Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Anniversaries Matter. Jobs Matter More.

Today I was at the gym puffing away on the elliptical and the gal on the next machine just starts talking to me about the calorie count of the items being displayed on The Food Network. Side note and totally unrelated to HR, I don't know if it helps or hurts to watch people making decadent food while one works out, but it does provide some cooking ideas for later, or better yet, a reminder for why one might be at the gym in the first place.

Anyhow, from the food comment my new gym friend dove into her work history and claimed that she was fired from her job two days before her 20th anniversary. Employers and HR people - please take note that some people, especially of a certain age (over 55) and those who have spent their lives working for one employer for decades, PAY ATTENTION to this stuff - and so should you. I don't know why she was fired, but my guess is that it had a lot to do with the economy and maybe she was an easy target. She's now suing and has lots of anger. Hence, she was going 50mph on her machine.

What's my point?

Well, it's tough out there for the job-less. Obama just took this subject to the Rose Garden yesterday with three unemployed workers at his side. People have been out of work A LONG TIME. I think that many long term workers fell prey to lay offs and terminations because they were expensive because they were at the top of their pay ranges. Perhaps the employers used the economy to get rid of employees that that they didn't like as well or low performers. Perhaps who knows? Now these people are out there trying to find work and running into brick walls.

This gal even said that she would be fine with being fired, but WHY didn't they do it 10 years ago when she was 10 years younger and hadn't spent her entire career doing something that now she says she doesn't want to do anymore. She is now at 55 looking for a new career path. She has to start over.

I don't want to make excuses for her in regards to why she didn't update her skills or get more education in other things. I think that most likely she, like others of the Boomer generation, thought that perhaps their employer would be honest, take care of her, and respect the time that she put in just like her parent's generation. Is that too much to ask?

Whereas I come at it from a Gen X perspective. I tend to work for places about five years before moving on. But even within those five-year stints, I've had three to four different careers. My skills change all the time. When they said on the news last night that the full retirement age was increasing for Social Security, I wasn't surprised. I've been working under the assumption that by the time I get to retire, there won't be any money at all.

Now back to my gym friend though for a second. The part that really bugs me about her story is the fact that if it's true, that her employer let her go two days before her 20 year anniversary, in my opinion, those who did the firing are schmucks. To me that's a completely disrespectful and crappy thing to do. I don't want people to get the idea that I believe in entitlement, but I do believe in employer - employee mutual respect. If there was a problem before that point, the employer should have addressed it. If not and she was just a target for the layoff, it's simply a mean thing to do. By the time people reach that amount of tenure with a company, it becomes, in some cases, the longest relationship that they have ever had. When that tie is severed so abruptly, it's not only like a really bad breakup, but one's day to day purpose has been taken away and also one's income. Beyond that, it just sucks.

So I want to simply leave you with this thought. Employer / Employee relations go both ways. If you want respect, you have to be respectful. If you want loyal employees, be loyal to them. If you want employees who feel good about working for you and telling others that same thing, be good to your employees.

Bottom-line: Don't be schmucks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

E-Verify Information for Employers

Now is the ideal time to ensure that employers and employees understand the E-Verify and the federal employment eligibility verification processes. E-Verify is a fast, free, and easy to use internet-based system run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that allows employers to verify the eligibility of their newly hired employees to legally work in the United States.

All United States employers are already required to complete and retain a Form I-9 - the “Employment Eligibility Verification” form - for each person they hire in the United States. That includes citizens and non-citizens.

E-Verify takes the Form I-9 process one step further. It compares information provided on a Form I-9 against information in government records. In most cases, E-Verify tells the employer in just seconds if an employee is eligible to work in the United States. E-Verify isn’t a database, but simply a secure way for employers to check new employee’s employment eligibility information against existing records in the Social Security Administration, DHS and the State Department – depending upon which form of identification the employee presents, and the employee’s citizenship or immigration status.

To use E-Verify, an employer must first enroll online at www.dhs.gov/E-Verify. Employers complete a basic registration application, then must take a tutorial, and pass a test before being granted access to use the system. Once enrolled, there are also rules that must be followed. For example, E-Verify cannot be used by employers in a discriminatory way, such as only checking some employees but not others. Employers may not use E-Verify to prescreen job applicants. Also, employers may not take any adverse action, against an employee, including firing or delaying the employee’s start date, who is in the process of resolving an initial mismatch.

DHS conducts free, live webinars about E-Verify that can be attended without ever leaving the office. The 90-minute webinars include a demonstration of E-Verify and an opportunity to ask questions. By the end of the webinar, employers will have a good understanding of E-Verify. DHS also offers Form I-9 webinars.

E-Verify is currently used by more than 208,000 employers at more than 760,000 worksites. E-Verify is growing rapidly, with more than 1,200 new businesses enrolling each week. For most employers, using E-Verify is voluntary and limited to verifying new employees only. Since September 2009, E-Verify is mandatory for many federal contractors.

Visit the E-Verify website for more information about E-Verify.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Thoughts on the 2010 SHRM Annual Conference

There is no shortage of blog posts out there to summarize what various HR and recruiting folks experienced at the #SHRM10 conference in San Diego. Here are some highlights from some people I've met, follow and keep up with via social media, which is not the devil by the way. Enjoy!

Here's a good interview featuring our friend Steven Rothberg of CollegeRecruiter.com regarding mobile devices and social media with host Anne Meyer of Adecco TV.

My previous posts about the 2010 SHRM Annual Conference - Keeping up with the SHRM Conference and SHRM Annual Conference Starts Tomorrow. Check them out for other suggestions of where to find thoughts about this year's conference.