According to the Center for American Progress on the topic of work and family life balance, work-family conflict is much higher in the United States than elsewhere in the developed world. Americans work longer hours than workers in most other developed countries, includingJapan, and the trend is increasing over time. The typical American middle-income family put in an average of 11 more hours a week in 2006 than it did in 1979.  As a culture, we are often taught that poor performers are let go, and we want to keep our jobs by working harder. We also value money over many other things, and in most cases, the more we work, the more we get paid.

Not only do American families work longer hours; they do so with fewer laws to support working families. Among the 30 industrialized democracies in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, theUnited States is the only country that lacks paid maternity-leave laws.

All laws aside, as an employer, the impact of too much work can be devastating to your employees’ well being and company’s productivity. More work leads to more stress and a lower quality of life, and stress is the #1 cause of health problems in the United States– mentally and physically. Overworked employees are far more likely to exhibit anxiety, make errors on the job, and experience indignant feelings toward their employers for expecting them to work so hard. We understand that in a culture often measured by productivity and performance, you may not be able to afford to give your employees more vacation time or paid time off, so where is the happy medium? 

As a start, here are 8 policies that focus on employee well being by helping them feel less overwhelmed.  Reduced stress leads to increased productivity which in turn enables employees to lessen the time required to meet project deadlines.

  • Insist employees use up their vacation time. Do not reward the employee who only takes off one day a year. Taking time off work enables employees to balance their life and come back to work well rested and energized. 
  • Establish clear goals with realistic deadlines to increase efficiency. If the deadline is Friday afternoon, an employee can meet their deadline and head home guilt-free for the weekend.
  • Offer time-management training
  • Train employees on various tools and/or IT equipment. A simple typing class may enable an employee to work much more efficiently.
  • Encourage employees to make lists, get organized and track their progress.  
  • Always supply employees with what is necessary for them to finish the job, in a timely manner.
  • Encourage non-interrupt time frames throughout the day or week so employees can better focus on their duties and deadlines.
  • Allow flexible working hours and working from home opportunities when appropriate.

For more HR Management Best Practices, call the HR professionals at HR Shield, (813) 251-3181.

As the “Occupy Wall Street” protests occur in cities across the entire country, employers and employees have more to worry about than the unpleasant crowding of their sidewalks.

Employees who participate, may risk losing their jobs, and for employers, political activities in the workplace often prove to be disruptive and counterproductive. As an employer, you never want to silence your employees or discourage opinionated conversation, but if someone fails to do their job because of a focus on political issues, you may have the right to enforce disciplinary action within the workplace.

Here are some recommendations for both employees and employers, as disruption in the workplace affects everyone…

Share the Code of Conduct: It is a good management practice to let everyone within the working environment know what types of political activities are permitted (and not permitted) in the workplace by sharing an established code of conduct. If you are an employee who would like to participate in a protest of any kind, it is advised you first review this document. A code of conduct should contain important information relevant to the appropriate use of company facilities, email communication, distribution of materials and even off-site involvement in different protests.

Rely on the Law: Whether you are a business owner, HR Professional, or employee, know your state’s law. Some states protect employees from being fired for lawful or off-duty activities, but then again, many states don’t. If an employer doing business in a state without such laws feels that an employee’s conduct is inappropriate, disruptive, or destroying the company’s culture, the employer may be able to legally fire them. However, the employer may face limitations on their power to restrict employees’ political activities through a state’s public policy exception. Know the law before taking any action whatsoever.

Consult an HR Expert: As an employee, consult your organization’s Human Resources professional. While they may not necessarily support your decision to join political activities or protests, they may be able to help you sort through any gray areas, and help you to better understand your organization’s code of conduct. 

As an employer, even if there is no state law prohibiting you from taking action against an employee for participating in political activity, consult an HR Expert for a second opinion first. Everything needs to be properly executed and documented, for example, tying political actions to a negative effect on the workplace or some specific area of business. While you may be obeying the law, actions of this type may fail to reflect positively amongst your organization. It may further upset other employees, or even cause a public relations nightmare.

Contact HR Shield for a valued second opinion. Our team of HR Professionals are experts at managing employees and maintaining HR compliance.

Need some tips for writing a great online job board advertisement? Before you begin writing your company’s recruitment advertisement, first consider how much money is available for recruitment and the timeframe in which the position needs to be filled. Based on this information, you then can determine the most appropriate media and availability with regards to cost and deadlines. Online job board advertisements allow more room for copy, contrary to print advertising which typically charges advertisers for each and every line of copy.

If you plan on placing more than one ad, or will have several openings, developing a brand and consistency in the ads will deliver a good impression to the candidates. Logos, pictures and colors generate greater interest. You want to draw people to your ad and sometimes by simply bolding the position title, more people will be attracted.recruitment

Here is a recommended outline with tips for online recruitment advertising:

  1. Title of position:  Be sure the title is clear and concise. If your job title differs than the norm, perhaps consider using an alternate job title that clearly explains the role. Often online recruitment ads will only list the job title; make sure yours stands out amongst the other listings.
  2. Job Summary:  Online job boards will show a brief job summary, generally the title and one or two sentences, from which interested applicants can click through to see the full posting . This job summary is the most important part of your ad. If it doesn’t grab attention and compel the reader to click through to your full ad, then you could be missing out on some great candidates. Your job title should be clear, and the first couple sentences of your posting should grab the reader’s attention.
  3. Company:  What does your company do, where it is located, what industry are you in? Make the overview compelling.
  4. The Job Description:  Include main functions of the role, key skills, previous experience desired, relevant qualifications, and bullet point the position's key tasks.
  5. Core Competencies:  Which personal attributes are required to be effective in the role i.e. innovation, motivation, organization.  Describe what the successful candidate will be like. Talk about team fit and the culture of your organization.
  6. Prospects & Job Benefits:  What does your company have to offer? Is there career progression, privileges, benefits, vacation time, etc?
  7. Contact:  Recruiter’s name, phone number and email address – Make sure they know what times you’re available too!
  8. Specific Requirements :  If you have specific requirements such as salary restraints, minimum education or experience, be sure and list these clearly in your ad copy.

For specific questions or concerns about hiring (or terminating), contact HR Shield.

Many companies focus on community engagement and corporate service programs for specific societal issues, whether that be education, health, culture, environment or poverty. Utilizing your own company’s resources and talent can be a great way to give back to the society that you live, work and play in. Giving back as a company requires direct action and collaboration and can be great for team building and instilling value, pride, social responsibility, leadership and empowerment in your employees.

HR Professionals and HR Departments are often responsible for organizing such efforts, especially if a company is not large enough to have its own designated community outreach coordinator. The fastest way to decide which organizations or causes you want to support, is to ask your employees. Find out what they’re passionate about, what they participate in outside of work, or what they’ve been personally touched by. Whether you have one or several groups in mind, there are many ways to give back this holiday season that are cost-effective for your organization and can get every employee involved. See the following for ideas!corporate giving

Gifts for Families or Organizations in Need: Host an internal company gift drive for those in need. If each employee brings in something small, and you have multiple employees involved, you can touch a number of lives this holiday season. Team building activities can involve organizing, wrapping, and even hand delivering the gifts. Designate certain employees for leadership roles and if you have a lot of employees, consider making teams with different responsibilities.

Holiday Packages for Soldiers: Many soldiers are away from their homes and families this holiday season. Giving back can extend far beyond your immediate surroundings. Host a holiday-package making party for soldiers in your place of employment. This can be easily accomplished by putting different employees in charge of different things such as supplies, donations, card making, and more.

Stomp out Hunger: Many companies host internal food drives, which is a great way to collect a lot of food for those in need. If your company has the resources, or enough time, consider hosting an actual lunch or dinner for the hungry. Designate certain employees for leadership roles such as collecting the food and donations, organizing the event day, inviting people in need, and even cooking. It’s a great way for everyone to work together towards one rewarding day, and interact directly with your community.

Speaking Engagements: Does your company have valuable information and expertise you could be sharing with the community? Perhaps speaking to high school students about the importance of college? What about speaking to the unemployed about resume building? Sharing your best financial practices? Sometimes help doesn’t need to be an actual item or monetary gift, it can be as simple as delivering knowledge that helps people in your community move forward with their lives.

Fundraising: Have a cause you’d like to support, but not enough time or employees to directly engage with the organization? Monetary gifts are ALWAYS greatly appreciated and allow organizations or people in need to purchase the things they need most. Instead of asking each employee to directly contribute, create a fundraising plan, in which employees can collect donations and raise funds. Making teams creates fun internal competition and can increase the amount of funds your company is able to collect. If you have multiple locations or offices, consider having them compete against one another.

Service Hours: Many organizations within your community are in need of service hours and volunteers. Taking a day off from work to volunteer as a company is a great experience, and allows your employees to work on Team Building activities, interact outside of the office, get to know one another, and have fun.

For more corporate holiday giving ideas, contact HR Shield. Our team will gladly provide feedback for those looking to make a difference in their community this holiday season!

According to an article in the New York Times and other recent media coverage, reviews of job vacancy postings on popular sites like, and have revealed hundreds of instances where employers would only consider (or at least “strongly prefer”) applicants who are employed or just recently laid off.

Does your company reject the unemployed simply because they are unemployed? If you do, be careful. You’re walking a thin line between what’s considered a fair recruitment practice and what’s considered discrimination, and your job posting could result in a complaint from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

When looking for a potential candidate, you do not want to make reference to whether or not the applicant is unemployed. This could be considered discrimination against the unemployed, and while not yet illegal, it could create a number of problems for your organization.

So, what’s the difference between “unemployed” and “unemployable?” In some cases, the long-term unemployed person may be someone who was a poor performer in their previous position and was amongst the first group to be terminated. In other instances, with the economy the way it is, the unemployed person may be a hard working individual with great work ethic, but was laid off for no other reason than the steady decline of demand within their industry.

As an employer, a best practice is to be clear about your vacant job’s duties and responsibilities, and to conduct thorough interviews that will assess the candidate’s skills and competencies for those job requirements. You can inquire about previous employment and periods of unemployment, but only when appropriate. The person sitting in front of you may be a very capable candidate for your company, regardless of how long they have been out of work.  A thorough screening process will assess the candidate’s knowledge, skills and abilities that are relevant to the position; regardless of whether or not that person is or has been unemployed, and will help you find the best qualified candidate.

When advertising a vacant position, be careful to avoid other types of discrimination as well. You cannot state number of years experience wanted, ethnicity preferred, age, union, non-union, gender, disability; it is illegal to discriminate against anyone on the basis of personal characteristics. If possible, have an HR professional review and approve the ad copy prior to placement.