Posts Tagged ‘HR best practice’

Internships: Paid or Unpaid?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

application for employment small

With daydreams about laying by the beach on hot summer days looming in the near future, comes the burning staffing question: are we going to need student interns who are on their summer break and (quite possibly more important) do we have to pay them?

As defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), internships with “for-profit” private companies are most likely viewed as employment (i.e. “suffer or permit to work), thus being considered non-exempt from minimum wage and overtime compensation requirements.  However, there are a few circumstances where internships in “for-profit” private companies may be unpaid.  The Department of Labor applies the following six criteria when determining whether an unpaid internship is legal:

The Health Care Reform – 8 Preparative steps to get ready now – Part 2

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

health care reform

Last week we discussed the first four steps for preparing your dealership for the health care reform. Continue on to learn more about the upcoming changes in health care:


Mindfulness – How to Increase Efficiency, Creativity, and Workplace Harmony

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

mindfulness small

What is mindfulness anyway? Mindfulness has become the antithesis to multitasking; instead of focusing on many things at once, which can cause poor decision making and lead to confusion, stress, and poor communication, mindfulness includes calming and focusing of the mind, often through meditation and breathing practices. A 2003 study, and 6 week implementation of a mindfulness program, showed that 70% of participants took fewer sick days due to depression and anxiety. In the following 3 years following the study, absences for all health conditions were halved.

Mental Health Issues in the Workplace – Accommodating Employees with Mental Health Issues

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

mental health
Mental health issues affect roughly 25% of adults in the U.S., so it’s likely that at some point you will have a dealership employee who suffers from mental illness. However, accommodating mental health can be a delicate matter, as there can be legal implications if you handle the matter out of turn. If you assume an employee has a mental health issue, before it has been disclosed, and treat the individual as disabled, you are breaching the law. So what do you do?

There are a variety of ways to handle mental illness. Firstly, if the illness hasn’t been disclosed, simply document any odd or poor behavior that is violating the company’s workplace violence policy, or if the behavior is affecting performance or operation. Always support your employee, and be certain to ask open-ended questions about how they are. If the employee does disclose mental illness, make sure to follow policy: keep the information as confidential as possible and follow the obligations under ADA policy to accommodate the employee. Most importantly, is the employee looking for accommodation or simply sharing the information? Simply support your employee and their needs- accommodate their schedule and, if they desire it, provide them with any information they may need on an employee assistance program. Communicate with them and encourage them to work with Human Resources as they need to.

Employee Recognition Matters to Your Bottom Line

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

productivity marketing management efficiency profit risingAcademic studies, research by firms such as Gallup and personal experience all confirm the following statements:

There is a direct correlation between effective employee recognition programs and employee engagement.  Engaged employees are critical to long term financial performance

Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage, states: “A decade of research proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31% and accuracy on tasks by 19%.”

Still not convinced employee recognition is all that important? Consider the following conclusion from the Carrot Principle based on surveys done by Health Stream Research and supported by data from Towers and Perrin.

  • Companies that effectively recognize excellence enjoy an ROE (return on equity) three times higher than the return experienced by firms that do not;
  • Companies that effectively recognize excellence enjoy an ROA (return on assets) three times higher than the return experienced by firms that do not;
  • Companies in the highest quartile of recognition of excellence report an operating margin of 6.6 percent, while those in the lowest quartile report 1 percent.

The next time someone asks you if employee recognition programs pay off, don’t hesitate. Your confident answer should be, “Yes!”

Republished with gratitude from Dealer Communications’ “No-Nonsense HR” column by Kathryn Carlson.

How can you effectively use social media to hire and retain employees? Look for Kathryn Carlson’s presentation – AutoCon 2012

Monday, August 6th, 2012
Kathryn Carlson, Product Director for KPA's HR Management System

Kathryn Carlson, Product Director for KPA’s HR Management System will discuss social hiring at AutoCon 2012.

While auto dealerships know that social media is a powerful marketing tool, many don’t realize that it is equally powerful for hiring and retaining quality employees. To use social media effectively, however, employers must avoid many legal pitfalls.

Kathryn Carlson, Product Director for KPA’s HR Management System, will discuss this at AutoCon 2012. Kathryn will cover how you can remain legally compliant while leveraging social media for a better workplace. For example, she’ll discuss how to develop policies that align with National Labor Relations Board regulations.

Kathryn’s AutoCon presentation is on the 7th of September. The title of her presentation is “How to Use Social Media Compliantly and Effectively to Hire and Retain Employees.”

Kathryn’s a featured blogger on Dealer Communications. You can also learn more about her on LinkedIn.

Start Writing Effective Job Descriptions

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Compliance Tip of the MonthA well written job description is a key component in all phases of the employment lifecycle.  Having a job description for each position and providing the job description to applicants and employees will assist you in:
1.    Recruitment, Interviewing and Hiring
2.    Orientation and Training
3.    Performance Management
4.    Disciplinary Action Support
5.    Legal Compliance and Lawsuit Defense

This template is designed specifically for human resources professionals at dealerships to help you write effective job descriptions. It is a free download, and we recommend using it as often as needed. It is available here:

Who Are You Really Hiring?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

If you aren’t doing background checks and drug screens before you hire then you really don’t know who you are hiring.  KPA has found that over 30% of applicants we process through our HR system do not provide complete or accurate information on their application. To make a good hiring decision and to protect yourself in the event of a negligent hiring lawsuit a background check and drug test are a must. I’ll never forget having to testify against a client when I worked for one of the largest background companies in the US. The plaintiff’s attorney asked me if the client could have seen a history of substance abuse and traffic accidents if they had just been willing to spend $60 for a background check. I had to answer yes, the client had access and in fact had ordered background checks and drug tests in the past. Unfortunately a supervisor at the client company shortcut the process and put a person to work without the required background check. The new employee then promptly got drunk on the job and ran a company truck into the back of a car. The HR manager was not aware that the process had not been followed until after the accident had happened.  The settlement reached with the injured parties was over a million dollars.  Lessons learned?

1) Standardize the process for obtaining and reviewing background checks and drug tests.  If possible use software that will automate and force compliance to company policy for not just background checking but for the complete hiring process.

2) Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.  A background check and drug testing will cost in the range of $60 to $75 dollars if you use a third party. A very small investment to make sure you know exactly who you are hiring.

3) Use a third party provider (they have  expertise, and access to data you won’t have ) but select with care.  Understand how they obtain their data. Make sure they provide compliance assistance as there are a  number of regulations at the state and federal level that govern the use of drug testing and background checks in hiring.

4) Never establish a policy that states “we don’t hire anyone with a criminal record”.  In many states this would be considered discrimination.  Each background check must be reviewed against the actual job and factors such as time since the criminal act, age at the time of the act, efforts at rehibiliationa and the serious of the crime must be considered.  Employers can determine that it is not in their best interest to hire a person with a criminal record but must show that the decision was made fairly and without discrimination.  Providing a ranking using specific criteria is where  third party provider can really add value.
For more information on background checking go to  or

Join the conversation: Do you always obtain a background check and drug test on a new hire?

Add Assessment Testing For Better Hiring Results

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

As employers start hiring again two question we are frequently being asked from our HotlinkHR clients is “how can I make sure I hire person who really fits in here, we can’t afford a bad hire?” and “we’ve got the basic hiring process down but want to take it up a notch, what more can we do?”.   The answer to both questions is to add assessment testing to your hiring process.  Using assessment testing will help you understanding a person’s temperament and communication style which in turn will allow you to obtain better information during interviews, assess “culture fit” and provide insights into how the candidate will work with the  current  team.   Here’s a quick overview of the benefits of adding assessment test to your hiring process.

The 100 Best Companies To Work For-Could Your Company Make The List?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Fortune Magazine just published their annual listing of the 100 best companies to work for.  The companies run the gamut from services (law, accounting, consulting) to construction to non-profits to retail to hi-tech.  Healthcare and Professional Services are the most represented industries on the list but there are also three companies in the automotive market -#15 Mercedes-Benz USA#16 JM Family Enterprise and #81 CarMax.  So are you thinking, it’s easy for these big,  publicly traded companies to be a “best place to work” but not so easy for the average company? Think again, your company may not make Fortune’s list next year but you can learn from and implement the best practices that make a company a “best place to work. Why bother?  Being know as a “best place to work” locally, regionally or within an industry makes it easier to attract and retain the best employees, which has a direct positive impact on your company’s bottom line.  Companies on the “Best Companies to Work For” list have consistently outperform major stock indices since 1998. 

 So what makes a company a best place to work?  According to the Great Places to Work Institute to be a great place to work employees “”trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with.”   The trust factor of an employee  is ” related to management’s credibility, job satisfaction, and camaraderie.”    Providing  fair and competitive pay and benefits, have good hiring practices,  open internal communications, abundant training opportunities, meaningful recognition programs and a committment to diversity all create a best place to work.   To learn more about how any company,  big or small,  in any industry can be a best place to work check out the Great Places to Work website at

Join the conversation: What makes a company a best place to work?