Columbia EDP Blog

News From Columbia EDP

Posted: 2020-02-19

Terminating a Well-Liked Employee

Eight years ago you hired an extremely talented, energetic individual who quickly became a source of enthusiasm and expertise in your workplace. A friend to everyone, this star employee excelled in their work, acing every performance review. Until recently. 
About six months ago, this individual developed a snooty attitude with management. Regular absences and tardiness soon followed. Projects weren’t completed when they needed to be. Those that got done were usually done poorly. You put the employee on a progressive discipline plan in accordance with your policy, hoping to see a return to their longtime stellar performance, but the employee showed no interest in improving.

It may be time to terminate employment, but because this employee is so well liked by their coworkers, you need to be prepared for the ramifications of letting them go.

Posted: 2020-02-17

5 Things HR Can Do To Keep Employees From Quitting

Posted: 2020-02-14

Do You Know if Your Employee Handbook is Up-To-Date?

You have an employee handbook, don’t you? If you don’t, it’s time to create one. Even if you only have two or three employees.

Posted: 2020-02-12

Still relying on an old-style punch system?

Are you still using a traditional card punch time clock? Researching the best way to upgrade? This post is for you.

Types of Physical Time Clocks

First, let’s discuss your options. There are a variety of time clocks for measuring employee time.

  • Card swipe
  • Proximity card
  • Biometric
  • PIN code entry

These types of clocks can integrate with SwipeClock TimeWorksPlus.

SwipeClock is one of the few workforce management companies with integrated clocks and timekeeping software. Give us a call and we can explain why this is so important.

Card Swipe Time Clocks

Card swipe clocks use magnetic cards, like a credit card. Swipe card clocks are affordable. They are more secure than traditional punch clocks.

Proximity Card Clocks

With a proximity time clock, each employee is issued a card or key fob. You can combine an employee ID card with the prox clock card.

In a large building, you can place several clocks throughout the various departments. Then centrally manage the data.

With a proximity card, employees don’t have to touch the clock. This can expedite shift changes.

The cons? Proximity cards can be damaged or lost. When that happens, you can deactivate the card and order a replacement. Some allow for PIN entry in the case of a lost card.

PIN or Key Code Time Clock

With a PIN or Key Code, the staff member punches in a code. It works like a debit card PIN to identify the user. Many small businesses use key code systems for shift clocking.

If associates forget their PIN, you need to consider the headache to re-assign them. 

For the time clocks mentioned thus far, remember this: Employees can buddy punch by sharing their system pass codes, swipe cards, or fobs.

If you are paying too much for labor because of time theft, we have a solution for you.

Biometric Time Clocks

A biometric time clock uses a biological identifier or behavior to verify the s. These include fingerprints, palm-prints, iris scans, facial recognition, and voice recognition.

Biometric clocks can integrate with timekeeping software. Our biometric clock TimeWorksTouch, integrates with TimeWorksPlus. It transforms the way you track employee time and attendance.

For example, it is ’employee-aware.’ This means it uses the employee’s current state. Each worker is only presented logical options when they clock in or out.

TimeWorksTouch used with TimeWorksPlus is the best timekeeping system for SMBs. Its lineup of tools is more extensive than any other solution:

  • Schedule enforcement
  • Meals/breaks tracking
  • Job codes
  • Overtime alerts
  • PTO tracking
  • Time off requests
  • Employee self-service
  • Online time cards
  • GPS (in the mobile companion app)

With TimeWorksTouch, team members can’t cover for each other when an employee is late or absent. There is no time clock that is as effective at preventing employee time theft.

Schedule your customized demo today.  
Contact us

Posted: 2020-02-10

Why You Should Care About Your Employer Brand

Lots of HR leaders today are talking about the importance of using marketing techniques to build an effective employer brand. The topic was a focus in several sessions at the latest annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference. 

Posted: 2020-02-07

The Ins and Outs of Conducting Background Checks

Have you considered conducting background checks as part of your hiring process? The practice is fairly typical in the banking and financial services industries, as well as for those who work with children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. If you’re wondering whether you should do so as well, check out our overview of the process below.  

Posted: 2020-02-05

We’ve had a few employees come into work sick. Can we send them home or, in the future, tell them not to come in to work if they are sick?

Yes. Generally, you can send sick employees home early when they are visibly ill or there is objective concern for the spread of a contagious virus. We recommend you inform the employee, as well as your other employees, of your expectations for when employees should or should not come to work due to common contagious illnesses. Many employers choose to send employees home only in severe circumstances (e.g., a highly contagious illness) as the cold and flu seasons could mean that many employees are sick or recovering at the same time, and employees may not need to stay home when fighting, for example, a minor cold.

Keep in mind that it is important that everyone have a clear understanding of what is grounds for sending an employee home sick and that it is applied fairly to everyone. Also, in the event that you send an employee home sick, we would strongly recommend giving them the option to use any accumulated sick or vacation time.

For these reasons, a written policy to that effect would probably be helpful. That way sick employees know what is expected of them and can save themselves the trip to work.

Take note, however, that some states require reporting time pay, so if you send a non-exempt employee home after they have reported for work, you may still owe them a half of their scheduled shift. Additionally, exempt employees in all states must be paid for the full day of work, even if sent home early due to illness, if any work at all was performed that day, including work from home.

To deter sick employees who want to work from coming in and spreading their germs, you might consider offering paid sick leave. If employees don’t have to worry about a smaller paycheck when they take a sick day, they won’t feel so compelled to work when under the weather.

Posted: 2020-01-31

We have had someone request an accommodation for a disability. Can you explain undue hardship?

Under the ADA, an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, so long as doing so does not create an undue hardship on the organization. Many state laws also use this standard with respect to accommodations for disability, pregnancy, and lactation, so it’s useful to understand. The basic definition is an action that creates a significant difficulty or expense.

The cost of an accommodation could be an undue hardship on the employer, but so could an accommodation’s duration or disruption. An accommodation that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business would be an undue hardship, even if the cost was negligible. But if cost alone is the basis for claiming an accommodation is unreasonable, employers should remember that the standard is significant expense.

Undue hardship will always be assessed on a case-by-case basis, as there are no hard and fast rules that can be applied. Instead, employers who are hesitant to offer an accommodation should consider the following factors:

Posted: 2020-01-15

What sort of questions should we ask and avoid asking during a job interview?

The questions you ask in a job interview should all be job-related and nondiscriminatory. You should avoid questions that are not job-related or that cause an applicant to tell you about their inclusion in a protected class. For example, if the position requires someone to lift 25 pounds repeatedly throughout the day, you should ask the applicant whether they can lift 25 pounds repeatedly throughout the day. You should not ask whether they have back pain or any other physical issues that might prevent them from lifting 25 pounds throughout the day. The latter question would be discriminatory.

Protected classes include race, national origin, citizenship status, religious affiliation, disabilities, pregnancy, sexual orientation or gender identity, past illnesses (including use of sick leave or workers’ comp claims), age, genetic information, or military service. You should also avoid asking about things that might be protected by state law (e.g., marital status and political affiliation). If you were to ask any questions pertaining to these matters, rejected candidates could claim that your decision was based on their inclusion in these classes rather than their credentials.

Posted: 2020-01-13

Can we discipline employees for complaining about the company on social media?

Probably not. Depending on what they said, and who responded to it, their speech may be protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. Section 7 protects concerted activity by employees that relates to the terms on conditions of their employment. Concerted means “in concert,” so two or more employees must be involved, but this is easily achieved on social media if a co-worker even just “likes” the post. Terms and conditions could include pay, hours, work environment, treatment from managers, benefits, or violations of labor and employment laws.

We understand that this sort of social media activity by employees can be frustrating. One way to reduce the likelihood that employees will air their grievances on social media is to establish a means for them to do so internally. Employee surveys, comment boxes (whether physical or online), stay interviews, and true “Open Door” policies are common ways to solicit this feedback. The key is to be willing to listen and act on the information you gather. If employees believe that taking their complaints directly to a manager will end in retaliation, or that it simply won’t lead to any change, they’re more likely to keep complaining on the internet.