Halloween festivities in the office are certainly fun for employees and can help promote a more social working environment. But, Halloween at the office brings forth a list of challenges for the employer. Although Halloween is meant to be festive, employers must be prepared in the event that an employee uses poor judgment or something is misinterpreted (or correctly interpreted) as harassment.

Allowing costumes or festivities at work is certainly tricky. Employers can be held liable for something as small as an employee tripping over a costume part. With some employers permitting after hours Halloween parties on work premises, the exposures to liability increases, especially if alcohol is permitted.

All compensable injuries aside though, the most common issues lie with permitting Halloween costumes in the office. There is potential for a harassment claim in the workplace if an employee is offended or comments are made that originate from a costume choice. Many costumes carry political, social, sexual or religious messages that are inappropriate for employee/employer interaction.

Inappropriate costumes can quickly be seen as creating a hostile work environment and lead to litigation. If your workplace is going to plan a Halloween Party, and has considered the potential risks, make sure you’ve covered your bases when it comes to policies. Here are some helpful tips:

Review the Past: If this is not your first workplace Halloween celebration, review the past. Were there any complaints? Did everything go according to plan? How can you make things better for both the employer and the employee this year?

Create a set of Costume Guidelines:  Guidelines issued to employees should alert them that failure to follow the established guidelines will result in discipline. Employees will still be at work, and it’s important to remind them of your professional culture prior to the celebration. Potential clients or customers could also be interacting with them, not just fellow employees. Make sure every employee knows that their costume choice and behavior also represent the company. Provocative costumes and anything that could be misinterpreted as offensive, is not a good choice. If they’re questioning their decision to wear a certain costume, chances are it is not a good choice. Guidelines should also eliminate costumes or props that pose potential safety hazards.

Lead by Example:  Executives and management serve as role models and set examples for employees. Assume the same rules and guidelines you have set for your employees.

Offer Alternative Ways to Celebrate:  Your employees may be just as thrilled with a great luncheon or an early dismissal for the day, to trick or treat with their families or celebrate on their own terms.

React:  If an employee shows up to work in a revealing costume, ask them to go home and change. If you foresee any problems, prevent them. Just because there is a celebration, it does not mean that your company’s policies have changed.

For more HR tips, contact HR Shield.

They’re professional, they’re proactive, they’re profitable… and then, they leave! Why is it that good employees seek out more? As an HR professional, or a manager, you need to ensure your best employees stay within your organization. Knowledge is the key to success, and knowing why good employees leave can prevent costly departures in the future.

Does your company conduct exit interviews with departing employees? If not, you need to start today. The exit interview is one of the simplest methods of gathering information and can better help you determine the underlying causes for an employee’s departure. Also, the exit interview helps build statistical information for an organization, so moving forward you can prevent making the same mistakes twice! Make sure that exit interviews are conducted by a neutral party, such as an HR Manager. If the reason for departure is conflict or poor management, the employee is more likely to share their frustrations with someone other than the direct person who is causing them discontent.

While employees may leave for a variety of reasons, we’d like to review the most common, so you can better prevent the curse of unhappy employees.  Employers often make the mistake of assuming that the best way to retain employees is with bigger paychecks. While money plays a big role in a person’s decision to stay within an organization, it’s not the only thing that keeps them happy.

Money: An employer is responsible for evaluating an employee’s salary on a regular basis to stay competitive. Are you paying your employee fairly in today’s market? If so, and the employee decides to evaluate their options, chances are they will not make more in a position elsewhere. If they are truly happy, the small difference in pay may not be worth the hassle of relocating. What is their workload like? If your employee is overworked or too challenged, their salary may no longer be competitive when it is broken down into the number of hours they are committing to your organization each week. If they can work less elsewhere, for the same salary, grasses may be greener on the other side.

Conflict: Conflict is not uncommon in the workplace. Behavioral or personality differences amongst co-workers and mangers can often turn into unhealthy environments, where your employees are not comfortable working each day. This can be addressed with anonymous surveys if you are a large organization, private one-on-one HR meetings, or even training on how to adapt to different behavior styles. If you are a small organization, we understand that addressing conflict can be awkward, but it’s important. Welcome opinions and feedback, and routinely check in with your employees on a personal level, to make sure there are no frustrations or concerns.

Poor Management: Many managers become managers because they’ve been promoted after doing well at their first job, but that does not mean they are good at understanding and managing others. A manager’s attitude speaks volumes, and a better attitude and understanding of his or her employees can create a more upbeat atmosphere. Again, welcome feedback; interview your best employees to learn their likes and dislikes of the manager/employee relationship. Ask them what they’d like to see done differently. Ask them for a wish list.

While these are just some of the reasons employees may be unhappy, a handful of HR management best practices can go a long way in bettering your working environment, and preventing employee unhappiness. For questions or concerns about current employee situations, there’s a team of HR professionals that are just one phone call away, and can provide a second opinion and support should you need it: HR Shield.

In many organizations, human resources professionals are known for processing information, whether that be handling an organizations’ job applications, interview forms, benefits enrollment packages, new hire data,  company policies, or even social calendars and event administration.

But, great human resources professionals within an organization add tremendous value to the organization and its employees. They are capable of transforming organizations for the better when they are able to focus on outcomes and results that champion organization competitiveness.

Outsourcing human resources services can be expensive, and sometimes with a skilled staff on hand, it’s not necessary. But regardless of company size, responsibilities, and years of experience, every HR professional will need support at some point in time. The value of a simple support system, or even just a second opinion from a valued HR partner, can ensure that HR administration remains streamlined.

The value of human resources support includes, but is not limited to:

  • Email & phone support from HR professionals
  • 24/7 access to forms you may not have on hand at the office
  • Handbook reviews
  • Support with new employee interviews, performance reviews and exit interviews
  • Unemployment Claims support
  • Video seminars
  • Onsite seminars
  • Background checks
  • Drug Testing
  • Training tools

While outsourcing specialized HR services may be expensive, utilizing HR support is not, and can be as low as $0.14 per employee per day. The goal is to compliment the talent you currently have on hand, and gain access to HR management best practices. Expert HR advice can quickly prove itself necessary if your organization is ever faced with a costly lawsuit. Even quick and simple reassurances while selecting the best hiring option or contract for a new employee can save you money in the long run.

With a valued team of HR support on board, there’s no guessing and there’s no time wasted trying to navigate through the increasingly complex landscape of HR administration. Help is just a phone call away.

Who says human resources administration has to be overwhelming?  Let’s sit back, relax, and talk HR. Welcome to the blog of HR Shield.

reliable human resources solutions

HR Shield is a service provided by FIRM Consulting Group, giving businesses owners immediate access to licensed HR professionals. We mentor, advise, give insight, and provide experience based support regarding human resource related issues.

As a business owner, you need to invest every ounce of physical, mental and emotional energy you have into staying ahead of the competition and growing your bottom line. Even with an HR Manager on staff, human resources administration can cripple an organization. The expert team at HR Shield provides the perfect alternative to outsourced HR services.

Whether you’re a valued customer of HR Shield, or just a curious reader, we invite you to join us each week, as we talk about hiring, firing, workplace safety, compliance, employee training, discrimination, turnovers, interviewing tips and more—everything a small business and HR professional needs to know about!

Need help with specific employee situations? Looking for someone to manage unemployment claims or mediation hearings? When you need one-on-one support, a quick call to our team of licensed experts is all it takes. Visit our new Web site at www.HR-Shield.com or call 813-251-3181 for more information.