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Resources
 
Making Every Hire Count: Maximizing Your Human Capital Investment
Quality of Hire Begins With Sourcing: Pick Your Method to Suit Your Needs
Getting a grip on mission-critical "soft" skills: 5 simple steps
Forget Doing "More with Less" Older Workers Help Companies Accomplish "More with More"
For Expanding Your Value-Added Services Profitably, Hiring Is Rocket Science
Assessing job candidates beyond the technical skills
Employer Branding: The solution to attracting & keeping great staff
Successioning Your Business: Five Simple Steps that Aren't Exactly Easy
The 20-60-20 Rule: Simple Concept, Practical Applications, Profitable Results
Universal Employment Concerns: Creating Opportunity Out of Adversity
Hanging Flexible in Tough Times
Value-Driven Outsourcing
Downsizing: Don't Retreat - Motivate!
Navigating Today's Hiring Minefield: Who Is Available & Do You Really Want Them?
Today's Financial Storm Inspires Tomorrow's Long-Term Success
The case for HR: Why & how you should implement formal policies & procedures
Staffing for success in a soft market
The Challenge of Hiring Sales People
Workforce Optimization
Evolving Your Company into a Service-Oriented Business
Redefining Sales
Staffing for the Future of Print
Communicating With Employees From Start To Finish
Eight Steps to Prepare You for the Retirement Brain Drain
Job Hopping for the Right Reasons
Resumés are just the Tip of the Iceberg
How Some Hires Fail
Hire Like You Mean It
Concluding Your Hiring Workflow: Closing the Deal
A Hiring "To Do" List
Challenging Employee Excellence to Achieve Company Pre-eminence
Aim for the Top: Getting Value for Compensation Dollars
The Productivity Challenge
The Dynamics of Telephone Interviews
How People Enable "Enablers"
The People Side of Succession Planning
Tips for Effective Interviewing
Corporate Culture: What It Is, Who It's for, Why It Matters
What's In a Name?
Investment in Regulatory Managers is Money Well Returned
Flexibility in HR Management Reaps Rewards
People Drive Technology
Return on Experience
The Credible Resume
Leadership Delivers
Managing Employee Skills & Knowledge
Managing Employee Success
Profit by being a good employer
Achieve Employee Excellence with Effective Job Descriptions
Maximize your Human Capital Investment
Demystifying Job Descriptions
Benefits of Outsourcing
Surviving The Management Paradigm Shift
Invest in the Best


Insights

The case for HR: Why & how you should implement formal policies & procedures

What's in it for me?

In today’s highly complex business climate, printers need to work hard to distinguish their competitive advantage. Technology, of course, provides you with a tremendous advantage because it delivers the robust tools of your business. But, as we have pointed out before, technology cannot deliver the dynamic business solutions your customers value unless it is expertly driven by people. So in effect the most important differentiator of your business from the competition is the people who work for you.

Thus PrintLink advocates that you adopt a formalized strategy to look after your all-important human resources. The evidence we see in the marketplace is that companies who do so are more responsive, resilient, respected … and rewarded. Among the direct practical benefits it yields are:

  1. Demonstrating your company is a desirable employer, committed to nondiscriminatory hiring & employment practices & a positive, ethical work environment
  2. Strengthening your company’s legal position & protecting it from liability and unfair judgments when employee relationships turn sour
  3. Setting & managing staff’s expectations & reducing misunderstandings over performance, promotion, & compensation
  4. Simplifying hiring
  5. Assisting with orientation of new employees
  6. Promoting fair & consistent management practices
  7. Creating efficient procedures & records & minimizing repetitive administrative chores
  8. Improving staff’s productivity & morale
What should HR policies & procedures cover?

Below is PrintLink’s checklist of minimum specific elements that HR policies & procedures should address:
  1. Strategic human-capital needs assessment
  2. Job descriptions including skills identification
  3. Seniority level & salary range for each position
  4. Protocol for internal job postings & candidate selection criteria
  5. Candidate recruitment strategy
  6. Candidate selection process
  7. Candidate interview plan
  8. Plan for each job offer, including a suitable letter or contract
  9. Employee manual
  10. Employee files
  11. Training & professional-development policy & a training matrix. (A training matrix specifies the required content and frequency of training for various staff positions, usually in table form.)
  12. New employee orientation
  13. Formal performance review infrastructure & schedule
  14. Employee communications about company standing
  15. Health, safety, & environmental practices
  16. Disciplinary & termination procedure
HR Resources specifically for the printing industry

While methods to achieve many items on the above list are self-evident, implementing others will prove more onerous. But you needn’t tackle such complexities alone. Further information on many best HR practices can be found in PrintLink’s previous articles for WhatTheyThink.com (conveniently archived at both http://members.whattheythink.com/home/expertrow.cfm and our company’s own web site at http://www.printlink.com/resources_main.html.) PIA/GATF also provides various types of human-resources assistance to its members here, and a Web search will uncover many more resources. Your company’s insurance company, accounting firm, or lawyer may also be able to give you assistance or referrals.

Staff record-keeping essentials

Below we offer detailed overviews of two critical record-keeping aspects of best HR practices: the employee manual and employee files.

Employee manual

An employee manual or handbook is usually given to an employee on or before his or her start date. As a frequent third party to companies’ job offers, we’ve seen some beautiful examples of employee manuals that, besides serving basic informational purposes, help the company make a superb first impression on new staff members. Minimally, employee manuals contain information on company policies. The following is PrintLink’s basic checklist of things a typical employee manual should include:
  1. A welcome statement that may include a brief overview of the company, its history, mission statement, goals & objectives
  2. Code of conduct & dress, including dress requirements related to safety
  3. Policies regarding vacations, statutory holidays, sick days, leaves, & pay schedule
  4. Information on benefit plans & options & their start dates. (If these plans are detailed in separate manuals, the employee manual merely provides a brief reference & overview.)
  5. Policies for workplace conduct & disciplinary actions. (This section can deal explicitly with such matters as sexual harassment, alcohol & drug use, attendance, & grounds for dismissal.)
  6. Rules concerning mail & usage of telephone, company equipment, Internet & e-mail.
  7. Guidelines for staff performance reviews, including their frequency
  8. The recipient’s specific job description. (Alternatively it could be part of the recipient’s job offer letter or contract.)
  9. Confidentiality & non-disclosure requirements may be included in an employee manual. However, they are more often stated in separate documents that accompany an offer letter & constitute part of the employment contract. On the other hand, the employee manual is intended to be purely informational.
New employees are usually required to sign a form stating they have read, understood, and accept the terms of the employee handbook. Their failure to do so within a specified time period may be penalized by job termination.

The frequency, nature, and distribution of revisions to an employee handbook vary from company to company. For instance, while most companies still present full printed copies to new hires, some companies distribute further updates via their internal Intranet system. The system advises staff to print their own revised portions of the manual, then subsequently notifies management after they have complied.

Employee Files

Files for each employee contain essential records from the employee’s initial job application and date of hire through the entire duration of employment--and in rare cases even beyond. The entire contents of such files are strictly confidential, and this confidentiality should be protected at all times. The contents should only be released very selectively to those with formal authorization to review all or specific portions of it. The confidentiality requirement is often extended to employees who no longer work for the company, so that many companies follow a policy of not releasing information in an employee’s file to people who contact them for professional references.

The following is PrintLink’s basic checklist of things that typical employee files should include:
  1. Home address, personal phone number(s), & personal e-mail address(es)
  2. Date of birth
  3. Names of family members
  4. Whom to contact in emergencies (personal or medical)
  5. Details of any existing medical conditions
  6. Resume. (Some companies also have a standard application form they ask all employees to complete.)
  7. Signed job offer
  8. Signed confidentiality agreement
  9. Signed acceptance of the terms of the company’s employee manual
  10. Copies of any additional documentation required as a condition of employment (e.g., criminal record or credit checks)
  11. Payroll details
  12. Information & forms concerning the employee’s benefits subscription
  13. Record of any company property supplied to the employee to be returned on termination
  14. Any other new-hire paperwork
  15. Holiday schedule & attendance records
  16. Job descriptions(s) & employment history with the company
  17. Records of performance reviews
  18. Track record of salary increases or bonuses
  19. Training & education completed
  20. Documentation of disciplinary action (either verbal or written)
  21. Commendations & awards
  22. Workers Compensation or accident records
  23. Union documentation, if required
  24. Information concerning the employee’s departure from the company (e.g., reasons why the worker left or was fired, record of exit interview, unemployment documents, insurance continuation forms, details of severance package.)
Be sure each employee file is kept complete and up to date. As legal implications are frequently attached to this record-keeping aspect of personnel management, we also suggest that you confirm the appropriateness of the contents of your employee files with your company lawyer.

We trust the above checklists will help you implement or streamline an effective HR practice in your own organization. Ultimately, its many rewards will benefit not just your employees - but also your customers and your company.

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