the 20-employee mark, employers are required by law to comply with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and, more notably, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Many employers choose to ignore them but I don’t advise it.  It gets a lot more expensive and harder to avoid being “found out” by your employees and the Department of Labor (DOL) as you grow.  Audits are becoming more frequent and employees are becoming more attuned to rights and laws in the workplace.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) prohibits “age discrimination in hiring, promotions, wages or termination and layoffs of anyone at least 40 years of age”. Last year, 23% of the 2012 total discrimination claims were for age discrimination.  I won’t spend a ton of time on this one as I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.  Moral of the story is, don’t discriminate based on age. To avoid getting sued for age or other forms of discrimination hire based on skills and diversified work experience that can add to your team.

COBRA deserves some greater attention, mainly because the administration can be complex.  There are lots of dates to remember when administering COBRA. Your calendar reminders will become your best friend. COBRA gives workers and their families who lose their health benefits the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce and other life events. Tracking starts with the covered employee’s first day of work.  You are required by law to send the COBRA notification to the employee’s home through snail mail to help ensure that all covered dependents have the opportunity to receive the notification.  Then as the employee works for you, you need to ensure you send COBRA notifications to any added or dropped dependents on your health plans. Be aware of which eligibility schedule a dropped dependent qualifies under and then monthly track any COBRA payments you receive to ensure the participant is in compliance. Specific information on qualification and administration is available here and we are also happy to answer any questions.

Getting to 20 is an incredible milestone and one to be proud of.  It generally means you’re on a growth cycle and it’s exciting to plan for your company’s future.  In next week’s blog, I’ll give some food for thought around communication, culture, performance management and what’s really needed around policy development when hitting 20 employees.  I hope you’ll stay tuned…

Grow50™– Cultivating Entrepreneurial Success and Innovation in the Northwest

Our team is excited to announce that Resourceful HR has joined Grow50™, a newly created consortium of Seattle professionals focused on helping early-stage businesses in the Pacific Northwest plan, fund, grow and operate successfully. Grow50™’s support of entrepreneurs is designed to benefit the local economy, helping to foster job growth and innovation. Over the long-term Grow50™ plans to assist 50 promising organizations. Resourceful HR chose to participate in the consortium to help fuel the Northwest’s innovation and job creation landscape. There is so much talent and great minds in the Northwest and providing them with the tools to succeed is very important and very exciting to all of us at Resourceful HR.

Grow50™’s first plan of action includes partnering with Northwest Entrepreneur’s Network (NWEN)’s First Look Forum, an exclusive, bi-annual, invite-only investor showcase where 12 never-seen-before, early-stage growth-oriented startups from every segment of innovation share why and how investing in their company will make an impact on the marketplace and community. The Grow50™ consortium is made up of professional companies who are willing to donate their time and expertise to assist two First Look Forum winners. This ensures these new start-ups have the leadership expertise and brain trust needed to succeed without the upfront investment. As many business owners understand all too well, there is always a “catch 22” when launching a business – you have a great idea but not always the funds to move the concept forward. Grow50™ is designed to help organizations better position themselves through greater customer and talent acquisition so that they are even more appealing to investors.

Through Grow50™, companies have access to services such as finance, marketing, public relations, trademarking/patenting, and engineering/design, to name a few. Each contributing business is focused on helping entrepreneurial leaders remedy what is keeping them up at night and advise on a strategy for succeeding. Specifically, Resourceful HR will provide guidance on the HR programs and processes that will be bring the greatest return on investment and assist with recruiting and hiring the right talent to be and remain competitive.

We are very excited about the opportunity to contribute to the growth of Washington State’s economy while tapping into the phenomenal entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that is prevalent in this area. We hope you will follow us on this exciting journey and offer your success tips along the way! We will be sharing more information through our blog, Facebook and Twitter about the companies we are assisting. Ready, set, launch!

You can learn more about Grow50™ here and here.

Immigration Reform: Hitting Closer to Home — The New Form I-9

While Congress continues to debate the overhaul of our nation’s Immigration System, employers should also be reviewing whether an overhaul is needed in their current immigration compliance efforts.  On March 8, 2013, the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new Form I-9 which is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired to work in the United States.  By May 7, 2013, all employers must use the newly revised form for all new hires, rehires or re-verification of existing employees.

Purpose of the Form

I-9 compliance procedures were born from the Immigration Control & Reform Act of 1986, which makes it unlawful for employers to knowingly hire or continue to employ individuals who are not legally authorized to work in the U.S.

Under this Act, the employer shoulders the burden to check and record the eligibility of each employee by accurately completing and maintaining an I-9 Form.  Every employee hired after November 6, 1986, must have a completed I-9 Form on file that verifies eligibility to work.  I-9 Forms must also be retained and stored by the employer either for three (3) years after the date of hire or for one (1) year after termination of employment, whichever is longer.

New Changes:  The Most Complicated 2-Page Form You’ll Ever Complete

More than 3 years have passed since USCIS last released an update to the Form I-9.  The revised Form I-9, which has traditionally been a 1-page form, is now 2 pages which may be clearer and easier to understand for both employees and employers.

The key changes on the new Form I-9 are as follows:

  • Expanded form instructions; and
  • New data fields including phone number, e-mail address, and the employee’s foreign passport information (when applicable).

While it is easy to rush this paperwork in order to get your new hire off and running, this is a two-page form where failing to cross your t’s and dot your i’s can become expensive and quickly add up if you continue to unknowingly replicate the mistake.

It May Cost You…

What may seem to be a lot of time-consuming bureaucratic paperwork can lead to a lot of green paper being taken right out of your wallet.  The U.S. Department of Justice has significantly stepped up its enforcement efforts and will continue to pursue companies for I-9 compliance deficiencies.  Penalties for failing to comply with I-9 requirements can be substantial:

  • Civil fines as high as $1,100 for each I-9 form that is not complete, not properly retained or not presented properly.
  • Monetary fines can be even higher for employers who knowingly hire or continue to employ unauthorized workers.  First time violations can total as much as $3,200 per unauthorized employee and up to $6,500 and $16,000 for second and third time violations respectively.
  • Indictments, felony charges and prison sentences have followed even more serious violations.

An Ounce of Prevention

Employers should take time to ensure that their organization:

  • Is aware of the new I-9 form and the requirements for completing each section as it relates to the regulations.
  • Has a dedicated individual(s) to help with the transition and ongoing administration of both the old and new I-9 Forms.

Over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of I-9 investigations conducted by Immigration & Customs Enforcement.  The safest way for employers to ensure compliance with I-9 regulations is to conduct an internal audit of its company records.  Otherwise, failure to comply may be more time-consuming, financially draining and become your company’s next public relations nightmare.

With Spring finally here, it is a good reminder to get your house in order.  Let us know how we can partner with you to ensure these and other compliance concerns you may have are neat and tidy.

Helpful Links

Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing Form I-9:

My Career Path Mantra: Accept What Comes – Stay the Course – Opportunities Will Come.

Ultimate success comes from achieving lots of short-term, manageable wins that over time result in huge outcomes instead of focusing on big finish lines and self-imposed, arbitrary deadlines.

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to get the opportunity to attend the Women in Leadership Luncheon at the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia Community College. Jennifer Olsen, the President of Resourceful HR, was asked to present as the keynote speaker that afternoon and asked me to attend the event with her.  At the time, I mostly thought of the luncheon as an “on the job” task and never imagined that the experience would have an impact on how I view my own professional career.

For most of my young adult life, I knew that I had to graduate from college and find a great job with a well-recognized company. When I landed my first job after completing my undergraduate degree, I was overcome with relief in knowing that I had succeeded in life because I had gotten my “dream job.” This great sense of accomplishment diminished within the first year of my professional career and I was increasingly feeling a lack of connection with my job and the people who I worked with. At the time, I felt like I was working a job that I had not even applied for and I felt like the training and direction I was receiving was mediocre at best. Now, I realize that ultimately, it was a difference of expectations that created the gap between myself and my previous employer. After I listened to Jennifer’s speech, it dawned on me that when it comes to plans, it is almost impossible to stick to your original ones without revisions. Not only do your wants and needs change but how you meet your goals and overcome your challenges will too.

In those 60 minutes, I learned so much more about this face of the company…much more than I had learned working side-by-side with Jennifer. She stated “you don’t have to write the ending before taking the first step towards the ending you want. You just have to have enough figured out to give it a go and be prepared to pivot if things start to turn towards the unexpected.”

After Jennifer completed her speech, I realized I wrote down a few takeaways from the expedition her story took me on and here they are:

  • “Embrace your flaws and more quickly let go of dead visions of what [you] thought [you] wanted that can clutter [your] path.”
  • Just because you went off your plan, doesn’t mean you failed it.
  • “Real success is a process; a series of small steps with help from many wonderful people.”
  • “Leave room for the unexpected as sometimes those experiences turn out to be richer than what was originally planned.”

Jennifer made me realize that “ultimate success comes from achieving lots of short-term, manageable wins that over time result in huge outcomes instead of focusing on big finish lines and self-imposed, arbitrary deadlines.” She showed me that no matter who you are in life, to have pride in your journey because that is what humanizes us. The path Jennifer took had bumps in it that were not a part of her plan, but she embraces those hiccups and is a better President and leader because of it.

The Yahoo Telecommuting Policy Change – What Does it Mean to the Rest of Us?

I, like most, was surprised when Yahoo announced on February 22nd that they were eliminating their “Work From Home” benefit and forcing all employees to report to work at a Yahoo office starting in June. From the New York Times to Mother Nature Network, the story was picked up everywhere. All highlighted opinions, stats and facts regarding working from home versus onsite as well as the potential fallout and/or benefits CEO Marissa Mayer’s decision may have on turning around the organization.

Initially Resourceful HR wasn’t going to blog about Yahoo’s telecommuting decision and subsequent discussions because we didn’t want to add to the noise. But given the number of times this topic has come up in conversations over the past month, particularly with clients, the pros/cons and best practices of telecommunicating are clearly on everyone’s mind.

So what are people saying about the Yahoo Telecommuting Policy Change?  LOTS! There is much speculation on the real purpose of the change. Is it: For the ideas and innovation that come from spontaneous and impromptu interactions in the hallway of the office? To inspire those not really engaged with the turnaround of Yahoo to quit, thereby avoiding a massive layoff? To highlight Marissa Mayer’s strength of character as a leader and her ability to make the unpopular decision? Because the VPN logs highlighted that employees were not logging in enough when they were working from home? To dramatically and immediately shift the culture of the organization – one described as stagnant at the time she was hired? Or something else?

Many support Marissa Mayer’s choice and others are extremely critical. Topics commonly covered in the opinion pieces highlight that the change won’t last, it is a massive step backwards for working parents, and an archaic approach to leadership. Some even go so far as to claim Marissa Mayer broke the code of motherhood by changing the policy.

But Yahoo isn’t alone in making the move. Best Buy changed their Results Oriented Workforce just a couple weeks later, requiring 4,000 corporate employees to return to the office. Best Buy, however, included in their message that they were encouraging employees to work with their managers to determine if telecommuting was a viable option for their situation.

I don’t anticipate there is going to be a lot of companies getting rid of telecommuting as a result of these two large, struggling organizations’ decisions. But it has caused many of us to sit back and think about our own policies and if they are leading to the results we desire.

There are many considerations when building or evaluating a telecommuting policy. You can read some in this previous blog post.

As you evaluate a telecommuting policy, I encourage you to put yourself in your employees’ shoes and visualize how a telecommuting policy may change their daily lives and subsequently impact their contribution to the organization. Are you willing to model the behavior you are requiring with a policy change? Think big picture about the impact of a telecommuting policy on your organization’s goals, employees, and customers.

What are your short and long-term business goals and how does your culture and policies support these goals? Create a telecommuting policy that ensures you receive the greatest contribution and productivity from your employees.

Consider the following as you evaluate your telecommuting strategy and related policy:

  • What is the employment brand you desire to have? Is telecommuting a big piece of that and a driver behind why your employees chose to work for you?
  • Does your culture promote the levels of communication and openness required to be successful when employees are dispersed and working from home?
  • If you change your telecommuting policy, how will that impact your company’s culture and employment brand?
  • If you are going to make a blanket policy change, are there employees that will likely leave the organization? Are there exceptions you’d be willing to make for the policy?
  • How will your employees feel about the change in policy? As you look at the different groups of employees, will this have a more dramatic impact on certain demographics?
  • How would your customers perceive the change in telecommuting policy? Would that impact their decision to purchase from you?
  • What kind of talent do you need to hire now and in the future and will this policy change impact your ability to attract them?

Only time will tell whether the moves made by Yahoo and Best Buy were for the best. Obviously, the shareholders simply want to see positive financial returns. I’m curious about how the change impacts their ability to recruit talent in a tough market. What are your thoughts on telecommuting? Share your comments below whether you think it helps or hinders an organization.

Recruiting: Marketing, Networking and Integration

A few weeks ago after attending SourceCon, Genevieve Phillips, one of Resourceful HR’s recruiting consultants, wrote a post about talent sourcing best practices. After reading that blog post, I reflected upon how some of the latest techniques and changes affect and extend into the recruitment process.  This evolution, in large part, is due to the Information Age and how quickly news, ideas, and knowledge is transferred and absorbed.

The days of writing basic job descriptions and calling upon your personal network of friends and business colleagues to find top talent, is a time of the past.  We have entered into a new age of what some are calling “integrated recruiting.” It is a more holistic approach on recruiting that builds upon the fact that successful companies need to continually search for, and engage with the future talent that their organization will be built upon.  While building personal and professional networks will always remain a basic staple, recruiters must now plan ahead for future organizational needs while working to satisfy immediate recruitment goals.

Three Key Aspects of Integrated Recruiting Include:

  1. Marketing – Job descriptions must be written with the company’s employment branding in mind. As a recruiter, you need to focus on filling the position at hand but also take into consideration that a wider audience will likely be viewing your description.  Always take into consideration: what do you want people to know about your organization?  Why should a passive job seeker keep your company in mind as a potential future employer?   While you’re targeting individuals for an immediate need you’re also recruiting for future job opening that may not yet exist.
  2. Networking – Find networking opportunities online, attend events, and expand your personal and professional networks.  Focus your efforts on individuals that may make a valuable contribution to your organization.  This should be a combination of cultural fit as well as skills and knowledge base. You can tap into these resources to find other groups or individuals of similar caliber.
  3. Integration – The overall recruitment plan should integrate employment branding, marketing plans, and other aspects of your business.  Engage candidates for the current need while enticing and engaging with future prospects.  Build a long-term pipeline for the organization as a whole; not just for a specific position or targeted team.

Top talent will always be in demand.  How will your organization establish relationships with these individuals so you receive the first call when they are ready to make a move?  Integrated recruiting is the ultimate pre-sales tool for attracting talent.

Please comment below with your best practice strategies and questions!

Recognizing Workplace Bullying

Recently a reader responded to a blog post asking for some clear cut examples of workplace bullying. Resourceful HR takes our readers’ comments seriously and always tries to address questions and concerns. We used the opportunity for the team to discuss our experiences as HR professionals with workplace bullying and truth be told, we had difficulty coming up with definitive examples of a bullying boss.

So why, you may ask, is it hard for HR professionals to write examples of workplace bullying? Primarily because what is bullying within one setting is unfortunately, a cultural norm in another. This is what makes workplace bullying such a challenging situation for organizations to deal with. There is no clear cut definition. A quick Google search finds different definitions from many different resources. There are some common terms used in defining and discussing workplace bullying which involves repetition over a duration of time. Common characteristics include:

  • hostile communication and behavior
  • verbal abuse
  • offensive conduct and behavior (including non verbal) that is threatening, humiliating, intimidating

It is unacceptable for anyone to feel uncomfortable in the workplace and bullying-type conduct should not be permitted. Bullying often leads to health issues for employees and can frequently induce stress that leads to other mental and physical ailments. This of course, leads to increased time away from work or a decline in productivity. While workplace bullying can be based on perception, the health and productivity consequences are very real.  When an employee notifies their employer that they’ve been bullied, a comprehensive investigation should be conducted. There are two sides to every story. All bullying needs to be looked at on a case by case basis and taken seriously.

Employees feeling bullied by a boss or co-worker will feel threatened by the actions of the bully and unable to defend themselves against the negative recurring actions. Typically one will see bullying through the following activities:

  • Public humiliation including belittling opinions
  • Accusations regarding lack of effort
  • Intimidation, name calling, or insults
  • Prevention of access to opportunities or necessary information to complete work
  • Undue pressure with impossible deadlines
  • Shifting goals without communicating the change
  • Setting up the employee to fail

Mattie B. was correct in stating that HR is there “to protect the company from acting in such a way as to bring on litigation from breaking labor laws.” Much of the human resources function is about risk mitigation and that does involve protecting employees and the employers. Each employer has the ability to determine the level of risk they are willing to take. Unfortunately workplace bullying is not illegal. Therefore the risk is not as obvious to an employer as one might think. There are some great organizations that will listen and respond to workplace bullying issues, but there are also those that will turn a blind eye. We don’t live in a utopian society and we could all find ourselves in an organization that has a deaf ear at some point.

All of us at Resourceful HR agree that if an employee is feeling bullied by a boss or co-worker, they should bring it up with HR and ask HR specifically if they will address the situation. In some cases, the employee may have to trust that HR and the organization is addressing the issue; they just may not be in a position to share how.

If you are feeling bullied at work, document your experiences, address them with the bully and/or other key parties within the organization and persist in stating your case on a factual and business level. If all else fails, we encourage you to leave the organization. Life is too short to put up with the actions of a bully boss and a non-responsive employer.

If you want to get involved, there is a push  across many states to make workplace bullying illegal. Learn more at:

The Evolution of Sourcing: Momentum, Metrics, and Moxie!

As a Recruiting Consultant for Resourceful HR, sourcing continues to be the #1 priority in driving recruiting efforts for clients.  Without sourcing, there would be no candidates, and consequently, there would be no hires.  When I took a leap of “career faith” 10 years ago and left the world of non-profit management, sourcing was a rarely copped term in the industry.

As my recruiting career quickly progressed, I discovered my talents lay in the “front end” of recruiting.  I was a natural hunter and my ability to find and assess talent developed as I grew my internet research skills and overall awareness and expertise in the industries I served.

Since then, sourcing has become an industry standard as part of current recruitment driven initiatives, inclusive of small, mid-size, and large organizations. Before I was fully cognizant of my specific recruiting strengths, I was well on my way to defining my career as a sourcing specialist in a volume driven corporate culture.  At this stage of my career, I relish the opportunity to attend forums that allow me to synergize that experience, while connecting with sourcing strategists who are the driving force behind sourcing momentum, expectations, and metrics.

Attending the SourceCon 2013 conference in Atlanta this February enhanced my perception and provided valuable insight into the direction of sourcing as an industry and as it clearly aligns under the umbrella of recruiting and human resources.  Some of the critical elements to a solid recruitment/sourcing initiative remain constant; the ongoing objectives from sourcing should include:

  1. Increasing the total number of hires
  2. Decreasing candidate hiring costs
  3. Decreasing the time to fill a job opening
  4. Increasing candidate satisfaction in the hiring process

As sourcing strategy evolves with the growth of the internet, social media and mobile devices, we are seeing a transformation in recruitment sourcing priorities as it relates to hiring cost management and long-term forecasting.

As the proverbial sourcing ship sails into 2013, the opinions of top hiring leaders suggests that technology will continue to drive the momentum and metrics behind this growing and clearly defined industry.  I’d like to share some of the elements I personally found most relevant to my sourcing development from this year’s SourceCon conference:

  • Ask the right questions. Understanding the requirements of the client and the organizational culture, as well as candidate motivation is essential to the hiring process.  I see sourcing as Matchmaking 101; listen, learn, and connect!
  • Develop your persona through social media.  As I build my personal sourcing brand through social media, I have to find a way to relate to multiple candidates in a diverse array of professions and industries our clients reside while remaining authentic and approachable across the board.   By creating consistent messaging that genuinely reflects your persona, you can build your credibility.
  • Craft a strong story. Sourcing is about story telling. Job descriptions should tell a good story, but it’s your initial pitch to a candidate about the company, the opportunity, and the culture fit that drives hiring momentum.  By prioritizing key client needs, you can significantly reduce the assessment time and potential fit; know your client and take the time to understand the story you should be telling.
  • Brand baby brand. With the rise in recruiting through mobile devices and social media platforms, aligning the company profile with a positive focus on employee culture and job openings becomes mission critical.  As we move away from traditional sourcing methods, which rely on job boards and postings, candidates prefer social media engagement to get a feel for a company and further  garner their interest in you as a potential employer.  Enlighten your sourcing strategy by promoting social media branding awareness with your clients!

If you have questions or comments about sourcing as it relates to your recruitment strategies, we would love to hear them!

Recruiting Options: Which to Choose?

You have an open position but limited company resources to help you fill it.  What do you do?  What outside resources could you tap?  Here we take a look at several external options to consider, each with pluses and minuses.

Staffing Firms

Most companies and candidates are familiar with traditional staffing firms who are generally paid when they fill a position (known as a contingency search) or are retained with an initial deposit up front and final payment when the candidate accepts the offer.  Fees generally range from 20 -35% of the new hire’s first year annualized compensation and can include bonuses and other incentives in the calculation.  Good staffing firms already have a database of relevant candidates and can match client and candidate quickly with a high degree of skill match and culture fit precision.  This makes the high fee worth it.  You get who you need within a few days. Unfortunately, staffing firm quality can vary.  Some throw candidates at the client hoping one will stick.  When looking at staffing firms when you have a tight timeline, it’s important to check references to ensure the firm can act within your timeframe on the talent and culture fit you need.

Contract Recruiters

If you have a number of positions and can afford to hire a fulltime resource for a short stint, hiring a contract recruiter may be a good option.  Good contract recruiters generally want fulltime for 3-6 months and can be expensive.  They are hired on their own or through a temporary staffing firm and generally work onsite at the client company.  This is good in that hiring managers can walk down the hall anytime to talk with their recruiter.  It can be bad when the client doesn’t really have the space, computer, desire for the phone bill likely to occur or the need for fulltime.  We do place contract recruiters onsite at our client’s request when the next option, outsourced recruiting, doesn’t make sense or appeal to them.

Outsourced Recruiting (aka Recruitment Process Outsourcing)

Outsourced Recruiting is a fairly new type of relationship trending that has grown enough in popularity to have its own association and industry definition. The Recruitment Process Outsource Alliance, a group of the Human Resources Outsourcing Association (HROA), defines recruitment process outsourcing as “a form of business process outsourcing where an employer transfers all or part of its recruiting process to an external service provider.” This can take many forms and practices vary by vendor but generally this relationship allows the client organization to pick and choose where they want vendor assistance in the recruiting process.

What does outsourced recruiting look like?

I’ll just speak to what it looks like at Resourceful HR.  We charge by the hour to be an extension of our client’s recruitment function.  While you do have one point of contact, we work as a team on your position helping to sell your story and desired brand image across our collective networks. We tweet your news and events and actively share stories with our friends, colleagues and within your industry on how great you are. We choose together which pieces of the recruiting process should or could stay in-house versus Resourceful HR performing the function and we vet this per position.  For example, together we may decide that it makes the most sense for us to do the candidate sourcing and phone interviews while someone on the client’s team screens the resumes and does the references. 

Each position’s process can be tailored to fit the client’s budget and desired outcomes. We provide full transparency throughout the process of who we have contacted, what resumes have surfaced and how many hours we have spent. We provide a contact sheet that lets our clients make multiple hires from a single search. The only downside is that we may not have the ready-made database of candidates a staffing firm could offer, so filling a position within a week would be unusual. Time to hire varies depending upon the complexity of the position and how responsive the client company is to providing feedback.

Hopefully the above provides some context to help you decide which external resource may be right for you when faced with hiring.  What are your experiences with these options?  How do you make the decision that is best for your business?

Focus on the Client: Mutual Growth and Success

In just a few short weeks, Resourceful HR will be opening a location in the San Francisco Bay area. While exploring and planning for this expansion, we spent time evaluating what has brought us the ability to make this leap. The most obvious answer is our clients.

Clients are the lifeblood of a consulting firm. Our very own Laura Doehle was recently featured in a Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) online publication about achieving success in consulting. The article, available to SHRM members, highlighted best practices for consultants. Reflecting on this article and planning for our expansion allowed me the opportunity to identify key areas that have facilitated Resourceful HR’s ability to partner with amazing clients and help propel both them and Resourceful HR to success. When our clients experience growth and success, RHR grows with them to better serve their needs. Here are some of the key take-away’s I identified about what allows us to help our clients be successful, meet their goals and reach their full potential:

*Listen carefully. It’s always about asking the right questions and getting to the heart of the situation. Every organization has unique challenges and it is critical that we listen to those needs and then determine how we can help in that area.

*Focus on relationships. Human Resources is, by its very definition, about humans. Our consultants get to know our clients as people and not just an organization. These relationships allow RHR to take over key activities for our clients so their employees can focus on strengths and deliverables. This allows us to add value in ways the organization never expected.

*Work as a team. Both within Resourceful HR and with our clients, it is all about team work. We leverage our team’s broad experiences, niche expertise and expansive networks to quickly support our clients with their recruiting and HR needs as well as direct our clients to other resources that will also allow them to achieve success.

*Address pain points. First we solve the immediate problem, then we proactively address other potential challenges. If our clients have a specific pain point, that is where we go first. No matter what other areas we identify as needing attention, without addressing the client’s immediate problem, no other support will be beneficial.

When asking our clients why they work with us, I’m sure many of them will mention at least a few of the above points without even thinking twice. RHR knows that when the client comes to us, they are seeking advice and help on a specific issue and expecting concrete results. Instead of working for our clients, we choose to work with them: creating a solid relationship by working as a team with the client and utilizing the RHR team and our resources.

We would love to hear from you on your best practices for focusing on the client. Share your thoughts below.


HR Return on Investment

It’s that time of year when many of us reflect on the past and plan for the future. And at Resourceful HR we do just that – we use the new year to reflect on successes from the previous year and plan for what we want to accomplish in the coming months. I’ll be the first to admit that new year’s resolutions are difficult to sustain, but there are some great ways to ensure your HR objectives and resolutions are successful – metrics.

Recently, the Resourceful HR team had the opportunity to explore the topic of HR metrics and ROI in detail at our last Northwest HR Best Practices Roundtable. Many of our readers already understand the value of HR and as business leaders and professionals, we know HR plays an important role in maximizing performance, retention and achieving organizational goals. However, measuring the tangible results is not always evident or easy. We wanted to share some of the key points, ideas, and advice that came from the Roundtable discussion.

  • Just like with any business initiative, the only way to measure the results is to clearly define the outcome you are seeking and the actions that will get you there.
  • Determine what can be measured. What can be measured is what generally gets done.
  • Measurements of productivity or work activity don’t always equate to achievement of business goals.
  • Make sure what you are measuring aligns to business objectives/strategy.
  • Everyone across the organization needs to understand the value of HR initiatives in achieving organizational goals and the metrics used to track the success of each initiative.
  • Be proactive. Implementing metrics because of problems usually does not produce the results you are seeking. Be clear about your long-term goals and how HR initiatives are supporting these efforts.
  • Metrics are key for tracking progress towards change. Identify what needs to change based on where the organization is trying to go. Then identify which metrics would be valuable to monitor how things are progressing.
  • HR professionals should work closely with managers of teams or business units and determine what information would be helpful for them to know and monitor based on changes they need to see in their team to accomplish key objectives.
  • Objectives will change and you can’t always predict how. Gather data and metrics based on what you know you want to track today and make changes along the way as objectives, long-term goals and markets fluctuate.
  • There are some metrics that are required to be tracked, for compliance purposes, such as tracking full time employees for the Affordable Care Act or hours worked for sick pay for the Seattle Sick & Safe Leave, etc.
  • Many metrics don’t highlight an impact in the short-term. For many initiatives and tracking activities, you’ll want to create a one-month to five-year plan. Examples would be retention metrics or succession planning.
  • Identify recruiting metrics that matter to your organization. Time to fill may not be the best measurement if it is a hard to fill role or a unique niche position.
  • People costs are usually the highest expense at an organization so tracking the impact those dollars have on success is extremely important.

Establishing effective metrics isn’t easy. But the benefit of putting the tracking mechanisms in place and being able to highlight a job well done will be just as rewarding as crossing the finish line of the race you’ve resolved to complete this year.

We’d love to hear from you on your best practices for identifying and implementing metrics for your HR initiatives. Share your thoughts below.

Engaging Your Workforce!

The way we engage our employees and value others is intrinsic to the social and emotional learning programs we produce. As a senior level HR executive, I have had the opportunity to work at several organizations and see what works and what does not. As a client of Resourceful HR, I wanted to share with blog readers some of the best practices I have learned throughout my career.

By Jean Battersby Wooten, Human Resources Manager, Committee for Children

I recently had the opportunity to attend Resourceful HR’s NW HR Best Practices Roundtable where the focus was employee engagement. This is a poignant topic for our organization as our team thinks of employee engagement as a cornerstone to the work we do. The way we engage our employees and value others is intrinsic to the social and emotional learning programs we produce. As a senior level HR executive, I have had the opportunity to work at several organizations and see what works and what does not. As a client of Resourceful HR, I wanted to share with blog readers some of the best practices I have learned throughout my career.

I also hope to hear from you! Employment engagement is ever evolving. It is a dynamic process that never really ends – it is not something we can just cross off our list after accomplishing a few tasks. What are the best practices you employ in your organization on a sustainable basis and what are the ways in which you measure engagement?

The following are just some of the techniques Committee for Children employs:

–          Employee engagement starts during the interview/hiring process (whether you are hired or not). We value expertise and the time job candidates spend engaging with our organization. Our goal is to show candidates respect throughout the whole process – this means keeping them informed, sticking to deadlines and keeping the relationship going even if they are not hired. You never know if you may need their contribution down the road.

–          Empower your employees. Giving your employees a full picture of what you are want to accomplish ensures they have the information they need to make good decisions. We share the strategic plan with the entire company and then each senior manager communicates with their team. This way every individual understands how their goals influence the results of the strategic plan.

–          Recognize all contributors. Recognize the efforts of all when possible. When a school or school district decides to purchase one of our programs, we acknowledge all that were involved. There are many contributors that helped along the way and we go out of our way to make sure everyone’s efforts are acknowledged, including designers and developers, the production and packaging teams, the financial team, client support services, our marketing team…the list goes on and on. Every purchase is a result of ALL of our employees’ synergistic efforts and all should be recognized for their contributions.

–          Focus on feedback. This is a crucial aspect that impacts our employee engagement initiatives. For two years in a row, our employees have voted us a Best Places to Work sponsored by the Puget Sound Business Journal. While the recognition is nice, it is not what drives our participation in this process. As part of the process, our employees are asked to complete a comprehensive survey (that requires 85% of employees to voluntarily fill it out in order to be considered for the award). The results from the survey let us know what we need to be focusing on in order to create greater job appreciation (i.e. what motivates people, what provides the support they need, what benefits are important to them). This feedback is then turned into our ‘marching orders’ for the year – We dive into each aspect and then work hard to create the environment our employees are desiring.

–          Listen, listen, listen. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Our culture thrives on transparent communications. While it is nice to have the Best Places to Work survey tool to collect feedback, the most important thing you can do is to listen and then communicate to employees that you hear them. For instance, you may learn there is a benefit that is lacking. While you may not have control over the benefit, it is still important to let employees know they were heard and tell them what you can and cannot do to help them. Another way we ensure everyone is at the table, even when they cannot, is to make notes from staff meetings and executive meetings available on our SharePoint.

And lastly, the best way to engage employees is to be engaged yourself. Enlisting your HR staff and making sure your managers are on board is key to creating a work force that comes to work feeling valued, respected and wanting to contribute!

_ _ _

About Jean

Jean is a successful human resources professional with over 25 years of experience. She is a natural leader with a passion for helping others reach their full potential. The industries she has worked in include high tech, professional services, manufacturing, distribution, insurance, non-profit and academia.

About Committee for Children

Committee for Children is a 30-year-old nonprofit whose vision is safe children thriving in a peaceful world—a world in which children can grow up to be peaceful, empathic, responsible citizens. It may seem like a tall order, but their social-emotional learning materials are in schools from Illinois to Iraq, Chile to California. They’ve taught millions of children skills that help them stay safe, manage their emotions, solve problems, avoid risky behavior, and improve their academics. And with your help, they can reach millions more—one child, one classroom, one community at a time.  Visit them at

Think Twice Before Requesting Employees’ (or Potential Employees’) Facebook Password

Scoping out employees’ and potential employees’ online lives has become commonplace for employers, and there are many solid reasons to do so. However, requesting employees’ Facebook passwords, or any access information to their personal online accounts, is another situation entirely. Not only does gaining such access to employee accounts bring little useful information, it delivers a negative message to employees and may expose employers to a host of ethical and legal issues.

Scoping out employees’ and potential employees’ online lives has become commonplace for employers, and there are many solid reasons to do so. However, requesting employees’ Facebook passwords, or any access information to their personal online accounts, is another situation entirely. Not only does gaining such access to employee accounts bring little useful information, it delivers a negative message to employees and may expose employers to a host of ethical and legal issues.

First, consider the message that you send to your employees when you request their passwords to their personal online accounts. Do you really want to be Big Brother, with a finger in every aspect of your employees’ lives? Do you really want to encourage employees to conceal information from you, which is what they are likely to do in an attempt to maintain a modicum of privacy? Do you want to send the message that you place such a low value on information security that you would ask your employees to violate the security policies of their online services providers?

Second, consider the ethics of such a request. Can you honestly say that you have a business interest in gaining such access to your employees’ private online accounts? Can you honestly say you have the right to access these accounts? Is it ethical to place an employee in a position of having to choose to protect their privacy or please their employer?

And finally, such requests carry numerous legal implications. While this area of law is unsettled, such requests likely violate the law on several fronts.

  1. Terms of Use Violation. Requesting that employees provide their passwords is asking employees to violate their contracts with the online providers. Nearly without exception, online providers’ Terms of Use prohibit users from sharing their passwords, and the practice of requesting employees’ access information has already been condemned by Facebook and other social media providers.
  2. Unauthorized Access. Some courts have found that an employer’s request for access information from an employee is essentially coercive because of the power imbalance between employer and employee. Therefore, using such information may then be considered “unauthorized access” in violation of some state laws.
  3. Discriminatory Information. Accessing your employees’ private online accounts may provide you with information that you, as an employer, may not request or consider in making employment decisions, such as ethnicity or religious affiliation. An employer may not legally use such information in the employment arena, and merely possessing such information may cause future headaches in the case of a disgruntled employee looking to bolster a discrimination claim.
  4. National Labor Relations Act. Requiring your employees to provide you with their passwords to social media sites is likely in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, a federal law that prohibits, among other things, employers from acting to discourage employees from “concerted activity” regarding their employment and working conditions. Recent case law has held that employees’ actions on social media are considered protected “concerted activity” and that employers are limited in what they can do to regulate or restrict such social media activities.

Overall, requesting your employees’ Facebook passwords or other access information to their personal online accounts, while perhaps the latest trend in employee relations, is a high-risk, low-reward strategy that employers should avoid.

 – – –

Lauren Burgon is an associate at Equinox Business Law Group, working closely with business owners to ensure they are minimizing risk and protecting assets. While she especially enjoys working with business owners in planning ahead to avoid litigation, other areas of Lauren’s practice include protecting clients’ intellectual property rights and assisting them in drafting carefully written nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements. More recently, Lauren’s practice has developed in Internet and online issues, advising her clients on their online presence, retail activity, social media, and the ramifications of virtual work with customers worldwide. Read more about Lauren.

Hitting the Magic 50 Employee Mark Part 3 – Performance Management, Compensation/Benefits, and Human Resources Staffing

Companies who have not yet instituted a formal performance management system are likely to set this as an important goal once they hit fifty employees. In the past goal setting may have occurred quite successfully on the back of a napkin while chatting around the lunch table with everyone. However, at 50 employees this strategy becomes ineffective.

Over the past several weeks I have been sharing a series covering the changes to make and the things to consider when your company grows to 50 Employee. This is the third in the series. I welcome your comments and questions if there is anything you hoped I would cover that I have not.

Read Part 1 – Hitting the Magic 50 Employee Mark Part 1 – What You Need To Think About?

Read Part 2 – Hitting the Magic 50 Employee Mark Part 2 – More Formal, More Frequent Communications.

Performance Management & Goal Setting

Companies who have not yet instituted a formal performance management system are likely to set this as an important goal once they hit fifty employees. In the past goal setting may have occurred quite successfully on the back of a napkin while chatting around the lunch table with everyone. However, at 50 employees this strategy becomes ineffective. There are likely at least three reporting layers by this time – senior management, management/supervisory and individual contributors. The goal setting system, by necessity, must get more formal so that everyone is on the same page and supporting the same goals. The same goes with performance feedback. Employees deserve feedback and the more employees there are the more helpful feedback is to keep everyone motivated and moving in the same direction.


At fifty employees you will see changes in health plan offerings as fifty member groups is often a differentiation point for plan offerings and pricing. Incentive plans tailored to different levels or job classes tend to be implemented around this time. Formal salary analyses are occurring more regularly. Where the company previously had one engineer they may now have three or more. Internal as well as external salary equity comes in to play now. At fifty employees, companies who do not already have a formal recordkeeping system will want to begin investigating their options. It becomes very difficult to track employee changes on an excel spreadsheet. Most payroll services offer a human resources module and there are many cost effective HRIS (human resource information systems) on the market for smaller employers.

Human Resources Staffing

As you have read through this blog, you may already have come to the conclusion that many, if not most, companies that hit the 50 employee mark begin considering the addition of a Human Resource professional to help with the challenges of reaching this exciting benchmark. For some companies it takes the form of hiring an internal part or full time Human Resources professional. For others it means contracting with an external provider to provide project expertise or mentoring for an internal staff member.

Hitting the Magic 50 Employee Mark Part 2 – More Formal, More Frequent Communications

An extremely common remark made by employers once they hit the 50-employee mark is “I don’t know everybody by name any more”. Communications, always a critical component of success, is increasingly important the bigger a company becomes. The more people, the more room for misunderstandings, the more room for not getting word around to everyone and the more important direct communications become.

In my most recent blog, Hitting the Magic 50 Employee Mark – What do You Need to Think About? – Part 1, I go over some of the Employment Laws that come into play at the 50 Employee mark. In this blog I focus more on communication with employees.

An extremely common remark made by employers once they hit the 50-employee mark is “I don’t know everybody by name any more”. Communications, always a critical component of success, is increasingly important the bigger a company becomes. The more people, the more room for misunderstandings, the more room for not getting word around to everyone and the more important direct communications become. The 50 employee mark is the time that the following should be instituted if not already in place:

Handbook, handbook, handbook

If your company has hit the 50-employee mark and you still do not have an Employee Handbook, it is now even more important that one be written and distributed. An Employee Handbook is important as a means to protect your company against litigation, provide employees with a succinct and comprehensive resource to clarify the expectations your company has of them and their conduct in their workplace, and market the benefits and services they receive as a member of your workplace. By the 50-employee mark, the employee handbook should cover, at a minimum, policy statements for standards of conduct, discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace, workplace violence, safety, technology use and security, and confidential and proprietary information, equal opportunity, employment at will, reasonable accommodations, internal complaint process and timekeeping/overtime requirements. In addition, most companies of this size have instituted paid time off benefits such as vacation, sick and holiday. Lastly there must be verbiage covering the FMLA and other federal and/or state required leaves such as military, jury duty, voluntary emergency rescue and voting. If your company has multi-state operations or is international, your employee handbook contents may include state or country specific employment law verbiage.

Company Meetings

Gone are the days of yelling out across the company “come to the break room – we’re going to meet”. With 50 people it is now time to institute some type of pre-scheduled all-staff meetings so that employees are able to attend. How often a company meets depends upon their unique culture. At minimum, a company with 50 employees should be meeting quarterly as a group.

Newsletters/Photo Boards/Venues for informal communications

More people equals more activity equals more information. It also means not being able to get around and see everyone every day and keep up with who is who. Now may be the time for your company to create some type of communication where the activities, special mentions, status updates, and new employee introductions can be consolidated and more efficiently communicated on a regular basis. A newsletter need not be fancy or complicated – a once a month email can serve the same purpose. It may also be the time to institute a photo board with everyone’s picture and name posted.

By this size, most CEO’s are no longer involved in the day-to-day aspects of the business but are spending their time at the strategic level. This translates into less time in the office and less time interacting with all levels of employees. It is CRITICAL to recognize this and to create venues for your CEO and other officers to have an opportunity for connecting with the employee population. For instance, I always start by getting a once monthly roundtable lunch on the CEO’s schedule and inviting around eight employees at random to attend. This gives the CEO and employees an informal venue to interact in a small group that encourages two way feedback.

The bigger the company grows, the more important it is to create venues that connect people across the organization. This can be as simple as doughnuts in the break room every Friday at 10:00. The CEO of one company I worked at instituted a “Safari” concept where employees were encouraged to take someone else in the company who they did not know well out to lunch (on a safari). The participants would then submit a slip containing an interesting fact they learned about one another. At the monthly staff meeting the slips were placed in a drawing and several were drawn, the facts were read and the submitters received fun prizes.

Hitting the Magic 50 Employee Mark – What do You Need to Think About? – Part 1

Just as age marks milestones for people, so does the number of employees in the business world. For instance, turning 21 is a magic milestone for many. It is a time of change – change in how a person conducts themselves, change in how they set their goals and go about their daily lives. In business, a magic milestone is reaching fifty employees. This often also marks a time of change – change in the laws that govern the employer, change in employee expectations of the employer and certainly change in how the employer conducts their daily business and goals.

Just as age marks milestones for people, so does the number of employees in the business world. For instance, turning 21 is a magic milestone for many. It is a time of change – change in how a person conducts themselves, change in how they set their goals and go about their daily lives. In business, a magic milestone is reaching fifty employees. This often also marks a time of change – change in the laws that govern the employer, change in employee expectations of the employer and certainly change in how the employer conducts their daily business and goals.

Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing a three-part series detailing what to take into account as you reach or if you have already reached the 50-employee milestone. First of all congratulations on your accomplishment! Secondly, we hope to hear from you and what you are working on to accommodate your growth. Do you have questions, best practices, additional information to share?


At the 50-employee mark, employers are responsible to comply with some additional employment laws, most notably, the Family Medical Leave Act.

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The FMLA applies to any employer in the private sector who engages in commerce, or in any industry or activity affecting commerce, and who has 50 or more employees each working day during at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. The law also covers all public agencies (state and local governments) and local education agencies (schools, whether public or private). These employers do not need to meet the “50 employee” test in order to comply.

The FMLA requires the employer to provide up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave a year, and requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking leave, to an employee with a pregnancy or a serious health condition. Employees of both sexes are also entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn child, or a child recently placed with them for adoption or foster care. They are also entitled to 12 weeks of leave to care for a son or daughter (under 18), spouse or parent with a serious health condition. However, FMLA is limited to 12 weeks total for all reasons in any 12-month period. As an employer, you have the responsibility to inform an employee in writing of his or her rights under FMLA, within 5 days of any absence that could be covered by FMLA. Read more about FMLA here:

Affirmative Action

Under Executive Order 11246, employers who have 50+ employees and $50,000 in government contracts must have an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) and take affirmative action to recruit and advance qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. Affirmative actions include training programs, outreach efforts, and other positive steps. These procedures should be incorporated into the company’s written personnel policies. Employers with written affirmative action programs must implement them, keep them on file and update them annually. To find out more about Affirmative Action Plans, reference:

State of California

CA Govt. Code Sec. 12950.1, requires California employers to provide supervisory employees with 2 hours of interactive sexual harassment training and education every 2 years. The requirement covers employers with 50 or more employees or contractors in any 20 consecutive weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. There is no requirement that the 50 employees or contractors work at the same location or that all work or reside in California. For more information:

Maximize Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a new trend that may benefit your bottom line and should be explored when your company is considering options for recruiting. With RPO your company typically pays only for the actual hours and expenses required to find and hire a new employee.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a new trend that may benefit your bottom line and should be explored when your company is considering options for recruiting. With RPO your company typically pays only for the actual hours and expenses required to find and hire a new employee. This is in contrast with the traditional recruiting agency model that requires you to pay a flat percentage of your new hire’s salary in fees to the recruiter. Some RPOs require that you outsource all of the recruitment activities for a given search; others allow you the flexibility to outsource the parts of the process that you need help with.

Some things to consider when deciding whether or not to outsource some or all of your recruiting:

  • Are your hiring efforts working? Where are the breakdowns in the process?
  • How much control do you want to have over your search efforts?
  • Which pieces of the search process do you most need help with?

Recruiting involves a number of steps:

  1. Writing or verifying the job description for the position to fill
  2. Strategizing about how and where to find the best candidates
  3. Writing job postings and position descriptions that get the attention of appropriate candidates
  4. Sourcing – which includes finding unique ways to attract the highest quality candidates
  5. Reviewing resumes to determine who will be interviewed
  6. Interviewing – which can include both telephone screening and in person interviews
  7. Selecting finalists and assisting with hiring decisions
  8. Reference checking
  9. Job offer and salary negotiations
  10. Declining candidates not selected
  11. Organizing start date and onboarding activities for the new employee

When it comes to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) you will find many different service offerings. You want to make sure you are working with an RPO company that meets your needs. As you consider the different companies you may want to consider the following:

  • Will the RPO customize their involvement to best fit your needs?
  • Will the RPO allow you to drive the process or expect you to fit into their process?
  • Will they spend time with you to determine where the process “pain points” are and work with you to address those issues?
  • Is there a minimum commitment money-wise or time-wise?
  • Can they come up with out of the box solutions to recruit for hard to fill positions?
  • Will you have direct contact with the recruiter(s) working on your position or is there an account manager you must go through?
  • How much regular contact will the RPO have with you? Will there be regular meetings and updates?
  • Will you be given copies of applicant lists? Many retained and contingency firms will not share their list of contacts which can be valuable to you in future searches. A good RPO should share this information with you since you are paying for the time and materials to generate the information.
  • While RPOs don’t generally have a set fee they should be able to offer examples of total expense as a percent of base salary so that you can compare this expense to other retained or contingency firms you are considering.
  • RPOs generally do not have a ready-made database of potential candidates since each search is customized to the client. However, the RPO should be able to give you a rough idea of search length if they have recruited for similar positions.

Resourceful HR offers RPO services and customizes each search to individual client needs. Let us know if you have questions about RPO services or how we can best help you.

Talking Politics at Work – Tread Lightly

While it may be tempting to talk about politicians and your political beliefs at work, it’s important to consider the consequences and be aware of your ‘water cooler’ etiquette.

With the primary elections well underway, national politics are at the forefront of the news these days. While it may be tempting to talk about politicians and your political beliefs at work, it’s important to consider the consequences and be aware of your ‘water cooler’ etiquette.

If you are lucky enough to work for a company that values diversity, you may find that you are surrounded by differing views. This makes it even more important to keep in mind that you may not know when you are in “like” company or if your words can offend or alienate your co-workers.

Here are some tips:

  • Try to keep your conversation focused on the facts of the issues rather than passing judgment about the politicians or the people who agree with them. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of having a professional conversation with a colleague.
  • If you cannot have a political conversation without becoming emotionally charged you may want to abstain from these conversations altogether.
  • Observe the rules of common courtesy. Every person has their right to their own point of view and every person should be given the opportunity to speak without being interrupted. Calvin Coolidge said it best: “No man ever listened himself out of a job.”
  • Focus on the goals of your team and the organization. While talks about politics are inevitable, do your best to ensure that your discussions are not taking away from teambuilding or the good work you do together.

Over the past few years the political landscape has become more and more polarized. This means the likelihood of you either agreeing or absolutely NOT agreeing is pretty much equal and many people have little to no tolerance for “the other side”. If you do want to discuss politics at work it’s best to make sure you are talking to people who are open to the topic. There is nothing wrong with a lively debate, but be aware that you may alienate people with differing opinions if your conversations tend toward bashing the “other side”.

We’d like to hear from you! Are you talking politics at work or being talked to about politics? How are you handling the situation?

Employees Becoming “Big Brother” – The DOL Launches a Smartphone App Enabling Employees to Monitor Their Own Time and Compute Wages

Jumping on the smartphone app band wagon, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the launch of its first smartphone app, an electronic timesheet to help employees independently track hours worked and determine the wages they believe they are owed.

How it Works
The app is available in English and Spanish and currently only for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. It allows users to track regular work hours, break time and overtime hours for one or more employers. Users input their hourly rate of pay, and the app will calculate the amount of wages supposedly owed to the worker. Users can also add comments related to their work hours; view a summary of work hours in a daily, weekly and monthly format; and email the summary of work hours and gross pay as an attachment to their employers. In addition, the app gives the user quick access to a glossary, information about wage and hour laws, and contact information for the DOL through links to the DOL’s web page for the Wage and Hour Division.

The DOL is exploring updates to its free app, which could enable similar versions for other smartphone platforms, such as Android and BlackBerry, and other pay features not currently included; such as tips, commissions, bonuses, deductions, holiday pay, pay for weekends, shift differentials and pay for regular days of rest.

For workers without a smartphone, the DOL’s website includes a printable calendar for work hours in English and Spanish to track rate of pay, work start and stop times, and arrival and departure times. The calendar also includes information about workers’ rights and how to file a wage violation complaint.

>> CONTINUE READING What Does This Mean For Employers? >>

How Can You Keep the Department of Labor & Industries From Knocking At Your Door?

Employers are facing increased scrutiny over their pay practices from both the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). In 2010, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis stepped up enforcement of federal wage and hour laws by hiring 250 additional investigators to snare employers who are violating wage laws. Likewise, L&I began using blogs—including Nailed, its fraud prevention and compliance blog,—Facebook, and Twitter to gather information needed to catch scofflaws.

The DOL surveyed more than 4,000 workers in three cities and concluded that “employment and labor laws are regularly and systematically violated,” with 1.1 million workers having at least one pay-based violation per week. Claiming violations in virtually every major urban industry, the report found:

  • 76% of the workers who had worked overtime were paid incorrectly.
  • 26% were not paid minimum wage.
  • 69% percent of workers had meal break violations.
  • 20% of the workers reported complaints, with 43% reporting retaliation.

The study concluded that front-line workers lose more than $56.4 million per week in underpaid wages. Among the areas of its enforcement focus, DOL continues its efforts on so-called “low wage” industries, independent contractors, misclassifications, and unpaid off-the-clock work.

Consequences to Employers for Failing to Comply
In my experience, most employers try hard to comply with the law and avoid costly litigation. The laws can be complicated though, and employers occasionally get tripped up without realizing it. Employers should remember that the DOL, L&I, and employees see a big target on their collective backs. The DOL can show up at your business with no warning, ask to see your records and interview employees on a moment’s notice. The risk of not paying employees correctly can be severe, including:

  • Investigations
  • Enforcement actions
  • Private lawsuits
  • Collective actions or
  • Class actions by:
    • Current Employees
    • Former Employees
  • Payment of back wages
  • Liquidated damages (double wages)
  • Back payment of workers’ comp premiums
  • Fines
  • Criminal penalties
  • Attorneys’ fees & costs

>> Continue Reading for What Should You Do? >>

Business Insights: New ICANN Top Level Domains – a Real Business Asset or a Very Expensive Cyber Vanity Plate?

Our business insights series is designed to give you greater understanding of business topics as well as ideas and tips for managing your business. If there is a topic you would like to learn more about, please contact us. This article is based on an article from Graham and Dunn’s GreenTech blog.

Get ready for another cyber land rush! New generic and branded domain names will soon be available– but this time there will be new challenges and significant costs associated with the process.

All businesses now know that having a Web presence and often directly offering goods/services through the business Web site is a must in the 21st century. Instead of accessing a specific business owner’s Web site by typing in a formal and convoluted Internet protocol (IP) address, such as, consumers look for a specific business by typing in a domain name ( to allow a computer on the Internet to find another computer.

Back in the mid 1990s we saw a big cyber land grab for everything .com, .org, and .net (other early top level domains or TLDs included .edu for universities and .gov for the U.S. government). ICANN, (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the organization that oversees the huge and complex interconnected network of unique identifiers that allow computers on the Internet to find one another, continued to pump out many new TLDs such as .mil (military), country codes (like .ca for Canada), and regional codes (like .eu for the European Union) and others like .aero, .pro, .coop and others. There are or will be soon about 306 TLDs available, including a new TLD .xxx for the porn industry approved last March.

>>Should a business pay the outrageous sum of $185,000 for the initial application filing fee? >>

Business Insights: The Constellation, the Entrepreneur, and the Angel

Our business insights series is designed to give you greater understanding of business topics as well as ideas and tips for managing your business. If there is a topic you would like to learn more about, please contact us.

Among the many things entrepreneurs of all stripes should know, is your financing options! Here is a quick map of your business financing options, and a description of one approach to angel financing – “straight” debt in conjunction with an outright grant of equity – that results in a high degree of alignment between the entrepreneur and the angel.

>> CONTINUE READING to learn more about straight debt & equity financing >>

Business Insights: Understanding the Basic Ratios to Securing Business Credit

We are excited to introduce our new business insights series. These experts are excited to share their expertise and insights with our readers. The series is designed to give you greater understanding of business topics as well as ideas and tips for managing your business. If there is a topic you would like to learn more about, please contact us.

Whether your business is a pre-revenue start-up or a middle market-sized company, regardless of industry including from software to energy to healthcare, do you have at least monthly discussions with two or more business or commercial bankers? If you are not, you may well be missing conversations you should be having, including:

  • what qualifies a business for bank financing, if not now then later when the business is producing revenues and/or has a balance sheet and an income statement that is “bankable”
  • the intensifying competition between banks to make commercial and industrial (“C&I”) loans, spurred not only by their experience with real estate lending since the Great Recession struck but also by regulators
  • how the banks are approaching making C&I loans to businesses which had bankable financials before the Great Recession, took a hit during the downturn, and now are coming back as the economy recovers

READ ON for more information about important financial ratios