Author Archive

Kathryn Carlson

Kathryn Carlson is the Product Director for KPA’s HotlinkHR, an HR management and compliance solution designed for auto dealerships. Kathryn has over 25 years of human resources management experience and is a certified HR professional (SPHR). Prior to joining KPA in 2009, Kathryn was a senior director of product management for ADP. For the past 9 years Kathryn has focused on developing HR software and HR compliance programs to improve efficiency, reduce risk, and ensure compliance for companies ranging from small businesses to international corporations. You can reach Kathryn at [email protected].

Posts by Kathryn Carlson:

Your Employee Personnel File Checklist

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

checklist with pen

Personnel files may seem like a minor aspect of managing your dealership, but properly maintained files not only provide easy access to information when it comes time to  discipline,  promote, or lay off employees, they also protect your dealership in case of an employment lawsuit.

States Disagree with EEOC’s Criminal Background Inquiries Stance

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency responsible for enforcing federal employment discrimination laws, has created guidance concerning criminal background application inquiries. Based on this guidance, some states now disallow hiring companies from inquiring about criminal history in applications. The EEOC’s guidance addressed criminal background inquiries as a form of discrimination; the agency noted that those screened out due to arrest and conviction records were often of a protected class due to the higher statistical rate of certain minority groups that are arrested and incarcerated in comparison to the general population.

Reviewing your Personnel Files

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015


To keep your personnel files up to date, and allow them to be a true asset in the event of a legal dispute at your dealership, it is important to review them annually. An appropriate time to review individual personnel files is during an annual review. Confirm that all files are accurate, up to date, and complete. If handbooks, procedures, or protocol has changed in the past year, make certain that each employee has signed any updated documents or policy acknowledgements related to these new procedures.

Employee Retention – Managing to Keep Your Employees

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

management small

Your dealership employees are a company investment, one that should be protected. Studies found that 83 percent of 900 North American employees polled plan to seek new positions in 2014. While it can be difficult to foster employee engagement, there are solutions that create a positive work environment that drives performance as well as job satisfaction.

It is important to engage both the employee base as well as the senior leadership.  HR employees are encouraged to listen and interact with employees to understand their level of content. One-on-one conversations can gain much greater information than a survey.

Engagement participation from key leaders demonstrates that engagement is important throughout the entire company. The implementation of a task force often creates a strong level of engagement, and also allows the opportunity for every level of the dealership to be represented.

A common desire of many employees is learning and opportunities. Educating your employees is an investment in them, keeping employee skills up to speed and engaged. This creates a positive environment as it promotes employee growth and encourages the employees to advance in the company or have skills to use in other circumstances.

Employee engagement varies from dealership to dealership, but a good thing to keep in mind is that your employees should understand how their performance and behavior makes a contribution. Communicating value and considering employee needs can increase engagement at your dealership, which protects your investment.

Have more questions on employee retention? Contact [email protected].

Think Self-Evaluations Aren’t Important? Think Again.

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

user centric

There are a variety of ways to make your performance reviews more powerful; one of the best ways is to integrate the use of self-evaluations. While self-evaluations should already be part of your human resource management system, some managers don’t take advantage of them. Self-evaluations may seem unimportant at first, but they can positively affect performance and morale at your dealership in many ways. By pairing your performance review with self-evaluations, your dealership can experience the following positive results:

Does being an at-will dealership employer mean you can fire anyone at any time?

Friday, December 26th, 2014


Dealers nationwide have suffered penalties from not following “just cause” when terminating employees. A corner-stone of traditional labor law, just cause has implications that warrant consideration; many dealers feel that they can simply terminate any employee if their business is in an at-will state, but sometimes that’s not true. Just cause is defined as a standard that employers must meet to justify termination.

How Should You be Preparing for Year End?

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

As 2014 comes to a close HR also has year-end responsibilities. The most important year-end preparation revolves around compliance, benefits, and payroll administration. Ensuring that the following list is completed at the end of each year allows you to start off the new year with a clean slate and also allows you to keep track of when these tasks are completed so that you stay up-to-date:

Using Total Rewards as a Recruitment Tool Part 3

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014


Last week, we delved further into the concept of the total rewards toolkit, defining what exactly benefits and work-life mean for prospective and current employees. Through the use of a total rewards program, employees may stay loyal to their dealership longer. A total rewards program also serves as an additional benefit to new employees, making your dealership even more attractive to applicants. Two parts of total rewards remain: Performance and Recognition and Development and Career Opportunities. (more…)

Using Total Rewards as a Recruitment Tool Part 2

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

total rewards

Last week we discussed the value of total rewards for a dealership. Through the implementation of total rewards, prospective and current employees can be attracted, motivated, and retained. We now know that through the use of full compensation packages (a four-part concept), employees are motivated to perform even better. However, compensation is only one small portion of the total rewards toolkit. Also included are benefits, work-life balance, performance and recognition, and development and career opportunities. (more…)

Using Total Rewards as a Recruitment Tool Part 1

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014


For some, a job is just a job, for engaged, productive employees, a job is so much more. Engaged employees are looking for a job that has the whole package- a well-paying, flexible job that includes benefits and work-life balance. It isn’t enough to simply have an open position at your company; you must also offer total rewards. What are total rewards? They are the tools available to employers that can attract, motivate, and retain employees. (more…)