Topics:The Hiring Process Office Culture Interviews Employee Appreciation Employee Engagement Negotiation
Guest Post by Anastasia Iliou What is your company doing to support employees through COVID-19? Aside from genuinely caring about your employees, their well-being directly impacts your company's success. Happier employees are bound to be much more productive and loyal. You need to budget for good benefits that help keep your team happy and motivated. Everyone’s eyes are on employers right now to see how they react in a crisis, and your employees are your biggest ambassadors. The happier your employees are, the more productive and supportive they are likely to be. Word of mouth is still one of the best marketing tactics out there, and who better to spread the good word about your company than the people who are there every day? If you have employees who are struggling due to reduced hours, high medical costs, loss of other family income, etc. due to COVID-19, any of these employee benefits can help minimize the damage and make you a hero: Great health care choices The COVID-19 pandemic provides a great reason for you to review your company’s current health care options. Are you offering enough options? Do the plans you offer include a telehealth option? Do the plans cover COVID-19 testing and treatment? Making positive changes to your health care options (even if you have to wait until next year to enact the changes) can help you show your employees that you care about their well-being. You need your employees to stay healthy. If your employees are coming to work sick because they can’t afford to visit a doctor, you’re going to end up with a sick and unproductive workforce. It is in both your employees/ best interest and yours to offer good health care. Additional mental health benefits Back in April, 45 percent of adults reported that COVID-19 negatively impacted their mental health. If as much as 45 percent of your workforce could be facing serious mental anguish, you need to prioritize mental health benefits! When your employees are not mentally healthy, they probably can’t focus as well, they are likely less productive, and they might show up to work with a poor attitude. Aside from the mental health care that your insurance offerings will provide, what else are you doing for your employee’s mental health? One of the best ways that you can show that you care as an employer is to offer a subscription to a mental health service like Talkspace. You can also offer “mental health days” as a part of your sick leave policy, you can designate a “zen room” in your office where employees can go to take a deep breath, and you can offer occasional yoga or meditation sessions during the workday. If you prefer a more hands-off approach, you can supply gift cards or provide a stipend for mental health care. Strong family leave policies If you don’t already have one, now would be a great time to enact an inclusive family leave policy that allows employees to take an official leave to take care of sick family members without having to worry about their job. Family leave is a benefit that your employees will hope they never have to use, but will feel better knowing it’s there. It’s another great way to show your employees that you care. Keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Labor added a temporary rule that will expire on December 31, 2020, in regards to COVID-19. The rule states that the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires employers to provide up to 10 weeks of paid (and two weeks unpaid) emergency family and medical leave. This rule only applies for employees who are caring for a child whose school or other care facility is closed. Additionally, the Family Medical Leave Act requires that employers provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for employees who need to quarantine, are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or are caring for a child. Once that rule expires, you have an opportunity to show that you care about your employees by enacting your own family and medical leave benefits. On-demand pay Sometimes called early wage access, on-demand pay is a benefit that usually does not cost employers anything but can have a huge positive impact on employees. By signing up for an on-demand pay app, you won’t have to do the work yourself — your employees can simply log into the app and get paid any day they want. Especially during a financial crisis or now during COVID-19, it can make a huge difference for your employees to not have to wait two weeks (or longer) to collect their paycheck. The longer they have to wait, the more debt they’re going to fall into while trying to support their families. If your company is the one to provide them with on-demand pay, they’re more likely to stay loyal to you. Time off for community service People who are lucky enough to still have good jobs through the pandemic may be thinking about ways they can help the less fortunate. As a company, you might be thinking the same thing. One way that you can serve your community is by allowing your employees to take time away from work to serve. That means that an employee who wants to work at a soup kitchen for a few hours on a Monday should not be required to use their PTO days. You can manage this by offering one workday per quarter or a few days per year that employees can choose to complete community service instead of showing up to work. Alternatively, you can organize company-wide community service events in your local community. Host food drives and blood drives, sponsor local events, send a group of employees to clean up local schools and parks, etc. Of course, benefit needs will vary by industry and company and these decisions should not be taken lightly. It is important, however, that every company take a look at how their employees were affected by COVID-19 and come up with a solution to better protect them moving forward. Anastasia Iliou is the marketing lead at Rain Instant Pay. Rain is an on-demand pay and financial wellness benefit for employees. Rain’s mission is to put an end to predatory financial products like payday loans.
Guest Post by Trevor McDonald Whether you're the interviewer or the interviewee, job interviews can be stressful. Even as an interviewer, you may feel overwhelmed with stress — but you know the person you're interviewing has even more anxiety. And while there may be some merit to seeing how people handle pressure, you may not get the full picture of someone's value if they feel intimidated and anxious. It's important to help your candidates feel at ease, especially when you're interviewing for a position where someone doesn’t need exceptional people skills. It might be different if you’re interviewing for a high-stakes PR job, but if you’re hiring a data entry clerk, people skills aren’t necessarily an indication of how they’ll perform their job. In this post, we’re going to cover some of the best tips to help you put candidates with ease and make better connections during the interview process. 1. Start with sincere introductions The reason why so many candidates get flustered during interviews is that there is an implied shift in power where the interviewer is in control. It’s akin to a student talking to a teacher or a driver talking to a police officer. But if you want to get the most out of this interview, you’ve got to level the playing field. Your interviewee should feel comfortable interviewing with you without feeling judged. To kick off your interview, offer a friendly hello and a beverage. Simple gestures can help your candidates feel like you care about their well-being. It makes the experience feel more human, which is always a good thing. And remember that offering a glass of water is more than just a gesture of kindness. It can quell a dry throat and give candidates a chance to pause and reflect over a sip when you’ve just asked a difficult question. 2. Show up on time One of the worst things you can do as an interviewer is to show up late for an interview. You know that person has gone through great lengths to show up on time, so as a sign of respect, it’s a good idea to do the same. Don’t let meetings run long that could interfere with your interview. It’s bad manners and it can leave a bad taste in the interviewee’s mouth. Imagine this person was your ideal candidate and they have to decide whether or not to work for you. If they see that you don’t respect their time, they’re probably going to decline any job offers, or even leave the interview early without even meeting with you. Your poor punctuality will end up wasting your time and theirs. Remember that candidates are also interviewing you as a boss and the company you work for. If you want that candidate to remain excited for the opportunity to work for you, respect their time. 3. Choose the interview location wisely Most interviews are conducted in the interviewer’s office or a conference room. There usually aren’t many options available to you. But if you want to connect better with your interviewee, you may want to spend a few minutes thinking about where you want to conduct your interview. The space you choose should have comfortable chairs, natural light, and comfortable temperatures. If your office is too stark, dark, and cold (or hot), the candidates you interview are likely to be distracted by their discomfort. You should also choose a space that’s private. No one wants to feel like they have an audience during an interview. This rules out common spaces like break rooms or employee lounges. Holding an interview in a common space also sends the impression that you aren’t taking it very seriously, which sets the wrong tone off the bat. 4. Explain your role and how you got there If you really want to connect with your interview candidates, open up the conversation by talking about yourself a bit. This isn’t open season to brag about your accomplishments or get too personal. Keep it professional and job-focused. Talk a little about your career background and what led you to work for (or found) the company. This should be brief but allow for the candidate to interject and ask a question or two. This can break the ice and make it feel more like two colleagues talking than an actual interview. Because the candidate probably has questions about the company, you can use this time to cover the basics. Talk about the company story and background and touch on company culture and morale. You want to remain honest, so if there’s something you don’t want to say, just avoid it. Emphasize the positive and do your best to deliver a warm welcome. Just one word of caution: If you plan to ask the candidate what they know about the company, you may not want to give too much away in your introduction. 5. Keep questions reasonable A skilled interviewer will ask pointed questions to get to the root of what they want to know: 1. Is this person qualified for the job?2. Is their personality a good fit for company culture? This advice isn’t telling you to hold back, but be careful of asking questions that are too much of a challenge. And this means avoiding trick questions. We all know trick questions when we see them. We may not always know the right answer, but we know when someone is painting us into a corner. If your candidate picks up on this, you’re probably going to lose some trust. It’s only going to put the candidate on the defensive, and it’s probably not going to get the result you’re after anyway. Some interviewers will also ask questions they know the candidate can’t answer. And they do this to see how the candidate will respond. Will they tell you they don’t know the answer or will they make something up on the spot? There can be some benefits to this if you think you’re dealing with a dishonest person, but in most cases, it’ll just make candidates unnecessarily uncomfortable. And if you’re ever in the position of being a candidate, this is why it’s important to tailor your resume to highlight your strengths and knowledge. This way the interviewer knows what to ask about. Interviews can be challenging for everyone, but you’re always going to get more from the process when you make a genuine connection with candidates. Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing. He's written a variety of education, business, health, and lifestyle articles for many different companies, currently writing for Resume Coach. In his free time, you can find him running with his dog, playing his guitar, or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.