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The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals / Edition 2

The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals / Edition 2

by Shawn Smith, Rebecca Mazin Shawn Smith
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The HR Answer Book is an easy-to-use problem solver for managers and human resources professionals struggling to adapt to new workplace challenges.

Corporate executive Shawn Smith and author Rebecca Mazin address more than 200 of the most common employer questions relating to job functions such as recruitment and hiring, discipline, downsizing, compensation and benefits, training, and employee relations.

As a result, the book equips you with the industry's best practices to overcome any hurdle and experience preventing success in your role. This updated second edition contains a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the human resources field for management instructors, including revised and expanded sections on FMLA, health insurance changes, compensation laws, salary reductions, and using social networking to recruit employees.

In The HR Answer Book, Smith and Mazin also share bonus checklists covering:

  • 10 Questions to Ask Before Scheduling an Interview,
  • Job Applicant Flow logs,
  • Performance Goals forms,
  • and an Exit Interview Questionnaire.

In the fast-paced environment of the twenty-first century, human resources professionals and department managers must try on new approaches to success.

Whether used as a cover-to-cover resource or a quick reference for tackling specific challenges, The HR Answer Book offers the immediately accessible tools you need to thrive and help others—and your organization—do the same.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814417171
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 06/30/2011
Edition description: Second Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

SHAWN SMITH is an attorney, corporate executive, and founder of Next Level Consulting. Her articles have appeared in numerous legal and business publications.

REBECCA MAZIN is cofounder of Recruit Right, an HR consulting firm, and has held key positions at Hyatt Hotels, Owens Corning, and the National Labor Relations Board.

Read an Excerpt


Employee Selection: How Do I Find, Attract, and Select the Best?

Hiring is a basic need for any employer that has at least one employee who is not a partner or family member.This is where the employment relationship begins. Policies and procedures for employee selection will set the tone for the interactions that follow throughout an individual’s time with the organization.

Hiring someone is easy.Hiring the best candidate isn’t always as simple a and it will require planning and a logical process.Whether you have one job opening or one hundred, the process and procedures you use for employee selection will be directly reflected in the results you achieve.


“Isn’t it as easy as posting the job on the Web?”

Web-based job postings are an important part of an effective recruitment strategy, but not the first step.Technology and the exponential rise in the use of online social networking have dramatically expanded the sources and methods for identifying candidates, but jumping right in without planning and preparation can bog down the process.

Some Preliminary Steps

Before identifying the best recruiting sources, you must clearly identify the parameters of the job.While a complete job description is helpful a it may not be available and does not always include all the information you need. Answering the following questions will help you define the job parameters. If you are the hiring manager, you will probably have the answers to these questions already or you know where to get them.

If you are not the hiring manager, then the hiring manager is a good starting point.

• What is the job title and who does the job report to? In your company, a particular job title or level may have certain benefits or perks attached to it. Does your company allow flexibility or creativity with job titles? One candidate may only accept a job with a “director”

title, while another may be satisfied with a lesser title if you add the word “senior.” Employers often add words like “senior” or “junior”

with the intention of upgrading an individual or adding an entrylevel spot in a department. Use care in creating these new titles.

While the title of “senior sales associate” will add status, a title such as “junior sales associate” can be a detriment.Think of the customers or other employees who will interact with this person. Does dealing with a “junior” inspire confidence? Creative titles are terrific as long as they are appropriate for your culture both internally and externally.“

Brand Champion” might have a nice ring, but may not translate into an understandable role in every business-to-business situation.

Speak to the person to whom the job reports to determine this individual’s needs and expectations. In a larger department, the position may report to a level below the hiring manager. In this situation a you should speak with both persons.

• When does the position have to be filled, and how much does it pay?

A manager may demand a quick hire. Before you rush to offer the job to the first available candidate, remember that the cost of hiring the wrong person is potentially higher than leaving the position vacant.

The wrong person can make expensive mistakes or cause dissatisfac-tion and turnover among other employees. Set realistic hiring timelines that also take into account the availability of necessary resources such as space, equipment, training, and supervision.

If you are filling an existing position, find out what the pay range has been in the past. If it is a new position, ensure that the pay rate is appropriate. If your company paid sign-on bonuses, relocation expenses, or other incentives or special benefits in the past a determine if they are available for this position and, if so, how much money is available. Extra perks are far less common when candidates are plentiful but may be necessary in industries or environments where skills shortages exist.

• Who needs to meet or interview this person, and who will make the job offer? Identify everyone who needs to be part of the hiring decision and determine their general availability to conduct interviews.Also a think about people who will be helpful in attracting candidates.

These people may include employees from a promising candidate’s hometown or alma mater, as well as those with exceptional personalities who might be effective salespeople for the organization.

It is often helpful to obtain many different perspectives on an applicant, from both prospective superiors and peers. Consider having an employee who is at the same job level as the open position either conduct an interview, give a tour of the facility, or take a coffee break with candidates. Not only is employee involvement in the selection process good for morale, it will provide valuable feedback—

and a peer can help to “sell” the company.

The job offer should be made by the person with the authority to make decisions and respond to demands.This can be the hiring manager, a senior manager or executive, a member of the HR

staff, or a search firm, if one is used.

Worth Repeating: Tour Guide Obtains References

For a mid-management position in a service industry, a strong performer

met the candidate as part of a tour. The manager identified all

they had in common, including people they both knew and had

worked for. These names became the first references to be called.
• What are the skills/education needed for this position? What is the work experience required for this position? Create a list of the core skills, edu-cation, and experience needed to get the job done.You can add additional skills and experience that would be helpful and designate these elements as optional for successful performance of the job.

• Was someone promoted or fired? Where did the last person come from?

If the vacancy was created by a promotion, gather information about the position from the person who last held the job. Check with the hiring manager to ensure that the job content is not changing. If the vacancy was created because someone was fired, find out if the termina-tion was due to poor job performance or a lack of specific knowledge or skills.

If the last person in the job had been hired within the past year a check for a file of resumes of other candidates who applied for the position. Find out whether the person came from a search firm,

Internet posting, networking, or other source, then make it a priority to return to this source if it had previously generated strong candidates.

Maintaining applicant flow logs in a spreadsheet or database will facilitate the process, particularly when resumes are filed electronic-ally. A sample format can be found in the Tools and Templates section of this book.

Better Forgotten: Great Post, Wrong E-Mail Address

A start-up in a major city placed a job posting on a site focused on the

town and industry. The posting included an e-mail address to send

resumes and responses to. The e-mail address was incorrect and

responses went into cyberspace. Candidates were lost and frustrated.

Double-check any information included in an employment posting.

Table of Contents


Preface ix

1 Employee Selection: How Do I Find, Attract, and Select the Best? 1

2 HR Policies: Why Do We Need Them and What Should They Look Like? 35

3 Performance Management: How Do I Evaluate Performance and Conduct Meaningful Performance Reviews? 49

4 Employee Relations and Retention: How Do I Keep Good Employees and Maintain Working Relationships at All Levels? 71

5 Compensation: How Should Employees Be Paid? 97

6 Benefits: What Makes a Benefits Package Competitive? 121

7 Regulatory Issues: What Are the Major Employment Laws and How Do I Comply with Them? 153

8 When Bad Things Happen to Good Employers: How Do I Handle Volatile Workplace Issues? 185

9 Termination and Discharge: How Do I Fire an Employee Legally and Humanely? 213

10 Workforce Reorganizations: How Do I Manage Workforce Size in a Changing Business Climate? 231

Tools and Templates 249

Index 269

Customer Reviews