Andraya Carson: Conducting Effective Employee Exit Interviews

Posted by G&A Partners:

The only constant about an organization’s workforce is that it is ever changing. And although losing employees is inevitable, an employee’s last few days also present a critical opportunity for business owners, managers and the HR team to learn how employees really feel about their employer.

While people are currently employed by an organization, they are often afraid to fully voice their opinions. After the decision to leave is made, however, they are often more willing to offer honest feedback about their experiences. This period, an employee’s last few days or weeks, is the perfect time for your HR team to conduct an exit interview.

Conducting effective exit interviews is not always a skill every manager or HR team member is born with, but the feedback received during exit interviews is a critical part of managing a workforce. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind during your next employee exit interview:

  • Treat exit interviews like traditional hiring interviews.
    Structure and plan for exit interviews just like you would any hiring interview during the recruitment process. Many of the same best practices for interviewing a potential candidate apply to interviewing an employee leaving your organization. Set up a meeting time and place, try not to interrupt, take notes, etc.
  • Come prepared with a list of exit interview questions.
    Just like any hiring interview, you should prepare a list of questions to use during your exit interview process. Sample exit interview questions might include:

    • What made you start looking for a new job?
    • Was there any singular event that caused you to decide to leave the company?
    • What aspects did you enjoy about your job?
    • What did you dislike about your job?
    • Is there anything you would change about your position?
    • Do you have any suggestions for improving our company’s work environment?
    • Why did you value most about the company?
    • Do you feel that you had all the resources and support necessary to perform your job?
    • How did you feel about your relationship with your manager?
    • Did you feel that your supervisor valued your work?
    • Did the reality of your position fit with the job description you were given?
    • Did you receive feedback about your day-to-day performance from your supervisor?
    • Did you have a clear understanding of how the goals of your position fit within the overall goals of the company?
    • What skills and abilities should we look for in your replacement?
    • Would you recommend this company as a place to work to your friends or colleagues?

A word of advice: Don’t limit yourself to the sample exit interview questions above or use the list like a script. Instead, allow the interview to evolve organically as a conversation. This will better help you garner valuable feedback and make the employee feel more comfortable speaking with you.

  • Avoid having multiple interviewers.
    While panel interviews are considered a standard part of the hiring process, a panel exit interview may cause some employees to feel like they are on trial. Instead, exit interviews should be conducted one-on-one, preferably by a senior member of your HR staff.
  • Set the tone.
    Exit interviews don’t necessarily have to be formal affairs. Depending on the manner of departure, it may be more appropriate to have a more conversational or informal approach. Making an exit interview feel too formal can make an employee feel intimidated, and you definitely won’t get the kind of honest feedback you’re looking for.
  • Don’t ask people to play the blame game.
    No matter how much effort you put into trying to make employees feel comfortable during exit interviews, asking them to name names or assign blame will quickly put them on edge. Instead, ask about specific instances or situations that may have led to their departure, rather than asking someone to rat out their colleagues.
  • Let them vent.
    Listening to an employee vent about their frustrations can sometimes make you feel uncomfortable, especially if the employee isn’t leaving voluntarily. And while some of the feedback received may not seem particularly useful, it allows employees those leaving on bad terms to feel heard and possibly make peace with your organization. The key in these situations is to allow the person to fully finish their list of grievances and then try to identify the root of their issues, as they may be indicative of a more wide-spread problem.
  • If you’re not sure why someone is leaving, ask.
    It’s an unfortunate reality that sometimes organizations lose great, high-performing employees. Most of the time, the reasons are readily apparent: new job, retirement, relocation, family issue, etc. But occasionally some star employees seem to leave for no apparent reason. When a hard-working, previously loyal employee decides to leave, use the exit interview as an opportunity to (respectfully) probe into their reasoning. There may be an underlying problem within your organization that needs to be dealt with.
  • Don’t want someone to leave? Ask them to stay.
    Although it’s uncommon, some organizations may use the exit interview as a last-ditch effort to convince someone to stay. If an employee who is integral to your organization decides to leave, it may be worth it to see if there’s anything your organization can do change their mind. A great way to get to the heart of an employee’s decision to leave is to ask: Are there any conditions, if changed or improved, under which you would decide to stay with the organization? If your organization is able to change or improve these conditions, the employee may be willing to stay.
  • Can’t meet in person? Send an online exit interview survey.
    For whatever reason, sometimes it’s impossible to set up a face-to-face interview with a departing employee, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose out on that valuable feedback. Try sending the employee an online exit interview survey. This strategy is especially helpful for businesses with multiple remote offices that may not all have a full HR team on staff. Alternatively, you could conduct your exit interviews with remote employees via video chat or Skype.
  • Follow up on feedback.
    If you’re not going to follow up on the feedback you receive from former employees during exit interviews, you might as well not even conduct them. Come up with a process to evaluate and act on the answers you receive to the questions you ask, and make sure you discuss opportunities for change with managers and executives.

Conclusion

Exit interviews, if conducted effectively, can prove to be a key resource in understanding how your employees perceive your organization. By incorporating exit interviews into their termination processes, employers can then take steps to capitalize on the feedback received during exit interviews by addressing any frequently mentioned problems or areas of concern.

Written policies and procedures, like the ones employers have regarding termination processes and exit interviews, serve as guidelines for managers and employees alike. Without these guidelines in place, misunderstandings and misdirection can lead to troubling errors, employee injuries and even costly lawsuits and litigation. Some employers find, however, that they lack the human resources expertise to develop and create proper policies and procedures.

That’s where professional employer organizations (PEOs) come in. PEOs employ experienced HR professionals that help businesses avoid costly missteps and mistakes by working to develop compliant policies and tailor HR procedures to fit and promote the values of each client.

G&A Partners, a leading national PEO and HR outsourcing provider, has been helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses, take better care of their employees and enjoy a higher quality of life for more than 20 years. G&A alleviates the burden of tedious, employment-related tasks by delivering proven human resources processes and technology, allowing business owners and executives to focus their time, talent and energy on their company’s core products and services.

Learn more about how G&A Partners helps businesses grow by calling 1-800-253-8562 to speak with an expert or visiting G&A Partners‘ website to schedule a business consultation.

Source Credit: http://www.gnapartners.com/blog/effective-employee-exit-interviews/

 

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Andraya Carson: ACA Compliance – What Employers Are and Are Not Doing

Below is an interesting article written by Greg O’Keefe Regarding Affordable Care Act Compliance. It covers what the trend is that we are seeing with mid to large employer groups, who’s offering coverage and who is not, and how companies are positioning themselves to be the employer of choice to recruit and retain top talent. What is your company doing in this area? Feel free to contact me, Andraya (Dray) Carson at acarson@gnapartners.com to find out more. G&A Partners is a nationally licensed professional employer organization (PEO). We’ve been around for over 20 years, and are experts in this arena. Don’t try to manage on your own- you don’t have to. 

ACA Compliance – What Employers Are and Are Not Doing

While employers that are affected by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have had several years to prepare to meet the law’s complex requirements, an important question is: how prepared is your organization to demonstrate compliance?

Who’s In Charge of ACA Compliance?

Taking on ACA challenges appears to be a team effort. Study results indicate that most midsized and large organizations are relying on people in different functional areas to make strategic decisions concerning ACA compliance. In more than half of midsized organizations, the key decision maker is the Chief Executive Officer, while 60% of large employers assign this level of decision-making to the Head of Human Resources. However, the Head of HR is usually the person who manages day-to-day tasks that relate to ACA compliance for most organizations, regardless of size.

Who’s Receiving Coverage?

The study reveals that many organizations are not only extending health care coverage beyond ACA full-time populations, but also are not choosing to limit employee hours in response to ACA service-hour requirements.

The competition to attract talent appears to be the core business reason driving these decisions. Specifically, at least half of all organizations surveyed indicate they are extending coverage to employees who do not qualify as ACA full-time. Moreover, only a quarter of midsized employers surveyed already either have or are planning to limit the hours of at least some employees.

Are Employees Paying More for Health Care Costs?

Employers are shifting health care-related costs to their employees. About 70% of midsized organizations and 80% of large organizations are increasing the share of costs that they charge their employees in the form of deductibles and co-pays. More significantly, the study found that employers are beginning to emphasize consumerism into the health care cost equation through revised plan design. (Consumerism essentially engages employees more directly to help improve their health care buying decisions.) The most dramatic step toward consumerism is taking the form of Consumer-Driven Health Plans (CDHPs), which are the most effective plan design for actively engaging employees and their covered dependents in health care decisions.

In addition, the study indicates that nearly 20% of midsized employees and more than a third of large organizations have introduced a low minimum value plan as part of their ACA compliance strategy. Implementing a CDHP with a 60% minimum value would help simplify record keeping and reporting, and could play a role in reducing the Excise Tax penalties – a 40% tax that takes effect in 2018 on high-cost health plans above a certain threshold.

Are Employers Effectively Addressing Affordability Requirements?

Another area in which employers are challenged is how to address affordability requirements under the ACA. The study shows that a significant proportion of employers – who have or are planning to extend health care benefits – report they remain unsure concerning which of the three affordability safe harbors they will utilize for their employees.

Employers facing ACA compliance should select an affordability safe harbor and test plans offered to make sure that at last one plan offered with at least 60% minimum value is also affordable, based on the employee cost for self-only coverage.

How Prepared Are Employers for What Comes Next?

ACA compliance remains an area of concern for most employers faced with the task of meeting ACA requirements. Surprisingly, a majority of midsized and large employers believe their organizations are still not fully prepared to administer all applicable ACA requirements accurately. A major reason for this appears to be a lack of being able to properly integrate data from disparate systems (Payroll, Benefits, Time and Labor Management, and HR) – essential to successfully achieving ACA compliance.

Of those employers who believe they can access the data to comply with the ACA, many are still not confident that they can accurately compile and report required health care-related information to the Internal Revenue Service, and provide required notices to employees in a timely fashion.

Although ACA compliance necessitates resources, it does not have to drain an employer’s internal talent, systems, and other assets. Organizations facing data integration and/or information-reporting issues can derive positive benefits from engaging a third-party service provider that has a comprehensive ACA solution, which includes certified expertise and a dedicated service component. Regardless of which path an employer takes toward putting in place an effective ACA management solution, the ACA is the law and the ACA compliance clock relentlessly keeps on ticking.

Andraya Carson: Update on Arizona State Unemployment and Payroll Taxes

With the start of a new year comes new requirements to abide by regarding state taxes and payroll “stuff”. Many of our clients have been asking for updates, and so, whether you are an employer or an employee, you should know a few things…..

Withholding Requirements:

  • Register as an employer by filing Form UC-001 (Joint Tax Application). Registration can be completed online here.
  • Employee Withholding Form, A-4
  • Withholding Method = percent of gross pay
  • Supplemental Rate = percent of gross pay

Local Taxes:

None

Arizona State Tax Unemployment Insurance:

Report quarterly wages and contributions by filing Form UC-018 (Unemployment Tax and Wage Report) by last day of month following end of quarter.  Can be completed online here.

Wage base $7,000 for 2014 and 2015
Rates range from 0.03% to 7.79 for 2015%
New employers use 2.0% for 2015
Job Training Tax surcharge – 0.10%, not included in stated rate.

Special Assessment of .50% for 2012.  This will NOT be assessed on wages in 2013.

State Disability Insurance:

None

State Labor Laws:

Minimum Wage – $7.90 per hour effective 1/1/14 and $8.05 per hour effective 1/1/15.
Termination Pay – Fired- pay within seven working days or the end of the next regular pay period, whichever is sooner. Quits- pay by the next regular payday.

New Hire Reporting:

Arizona New Hire Reporting Center
P.O Box 402
Holbrook, MA 02343

888-282-2064
Fax: 888-282-0502
To file online click here

Remit Withholding for Child Support to:

Division of Child Support Enforcement
Department of Economic Security
PO Box 40458
Phoenix, AZ 85067
602-252-4045
Report using this site

Reciprocal States:

None

Andraya Carson: Can Workplace Wellness Programs Fix What Ails Us?

There is always so much discourse about the condition of our country’s healthcare system. Wouldn’t it be refreshing, and perhaps more rewarding, if as Americans, we were to focus as much energy on the state of our wellness?

Some could argue that we are a rather sickly nation. According to a recent report issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, among Americans there is an especially high prevalence of risk factors such as tobacco use, high cholesterol, obesity, and insufficient exercise, which are associated with chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. In fact, 45 percent of Americans, almost half the entire adult population, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Even more frightening, 13 percent of Americans have two of these conditions and three percent are struggling with all three. It’s no wonder our healthcare system is so taxed.On a brighter note, however, these conditions can improve with lifestyle changes. To that end, more and more progressive employers are creating workplace wellness programs that promote, and sometimes even reward, healthier lifestyles.

Corporate wellness programs are nothing new. Traditional programs help employees maintain their health and prevent illness by providing education, fitness regimes and regular health screenings to ensure early detection of problems. Many corporate wellness initiatives even include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help employees cope with personal or emotional issues that may be affecting their work and family lives.

In addition to delivering positive health benefits to employees, wellness programs yield employers significant benefits as well. Successful programs have been proven to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and decrease healthcare costs.

Of course, to be effective wellness programs have to be utilized. Poorly-designed programs can miss their mark if they don’t take into consideration the health needs and interests of the employee population. One Midwestern company, for instance, launched its wellness program by opening a fitness center and implementing a campaign to combat prostate cancer. The gym was a big hit among employees, many of whom already participated in regular exercise, but the prostate screenings were largely ignored. When the company did some after-the-fact analysis, they learned that some 70 percent of their employees were women of childbearing age. They also found that many of their employees were smokers. Obviously, prostate cancer was not a concern for this workforce, but women’s health issues and smoking cessation were.

Conversely, Volkswagen is breaking the mold with a highly-customized wellness initiative designed to take their employees’ performance to the next level. At the company’s new $1 billion assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, newly-hired Volkswagen employees are undergoing on-the-job training in advance of the facility’s production start early next year. As part of their training, assembly line workers are being required to participate in two hours of fitness training each day. The fitness program, which is specifically-designed to help individual workers develop the strength and endurance necessary to meet the physical demands of their particular job, is intended to create “industrial athletes” who are able to grip, lift, bend and push without tiring. (Volkswagen has no intention of instituting a weight threshold for assembly line jobs, but some workers who initially resented Volkswagen’s required fitness training have lost as much as 30 pounds in a matter of weeks.)

Corporate wellness initiatives are usually voluntary, so mandating that employees participate in customized fitness programs so they can better perform their jobs is a provocative concept that could gain traction over time, especially if American’s persistent health issues, such as obesity or high blood pressure, make physical labor difficult or even dangerous. For the time being however, companies are doing well if they can build a wellnessprogram that permeates the corporate culture and genuinely advocates for and promotes employees’ health and wellbeing.

When creating or redesigning a program, employers should try to adopt several best practices: 1.) assess your workforce’s health needs and put them before any personal cause or passion; 2.) consider the whole employee to address all areas of wellness, including physical fitness, disease prevention and detection, and emotional wellbeing; 3.) create a work environment where wellness is pervasive, going beyond the fitness center or health fair to include snacks and drinks available in the vending machines; and 4.) consider incentivizing employees to take advantage of wellness initiatives by holding workout or weight loss contests or offering small give-a-ways for participating in health screenings.

Corporate wellness initiatives cannot fix our healthcare system, but cultivating a more health-conscious culture, not just within one company but throughout our country, could certainly lead Americans to be less reliant on our already over-taxed healthcare system.

Original Post: http://www.gnapartners.com/news/can-workplace-wellness-programs-fix-what-ails-us-11

John Allen, is President and COO of G&A Partners, a Texas-based HR and Administrative Services company that manages human resources, benefits, payroll, accounting and risk management for growing businesses. For more information about the company, visit www.gnapartners.com. Andraya Carson is a business advsisor for G&A Partners and can be reached at acarson@gnapartners.com for a consultation.

Andraya Carson: Labor Department News Releases Update

In the week ending December 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 289,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 294,000 to 295,000. The 4-week moving average was 298,750, a decrease of 750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 299,250 to 299,500.

Official Report Link: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/eta20142262.pdf

Andraya Carson: Think You Can Get Away with Unpaid Overtime? Think Again.

12/09/2014 01:00 PM EST
Thousands of workers employed by contractors engaged in natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania and West Virginia are putting in a fair day’s work but not receiving a fair day’s pay. An ongoing multiyear enforcement initiative conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division offices in Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh from 2012 to 2014 found significant violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act which resulted in employers agreeing to pay $4,498,547 in back wages to 5,310 employees. Wage and Hour Division investigators attribute the labor violations in part to the industry’s structure.
FOR COMPLETE ARTICLE (SOURCE CREDIT): http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20141883.htm
If you have any questions regarding what employees should be paid in overtime wages, or if you have employees that should be exempt from overtime, please contact Andraya (Dray) Carson from G&A Partners for more information. acarson@gnapartners.com

Andraya Carson: Workplace Bullying: A Silent Epidemic

Unfortunately either yourself or someone you know how or will experience workplace bullying. Sometimes this may even occur after someone leaves the job, and by former employees. It is a horrible situation to be in, and from a human resources standpoint, can not be ignored. Read the article below for more information, and contact Andraya Carson with G&A  Partners to see how you can help reduce bullying in the workplace.

Vol. 59   No. 10

With no anti-bullying workplace laws in the U.S., HR shouldn’t ignore the issue.

By Kasi McLaughlin, PHR  9/24/2014 (originally posted)

Bullying is the last form of workplace abuse that is not considered taboo in the United States. Although it is four times as prevalent as some forms of illegal harassment, there is no anti-bullying workplace legislation in the U.S.—unlike in England, Sweden and Australia.

You may wonder whether a concept as nebulous as workplace bullying could possibly be legislated. Won’t employees start filing frivolous complaints against people they don’t like or bosses with lousy management skills? No. In fact, most of the bills that have been proposed to date precisely define an abusive environment and require proof of harm by a mental health professional. They also allow the bully to be sued as an individual while enabling the company to preserve its right to provide at-will employment.

What Is Bullying?

Gary Namie, president of the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), and Ruth Namie, CEO of the campaign, define workplace bullying as the malicious verbal mistreatment of a target that is driven by the bully’s desire to control him or her. Tim Field, author of Bully In Sight: How to Predict, Resist, Challenge and Combat Workplace Bullying (Success Unlimited, 1996), defines it as a continual and relentless attack on other people’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

However it is defined, workplace bullying does not always include yelling, screaming or fits of rage. In fact, it usually takes place on a much quieter scale—in the form of exhibiting unwarranted criticism or intimidation, blaming someone without factual justification, unfairly singling someone out, or spreading rumors.

No matter what form it takes, bullying leaves people feeling powerless and confused. Some may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder years after the bullying occurred. According to the WBI’s 2012 Impact of Workplace Bullying on Individuals’ Health survey report, bullying drove 71 percent of targets to seek treatment from a physician; an alarming 29 percent contemplated suicide.

Who Are the Bullies?

It may not come as a surprise that women are often the victims of workplace bullying—but some people may not realize that the majority of bullies are also female. In fact, according to the results of the 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, 68 percent of reported cases involve women-on-women bullying.

Like bullies at children’s schools, workplace bullies are not all evil sociopaths. Normal, well-adjusted members of society can fall prey to destructive bullying tactics when their authority is questioned. They often bully because they are afraid of seeing their own shortcomings exposed. Often, they feel threatened by the abilities or career ambitions of the people they bully and opt to use them as scapegoats.

Why Is Bullying Prevalent?

The authors of Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace (Civil Society Publishing, 1999) suggest that workplace bullying occurs as often as it does because such behaviors are ignored, tolerated, misunderstood or instigated by the company.

People don’t identify this behavior as workplace harassment, and thus many victims don’t realize that something unethical is happening to them. Since 2003, more than half of the states have introduced legislation that would allow workers to sue for harassment without requiring discrimination based on a protected class status—and yet no such proposals have made it into law.

Finally, victims of bullying often become so worn down that they no longer feel capable of defending themselves. In fact, according to 2007 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey data, only 3 percent of bullied targets file lawsuits and 50 percent never even complain. This explains why more than three-fourths of targets choose to leave the battlefield of abuse and start fresh somewhere else.

How Can HR Help?

There are several things HR can do to help reduce workplace bullying:

Make the business case. Top management will be more likely to listen to you if you present a business case for the bottom-line costs of bullying. These costs generally fall into three categories: the cost of replacing staff; the cost of lost productivity as staff copes with the bullying; and the costs associated with investigations, potential legal action and loss of the company’s reputation.

Create an anti-bullying policy or update your harassment policy. This could be as simple as adding verbiage to your current harassment policy that states that harassment of any individual—not just those in a protected class—will not be tolerated. According to a 2011 survey on workplace bullying by the Society for Human Resource Management, 56 percent of companies have an anti-bullying policy.

Hold awareness training. It is not enough to create a policy. HR professionals must make sure that employees understand the issue and its consequences.

Establish a contact for reporting claims. Employees will feel comfortable reporting incidents only to independent employee advocates. If an employee feels that the person in whom they are confiding may have a relationship with the bully, you will never get the full story.

Promptly address complaints. It is not easy for people to report bullying incidents; it would likely be devastating if nothing is done after they’ve come forward. Employees may leave or, worse, advise other co-workers that their reports were not taken seriously.

Hopefully the law will catch up with the brutal reality of bullying. Until then, HR can help give voice to this silent epidemic by displaying compassion, developing fair policies and showing prompt follow-up.

Kasi McLaughlin, PHR, is a former banking officer and human resources manager with First Fidelity Bank.

– See more at: http://www.shrm.org/publications/hrmagazine/editorialcontent/2014/1014/pages/1014-viewpoint-workplace-bullying.aspx#sthash.4uGN37QA.dpuf

– For complete article: http://www.shrm.org/publications/hrmagazine/editorialcontent/2014/1014/pages/1014-viewpoint-workplace-bullying.aspx