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The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals

Book Description

The HR Answer Book addresses 200 questions that every employer needs to deal with, from recruiting and hiring to discipline and termination, compensation and benefits to training and employee relations. Accessible and concise, this on-the-job companion offers expert guidance on all types of "people" issues, enabling managers and human resources professionals to: * Save time, money, and trouble * Increase employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention * Attract and hire the best candidates while avoiding the inferior ones* * Handle tough issues like sexual harassment, Internet and e-mail usage, performance problems, and more -- fairly, sensitively, and legally. The HR Answer Book is an easy-to-use problem solver that can be read cover-to-cover or as a quick reference in specific situations. An appendix of tools, templates, and lists of additional resources completes this excellent and valuable guide.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Foreword
  3. Preface
  4. 1. Employee Selection: How Do I Find, Attract, and Select the Best?
    1. Finding Your Candidates
      1. Some Preliminary Steps
      2. Employment Advertising
        1. Should I run an ad in the newspaper?
        2. How do I write an ad?
      3. Other Referral Sources
        1. How can my business contacts help me to find qualified candidates?
        2. How can I develop an effective employee referral program?
        3. Should I put up a “Help Wanted” sign?
        4. Where are the recent college graduates, and how can I attract them?
        5. How do I find a recent college graduate in February?
        6. What happens at a job or career fair?
      4. Internet Recruiting
        1. Isn’t the Web the best place to find candidates in the information age?
        2. Shouldn’t I just post the opening on a large recruitment Web site?
        3. I have selected my Web sites. How do I design a job posting?
      5. Search Firms
        1. What can headhunters do for me, and what should I look for?
        2. I heard there are tax breaks for hiring certain people. What are they and how can I get them?
    2. Conducting the Interview
      1. How do I make the most of the interview process?
      2. How do I develop incisive interview questions?
      3. What is an illegal interview question?
      4. I’ve planned for the interview. Now what?
    3. Preemployment Testing and Screening
      1. Should I require candidates to take a skills test?
      2. What do I need to know about preemployment drug testing?
      3. Can I require applicants to take preemployment physicals?
      4. How do I conduct an effective reference check?
      5. What is a background check, and do I need to conduct one?
    4. Making the Job Offer
      1. How do I decide on a candidate and make a job offer?
      2. How do I negotiate a job offer?
      3. I know what I want to pay. Why should I negotiate?
      4. Should I put the offer in writing or have the employee sign an employment contract?
      5. The selection process sounds like a lot of work. Do I really need to take all this time?
  5. 2. HR Policies: Why Do We Need Them and What Should They Look Like?
    1. Should our company policies be in writing?
    2. The Employee Handbook
      1. Should our company have an employee handbook?
      2. Where do I begin in developing an employee handbook?
      3. What policies should the employee handbook contain, and how should I organize it?
      4. Introductory or “Welcome” Section
      5. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policies
      6. Employment and Compensation Policies
      7. Time-Off Policies
      8. Employee Benefits
      9. Employee Safety Policies
      10. Corrective Discipline/Termination Policies
        1. Should I have a severance policy in the employee handbook?
        2. Are there any stylistic considerations in writing the handbook?
        3. What legal issues do I need to look out for in creating the handbook?
        4. Do I need to get an attorney involved in the process?
        5. Is there anything else I should consider as I’m writing an employee handbook?
        6. How do I get employees to read, understand, and follow the policies in the handbook?
        7. Once I have created and distributed the handbook, is there anything else I should do going forward?
        8. Since it is the digital age, how about an electronic handbook?
  6. 3. Performance Management: How Do I Evaluate Performance and Conduct Meaningful Performance Reviews?
    1. Developing a Performance Management System
      1. What is “performance management”?
      2. Where do I begin in creating a performance management process for my organization?
      3. What is all this I hear about coaching?
      4. Do we need a formal mentor program?
      5. How do I deal with unacceptable performance within my performance management structure?
    2. The Performance Appraisal Process
      1. Does performance management have to include formal performance evaluations?
      2. What are my first steps in developing a performance appraisal system?
      3. How often should performance reviews occur?
      4. What does a good review format look like?
      5. Where do I get my form?
      6. I have the forms . . . now I just send them out and wait for the reviews to come in, right?
      7. Alternative Appraisal Methods
        1. Will 360-degree feedback make me dizzy?
        2. Who’s keeping score on a balanced scorecard?
        3. Should I rank my employees through a forced ranking system?
      8. Probationary Periods
        1. How do I evaluate new employees?
    3. Conducting the Performance Appraisal
      1. Who should conduct the appraisal?
      2. How should I plan for the in-person appraisal discussion?
      3. How do I conduct the review?
      4. Can I use the evaluation to tell the employee to shape up or ship out?
      5. What do I do with the final written evaluation?
      6. Are there any other rules about maintaining the employment files?
  7. 4. Training and Development: How Do Successful Companies Improve and Enhance Workforce Skills?
    1. Orienting the New Employee
      1. What training should take place on the employee’s first day of work?
      2. Do we need a structured orientation?
    2. Continuing Employee Development
      1. Training Options
        1. What types of training are out there?
        2. How do I know what kind of training to offer?
        3. My needs assessment indicated that training is appropriate. How do I identify the right resources?
      2. Training Classes
        1. Given the choice, is it better to use an internal or external trainer?
      3. E-Learning
        1. Do we need a classroom? Can’t we do it all on the Web?
      4. Government Resources for Training
        1. How do I provide quality training on a shoestring budget?
      5. Delivery of Training
        1. What is an effective training method?
        2. What is this I hear about training games and wilderness retreats?
        3. How do I get my employees to attend the training sessions?
        4. Once I have trained my employees, is it business as usual?
        5. How do I evaluate whether a training program has really helped us improve?
  8. 5. Employee Relations and Retention: How Do I Keep Good Employees and Maintain Working Relationships at All Levels?
    1. Fostering Effective Workplace Communication
      1. What types of information should I be sharing with my employees?
      2. How open and honest do I have to be?
      3. What are the best methods of communicating to employees?
      4. What are the best methods to get information from our employees?
      5. Can poor communication on the part of individual managers create retention problems?
      6. Once I have identified an interpersonal communication problem, what can I do to fix it?
    2. Structuring Reward and Recognition Programs
      1. How do I develop strong reward and recognition programs?
      2. What types of recognition programs should I consider?
      3. Is it safe to hold a holiday party for my employees?
    3. Maintaining Work-Life Balance
      1. What is flextime and how does it work?
      2. Are there any downsides to offering flexible scheduling alternatives?
      3. What is telecommuting?
      4. How do I decide who should telecommute, and is there anything else I need to know?
      5. How do I know I can trust my employees to be productive on flextime or when working from home?
      6. What is job sharing and will it work in my organization?
      7. What are compressed workweeks?
      8. How do I implement these nontraditional options in my organization?
    4. Resolving Workplace Conflicts
      1. Isn’t all organizational conflict undesirable?
      2. Are there systems we can implement to prevent and resolve workplace disputes?
      3. Are there basic conflict resolution skills we all can learn?
    5. When Employees Leave: Conducting the Exit Interview
      1. Who should conduct the exit interview and what should they ask?
      2. What happens if the employee reports harassment or other illegal conduct in the exit interview?
  9. 6. Compensation: How Should Employees Be Paid?
    1. Wage and Hour Laws
      1. What do the minimum wage laws mean for my business?
      2. When do I have to pay my employees overtime?
      3. Executive Exemption
      4. Administrative Exemption
      5. Professional Exemption
      6. Outside Sales Exemption
        1. How can I avoid mistakes in classifying positions?
        2. How do I calculate overtime payments?
    2. The Compensation System
      1. How do I figure out my compensation philosophy?
      2. Setting Rates of Pay
        1. What are pay grades and how do I use them?
        2. We don’t have formal job descriptions. Do we need them?
        3. How do I set rates of pay?
      3. Pay Increases
        1. When should I give employees raises?
        2. What criteria should I use to determine raises?
        3. How do merit increases work within the structure of my pay grade system?
        4. Does a promotion always involve a huge raise?
        5. Are merit increases the only way to give raises?
        6. What happens when employees complain about the system?
        7. Why can’t we ever seem to keep salaries confidential?
        8. What about other compensation—what about those perks?
    3. Variable Pay: Bonuses and Incentives
      1. What are some of my bonus and incentive options?
      2. Should we issue stock options?
      3. Now that I have decided which incentives to offer, how can I make the plans effective?
      4. Didn’t you forget executive compensation?
  10. 7. Benefits: What Makes a Benefits Package Competitive?
    1. What are employee benefits?
    2. Where do I begin?
    3. What do employees look for in benefits?
    4. Legally Required Insurance Programs
      1. Are there minimum benefits that I have to provide?
      2. Social Security Benefits
      3. Unemployment Insurance
      4. Workers Compensation
        1. Why do I have to worry about workers compensation since no one gets hurt in an office?
        2. Do I need a broker?
    5. Benefits that Provide Economic Security
      1. Group Life Insurance
        1. Do I have to worry about taxes and discrimination when I provide group term life insurance?
        2. What about the employee who wants more life insurance?
      2. AD&D Coverage
      3. Disability Insurance
        1. Should I consider a disability plan?
        2. Who’s going to pay for the nursing home?
    6. Benefit Days: Holidays, Sick Days, and Vacation
      1. I know Scrooge gave Bob Cratchit Christmas off, but do I have to?
      2. Is it better just to switch to a paid time-off policy?
    7. Health Insurance
      1. Are there legal requirements for offering health benefits?
      2. Where do I begin looking for a health care plan?
      3. What factors will influence the cost of the plan?
      4. What type of health plan do I choose?
      5. Should I offer dental and vision care benefits?
      6. Our city government provides insurance coverage for domestic partners. Do I have to?
      7. How do I make my final decision?
      8. My insurance company is raising my rates. Should I change carriers?
      9. Is it true that I am obligated to insure employees after they leave the company?
      10. How do the new medical privacy laws affect our company?
      11. What is a cafeteria plan?
      12. Is a cafeteria plan the same as a flexible spending account?
    8. Employee Assistance Programs
      1. What can I expect from an employee assistance program?
    9. Retirement Benefits
      1. What is the difference between a pension plan and a 401(k) plan?
      2. 401(k) Plans
        1. What is a 401(k) plan and how do I set one up?
        2. What happens to the 401(k) accounts when employees leave?
      3. Other Retirement Plans
        1. What are the other types of defined contribution plans?
        2. What about nonqualified plans?
        3. Do I have any other reporting requirements?
    10. Other Benefits
      1. How do I get assistance with educational assistance programs?
      2. Haven’t we covered everything?
  11. 8. Regulatory Issues: What Are the Major Employment Laws and How Do I Comply with Them?
    1. Laws Prohibiting Discriminatory Practices
      1. What are the primary federal antidiscrimination laws?
      2. What types of discrimination do the federal antidiscrimination laws protect against?
      3. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
        1. Who does Title VII apply to, and what types of discrimination do the laws prohibit?
        2. What types of conduct do the sexual harassment laws prohibit?
        3. When will the employer be held liable for sexual harassment?
        4. What steps can I take to prevent and correct harassment in order to minimize my risk of liability?
        5. If an employee does not complain, can the company still be held liable for harassment?
        6. Can I ever fire a pregnant woman?
        7. What is this I hear about Title VII reporting requirements?
      4. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
        1. Who is covered by ADEA and what types of discrimination does the law prohibit?
        2. Is it ever acceptable to make employment distinctions based on age?
        3. Can our company adopt a mandatory retirement policy?
        4. Can workers elect to waive their rights under the ADEA?
      5. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
        1. Who is covered by ADA and what types of discrimination does this law prohibit?
        2. What is a covered disability under ADA?
        3. Who is considered a “qualified individual” under the law?
        4. What reasonable accommodations are employers required to make?
        5. What is “undue hardship”?
        6. How can I work with my employees to develop appropriate reasonable accommodations?
      6. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)
        1. Who does the EPA apply to and what are its major provisions?
    2. The Family and Medical Leave Act
      1. Which employers/employees are covered by the FMLA?
      2. When can an eligible employee take FMLA leave?
      3. How should employees request FMLA leave?
      4. Can I request confirmation of a serious health condition?
      5. Do I have to give employees anything in writing when they request an FMLA leave?
      6. Can I inquire about employee status during the leave?
      7. Do employees get their jobs back after they return from leave?
      8. Can you fire an employee on FMLA leave?
    3. Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1979
      1. What are my basic responsibilities under the OSHA regulations?
      2. Will OSHA come to inspect my business?
      3. What happens if OSHA finds violations during the inspection?
    4. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
      1. What do I have to do to comply with the IRCA?
      2. Can I specify which identification and work eligibility documents an employee must present to me?
      3. Do I need to maintain a Form I-9 for independent contractors?
      4. What do I do about work authorizations that expire during the employment term?
      5. What should I do if I rehire a person who previously filled out an I-9?
  12. 9. When Bad Things Happen to Good Employers: How Do I Handle Volatile Workplace Issues?
    1. Does it matter whether my company is a public or private employer?
    2. Electronic Mail, Internet, and Computer Usage
      1. Is inappropriate employee e-mail, computer, and Internet usage really a serious problem?
      2. What steps can I take to reduce improper e-mail, Internet, and computer usage?
      3. Do employees have the right to privacy in their e-mail, Internet, and computer usage?
      4. How can I protect myself from claims that I violated an employee’s reasonable expectation of privacy?
      5. Is it advisable to monitor employee Internet, e-mail, and computer usage?
      6. How can I adopt and communicate standards regarding proper e-mail, Internet, and computer usage?
      7. What should the policy say?
      8. How should I communicate the policy?
    3. Violence in the Workplace
      1. What are my rights and obligations as an employer regarding preemployment screening for a history of workplace violence?
      2. Do I have any obligations if I discover during preemployment screening that an employee has a history of workplace violence?
      3. What are the warning signs of workplace violence?
      4. What do I do when an employee exhibits these warning signs?
      5. Can I force an employee to undergo psychological testing and/or counseling as a condition of employment?
      6. How can I prepare my company for the occurrence of an incident of workplace violence?
    4. Substance Abuse in the Workplace
      1. How can I reduce substance abuse in the workplace?
      2. What are the requirements of the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988?
      3. What substances are covered under the DFWA?
      4. What happens to employers that fail to comply with the provisions of this legislation?
      5. What steps should employers that are not governed by this law take to reduce substance abuse in the workplace?
      6. Should I conduct employee drug testing?
      7. What factors should I consider in developing a drug testing program?
    5. Monitoring Other Workplace Dishonesty
      1. Do I have the right to conduct searches of employees or their property?
      2. Is it advisable to conduct random searches of employees?
      3. What should I consider when conducting a “probable cause” search?
      4. Suppose the employee objects to the search?
      5. Can I monitor regular mail addressed to the employee at the workplace?
      6. Can I listen in on employee telephone conversations?
      7. Can I conduct video surveillance of employee workplace activities?
      8. Can I give my employees a polygraph test?
    6. Conducting Employee Investigations
      1. When do I need to conduct an investigation?
      2. Who should conduct the investigation?
      3. How do I conduct a proper investigation?
      4. How should I plan for the investigation?
      5. Should I send the accused employee home, with pay, pending the investigation?
      6. During fact finding, who should be interviewed?
      7. How should the interviews be conducted?
      8. What should I do after I gather the facts?
      9. Should I maintain documentation of the interview?
  13. 10. Termination and Discharge: How Do I Fire an Employee Legally and Humanely?
    1. The Termination Process
      1. Can’t an employer fire and rehire people as it wishes?
      2. What about “employment at will”?
      3. What do I need to consider in determining whether I can terminate an employee?
      4. How do I ensure that the proposed termination is satisfactorily documented?
      5. How do I prepare for and conduct the actual termination?
      6. What if the employee requests to resign instead of being fired?
    2. Post-Termination Compensation and Benefits
      1. What post-termination compensation and benefits am I required to offer to discharged employees?
      2. What types of optional post-termination compensation and benefits might I consider offering?
      3. Am I free to pick and choose what optional benefits I will offer individual terminated employees?
      4. Are all terminated workers entitled to unemployment insurance?
      5. Should I contest a terminated employee’s application for unemployment insurance?
      6. What is a “waiver” or “release,” and should I get discharged employees to sign one?
    3. Other Post-Termination Matters
      1. What do I tell remaining employees about a coworker’s termination?
      2. Are there steps I should take to protect company confidential information when an employee leaves?
      3. Is it appropriate to provide references for terminated employees?
      4. Do I have any obligation to pass on negative information in a reference?
      5. Can I now expect terminations to go more smoothly in the future?
  14. Resource Guide
    1. Chapter 1: Employee Selection
      1. Costs of Staffing
      2. Free Government Resources
      3. Interview Questions
      4. Lists of Colleges and Graduate Schools
      5. Preemployment Testing
      6. Relocation
      7. Web Recruiting Resources
    2. Chapter 2: Hr Policies
      1. Employee Handbooks
    3. Chapter 3: Performance Management
    4. Chapter 4: Training and Development
      1. Select Web Sites to Help Identify Trainers and Training Materials
    5. Chapter 5: Employee Relations and Retention
      1. Communications
      2. Employee Recognition
      3. Work-Life Balance
    6. Chapter 6: Compensation
      1. Compensation Consultants
    7. Chapter 7: Benefits
    8. Chapter 8: Regulatory Issues
      1. Americans with Disabilities Act
      2. Equal Employment Opportunity Laws
      3. Family and Medical Leave Act
      4. General Legal and Regulatory Information
      5. Immigration
      6. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act
    9. Chapter 9: Volatile Workplace Issues
      1. Employee Investigations
      2. Employee Monitoring
      3. Substance Abuse in the Workplace
      4. Workplace Violence
    10. Chapter 10: Termination and Discharge
      1. Cobra
      2. Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)
  15. Tools and Templates
    1. Ten Questions to ask by Phone Before Scheduling a Candidate for an Interview
    2. Preemployment Telephone Reference Check
    3. Sample Health Plan Comparison
    4. Sample Acknowledgment of Receipt of Employee Handbook
    5. Management Focus Group Preparation for Updating a Performance Management System
    6. Self-Evaluation
    7. Trainer’s Checklist
    8. Training Program Evaluation Form
    9. Telecommuting Checklist
    10. Termination Checklist
    11. Exit Interview Questionnaire
    12. Employment Reference Request