Reference checking often proves one of those tasks in the hiring process that soaks up far more time and energy than expected. You play phone tag with candidates’ old supervisors. The references get very tight-lipped because of decrees from their HR department. The information you get isn’t actionable. If this sounds like your experience, keep reading for six ways you can make the reference checking process more efficient and useful.
1. Ask for a Specific Number
You can’t always predict how many references someone will provide. A highly outgoing candidate might provide a half-dozen. A more reserved candidate might only provide a few. Specifying a set number of references helps you manage the total time the reference checks take.
2. Forget Personal References
Personal references add almost no value to the process. Anyone adding personal references will only select people with a good opinion of them. Asking for personal references also puts the shy or introverted into a tough position without learning anything about their ability to do the job.
3. Use Standardized Questions for All Candidates
A former supervisor who loved a candidate may go on at length about non-critical information. Their positive opinion can skew your perception without the candidate necessarily being the best choice. Develop a standard list of questions you ask all references. This makes the information you gather more relevant. It also gives you a more reliable method of comparing candidates.
4. Make Sure You Speak with a Direct Supervisor
No matter how well-intentioned a manager might be, they often have little direct contact with many of their subordinates. That means they can usually only talk in general statements. The candidate was never in trouble. They got good performance reviews. A direct supervisor can provide you with more concrete information about the candidate’s actual work, even if it’s only through tone and subtext.
5. Leave Reference Checks for Last
Reference checks take time. You need to coordinate with previous supervisors and block out time. Then there is the actual time you spend on the phone. After that, you must compare notes about each candidate’s references. The fewer of these checks you must do, the faster and more efficient the process becomes. Leaving it until you’ve narrowed down the pool to a few candidates makes the process much faster.
6. Work with a Staffing Agency
While this doesn’t streamline the reference checking process itself, it does streamline the process for you. The staffing agency will check the references in advance and weed out the problematic candidates. That means you only need to check a short list of references before you offer to hire someone.
Always Aim for Maximum Value
When making your reference checking process more efficient, always look for what will give you maximum value. That means talking with direct supervisors, asking the same questions, and waiting until you only have a few candidates left.
As a recruiter for the past 20 years I have experienced some interesting challenges – COVID 19, being the latest. We are being bombarded with news (some fake news) and some very serious concerns are being raised. For Gallman Consulting – The safety and well-being of our Staff is paramount to us. Therefore, we have advised them how to take care of themselves, protect others, and monitor the latest developments per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But…. WE ARE WORKING!!! We are staying in touch with clients and continuing to provide our expert services.
For clients who are especially concerned about face to face / onsite interviews, we recommend the following:
Do a more in-depth phone interview before bringing potential candidates into your facility / offices
Consider a Skype / Zoom or any number of virtual interview systems that are available.
If a face to face interview becomes necessary, we will check with the candidates to find out if the following applies to them:
Traveled outside of the US in the last month.
Had contact with someone else who has traveled outside of the US in the last month.
Had contact with someone who has the coronavirus.
You can ask these same questions when a candidate arrives for an interview, and even have them sign a form to verify the above. Of course – it is a good idea to have hand sanitizer available on the premises. We can also ask the candidate if they are willing to wear a face mask if you prefer.
Gallman Consulting is ready to assist you in navigating this public health challenge and furthering the well-being of all employees. We remain available to service your needs. Our contingency plans ensure our internal processes will continue without interruption and you will have the candidates you need to fill your open positions.
We are in this together!
Georgette TE BU0901
Georgette Sandifer Senior Director of Placement Phone: 803-744-3304 email@example.com www.gallman-consulting.com
Many people assume they’ll become less productive toward the end of the day. There is even some research to back it up. Throughout the day, you make countless decisions. By the end of the day, you’re probably experiencing some decision fatigue. In other words, your mind and brain have worn out their ability to decide things for the day.
Fortunately, you can take some steps to make sure you end the day productively.
Chips and candy bars might give you a short-term burst of energy, but they don’t do much for your overall productivity. For that, you must turn to the world of healthy snacks. Go in for some almonds. Eat a banana and hard-boiled egg on break. If you work somewhere, it’s practical, get yourself a blueberry and low-fat Greek yogurt parfait and put in the fridge for later. These kinds of snacks are quick to eat. Plus, you can even make most of them at home ahead of time.
Frontload Difficult Work
If nothing else, the decision fatigue research backs up the claim that you should frontload more difficult work. By getting that out of the way earlier in the day, it leaves you free to tackle smaller but necessary tasks later in the day. As a bonus, you get to experience the “completion high” more frequently at the end of the day. That can help you stay productive at your smaller tasks.
Become Unavailable at the End of the Day
Distractions kill productivity when you’re well-rested. They can completely derail you when you’re already tired from putting in most of a day’s work. Tell everyone that you won’t answer emails, respond to Slack notifications, or take phone calls that aren’t extremely important for the last hour or two of work. That lets you focus your remaining energy on finishing any work you must complete before you leave.
A fall-off in mental performance at the end of the day is probably inevitable, but not necessarily a disaster for productivity. Staying productive at the end of the day is mostly about managing yourself in a way promotes productivity. Eating healthier snacks, ending your day with less demanding tasks and limit your distractions will help you marshal your mental resources better when you get to the end of your day.
Looking for a job that lets you be more productive than you are now? Gallman Consulting can help you find the right job at the right company.
Every company wants to be the company that’s always flooded with resumes, yet most aren’t. If this sounds like your company, you’re probably wondering what to do. Keep reading to learn five ways you can transform your company.
An exceedingly small number of families conform to the traditional model of an income-earning husband and stay at home mom. That means the traditional, rigid 8-5 schedule works for almost no one. While some job categories must adhere to a fixed schedule, you’ll become a place people want to work if they’ve got wiggle room in their schedules.
Takeaway: You can build some minor flexibility into rigid schedule jobs by including a no-penalty grace period of 10-15 minutes at the beginning of each shift.
Some companies probably still encourage 80-hour workweeks, but that is a path to losing good employees. Your workers don’t want to burn out on the job or have heart attacks. They want more balanced lives that leave them healthy and active. Encouraging health and wellness activities will make your company more desirable for potential employees who want those balanced lives.
Provide Development Opportunities
No one wants to feel like they’re stuck in a rut in their job. This is especially true in jobs where there is a small chance of promotion or no clear path to it. Left to their own devices, employees will seek out professional development elsewhere. Offering professional development signals that you take a healthy interest in your employees’ progress.
Takeaway: If you don’t provide development opportunities, your best employees will find another way.
A Culture of Recognition
Study after study and article after article talk about how people desire recognition at work, often more than they crave a raise. It’s a big ask in companies where managers often struggle to manage their existing workloads. Carving out time to provide employee recognition can feel impossible. This priority must start from the top and may require bringing on more managers to lighten the workload. The upshot is that inculcating a culture of recognition will create a vastly happier group of workers.
It’s a sad truth that managers and supervisors will sometimes tell outright lies to get subordinates to do what they want. They’ll exaggerate how soon something must be finished or pretend higher-ups are angry about the degree of progress. While this might work in the short-term, it drives a permanent wedge the second the lies get exposed, as they almost always do.
Takeaway: Always keep things on the level. It only takes a single lie for a supervisor, manager, or business owner to lose credibility forever.
The key to becoming a company where people want to work starts and ends with never treating people like a number. If you treat everyone like a human being and show a modicum of human concern, people will flock to your company.
Tens of millions of people quit their jobs every single year. While this might appear as a simple situation for the employer, it isn’t. You can’t just lock them out of your network and disable their ID card after their last day. It would be best if you had an offboarding process to make sure that everything that needs to happen actually happens. Still, you might wonder, why does this matter?
Retaining Organizational Knowledge
When employees leave, they don’t just take their personal effects with them. They also leave with all of their accumulated organizational knowledge. The longer an employee has been there, the worse the loss for the organization. A good offboarding process works to avoid this wholesale loss. Part of any good offboarding process is getting the employee who leaves to train their replacement. This helps pass along at least some of that organizational knowledge.
Maintain Employee Morale
Any departure can send overall employee morale into a dive, but especially if the persona leaving was a high-performer or well-liked. Letting employees find out about the exit through gossip will only make things worse since they can get false information, such as the employee was fired. A formal offboarding process includes reaching an agreement about how to disclose the information to everyone. This lets you and the departing employee exert some control over how the information is received.
Managing the Details
There will be many details you must attend to when an employee leaves. An offboarding process makes sure you tick all those boxes. For example, you must revoke any network access they have to non-public materials. You need to collect any devices, keys, or passcards you issued and remove them from the active employee database. Plus, you must schedule and conduct an exit interview before they leave. A formal process gives these activities structure and coherence.
An offboarding process serves several important functions for your company. It helps ensure that you retain organizational knowledge. You exert some control over how other employees find out, which lets you avoid some damage to employee morale. It also helps you perform all the small tasks that must happen when an employee leaves.
Did you recently wrap up offboarding a valuable employee and need to find a suitable replacement? Contact Gallman Consulting today to find their successor.
Lying on resumes and CVs has become so commonplace that around 85% of companies report catching applicants lying on their resume. While some lies might only rise to the level of obscuring the exact dates worked at a company, others wholly misrepresent a person’s skills or credentials.
So, how do you spot a lie when you see one?
Look for Incongruities
One of the simplest ways to spot a lie on a CV or resume is to keep an eye open for incongruities. For example, they list accomplishments that don’t line up with their job title. Someone working in HR won’t realistically have anything to do with sales or production numbers. A massive jump in job title from one company to the next can also serve as a red flag for dishonesty.
Takeaway: Incongruity doesn’t always mean dishonesty, but it should prompt some serious questions for the candidate.
It’s the very rare candidate indeed who brings proficiency in every skill listed in the job description. Someone who works with spreadsheets might have seen a pivot table, but it doesn’t mean they’re experts at making them. By the same token, someone might have played around with HTML a few times, but it doesn’t mean they can write the code for your new website. Make sure you dig into these proficiency claims with some technical questions that can expose exaggeration.
Get a Background Check
If you think that someone is misrepresenting their education or credentials, the simplest way to vet the CV is with a background check. These checks can verify not only educational history but work history and even prior earnings. Background checks come at different levels of scrutiny, and more extensive checks cost more. You’ll need to decide how deep you want the background checks to go.
Takeaway: A background check will prove much cheaper than going through the entire hiring process a second time when you discover the lie.
Use Backdoor Reference Checks
No one provides references who will torpedo them with a potential employer. That means that sometimes, you need to go with a backdoor reference check of someone who worked with a candidate but isn’t on their reference list. You can use a resource like LinkedIn to find former managers or coworkers.
Takeaway: These backdoor reference checks often reveal a much more accurate picture of someone’s skills and accomplishments.
With lying some common on CVs these days, you must remain wary for the lies. Keep an eye open for incongruities and claims of universal proficiency. Shell out for a background check on all serious applicants. Dig into their background with backdoor reference checks. It’s always better to avoid hiring a lying applicant than needing to replace them later.
The Smartest Managers Hire People Who Are Smarter Than Them
Nobody’s an expert at EVERYTHING — business is simply too complex and fast changing! Whether you engage them for an assignment or hire them full time, here’s how to effectively manage people with more experience or knowledge than youT– and make yourself, your team and your company even more successful:
Leading a team full of smart people is important for your personal success. However, it can be intimidating to manage people who have learned and achieved more than you. The key is to take the right approach so everyone pulls in the same direction.
Don’t Let Them See You Sweat
It is normal to feel nervous about hiring and managing people who might be smarter or more experienced than you. You can feel the fear, but take care not to let it show. You must project confidence at all times if you want others to feel comfortable with your abilities as a leader. When it comes to confidence, however, you must walk a fine line. If you aren’t careful, confidence can come across as arrogance.
Address Issues Swiftly
If you catch buzz that a member of your team is unhappy working for someone with less experience or knowledge, don’t let that buzz get out of hand. Even one openly hostile employee can quickly destroy morale, spreading ill will through the group.
Sit down with that employee for an open and honest conversation as soon as you’re made aware of the situation. Take care not to be hostile or defensive. Open by saying, “I know that you have X more years of experience than I do, and I understand that you’ve got some concerns about that.” Let the employee know you are there to support them, and find out what they want from you and do your best to provide that support.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
When your reports ask you a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t avoid the question and by all means, don’t lie. Offering poor direction or giving an answer that is just plain wrong can put you in a bad position, it could put the employee in a bad position, and it could lead to loss of respect among your team.
When someone has a question you can’t answer, do the same thing you’d want your employees to do in that scenario. Tell them you aren’t positive of the answer, but you’ll track down the correct answer ASAP — and then get to work finding it.
Solicit Input, Ideas and Feedback
Employees who have been with the company for a decade or more have been on the front lines of change. They’ve witnessed the evolution of processes and management, and they have seen what works and what doesn’t work for the department and the organization.
During one-on-one meetings with your team members, actively solicit feedback and input from experienced employees. When you are faced with a challenge, crowdsource ideas and input from the group, especially those who have been there the longest.
Micromanaging can be tempting, but great managers give their teams the space to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Delegate strategically, assigning tasks that align with each employee’s strengths — then trust them with that responsibility.
You must also remember that you were hired to lead the team. Just because you’ve got direct reports with more experience does not mean they should run the show. You’re still in charge of keeping the ship righted, so give them room to do the job, but don’t let them run roughshod over you as a leader.
When In Doubt, Ask for Advice
Hopefully, you have a mentor or close members of your professional network with whom you can share ideas, vent frustrations and celebrate successes. These people are incredibly important on your leadership journey and they can be a terrific sounding board. Don’t be afraid to tap this network when you need to. Schedule a weekly breakfast, coffee date or lunch with your mentor(s) to stay connected to your network and receive objective advice when you need it.
Be a Development Advocate
If you hire and manage people who are smarter and more experienced than you are, take an active interest in helping them grow their careers as well. During one-on-one meetings, familiarize yourself with each team member’s career goals. Identify people who want to take the next step, and help them map out a plan to get there.
Smart leaders hire smart employees. Pull from their experience and use them strategically to set yourself and your team on the path to success.
One of the biggest mistakes that employers and recruiters make is by simply putting off potential candidates by making them feel like an intruder. An uncomfortable interviewing or hiring process is a sure way to lose the best talent to competitors. If you’re part of the recruitment process for a company, you are likely to make the first impression they will have of what it will be like to work there. Here are some tips for putting candidates at ease during the interviewing process.
Don’t waste anyone’s time
The initial screening process for candidates should include not only questions about what they can bring to the company, but what the company has to offer them as well. While final salary negotiations are usually done towards the end of the whole process, asking an experienced professional to go through an interview process and candidacy, only to learn at the end that it’s an entry-level salary, is insulting. Make sure that the candidate knows whether it is a contract or full-time position, a general idea of what the position pays, and any benefits that they may be eligible for before scheduling any serious interviews.
Once you’ve screened a potential applicant and they’ve accepted an interview, be sure to explain the process in detail. Give clear directions and instructions for locating your office and who to ask for when they arrive. Just saying “be here Thursday at 2:00” is simply not enough info. They need to know the location of the building, if there are other suites they will need to navigate past, and what to expect when they arrive.
Help them prepare
If an applicant thinks they’re coming in to meet with you to go over their resume, and you march them to a conference room where they’re met by the department head and three other team members for a technical interview, you’ve just set them up for failure. Not only will this intimidate your candidate, but they won’t be able to adequately demonstrate their skills if they aren’t prepared. Let them know who they will be meeting with, the purpose of the interview, and what kinds of things they will need to be ready to discuss.
Greet them and treat them as guests
Leaving candidates waiting in the lobby for an extended period of time is never a good idea. Interviews are stressful situations, even when they go well. Being blatantly rude and leaving applicants alone or unattended will build anxiety, which can lead to a negative performance during the interview. Invite them in, thank them for coming, and if you are running behind schedule, find someone who can take a few moments and give them a tour of the facility. If you’ve gone through the trouble of setting up an interview, there must be something in them that you desire. Don’t throw it away by being inattentive and distant.
Try to show them the real face of the business
Remember that an interview is a meeting between two parties, to see how well the arrangement will work. If your office is normally a chaotic and high-energy collaborative environment, don’t stifle your other employees for an hour because you’re trying to make a good impression. On the other hand, if your office is quiet and compartmentalized, don’t try to make it appear to be a fast-paced and fun atmosphere. Trying to be something you’re not will create a tension in the workspace that candidates will be able to feel when walking around.
Let them also interview you
Whether a candidate will fit into a position well has implications for both sides. While they are selling themselves to you, you’re also selling a company to them. Leave space at the end of the interview for the candidate to ask any potential questions, or discuss possible deal-breakers. Both sides need to be comfortable with the relationship if you’re going to avoid turnover.
Interviewing candidates for a position shouldn’t be a question of seeing who will jump through the most hoops. Welcoming potential employees and putting them at ease will help to ensure the best fit, not just for them, but also for your company.
For many employees, their dogs and cats are beloved family members. Here are seven ways your company can show it cares.
By: Lisa Rabasca Roepe
February 22, 2017
Office life isn’t for everyone. It certainly didn’t suit Beasley. After his first foray into the work world, he found himself feeling skittish and overwhelmed. He got carsick on the commute, and some of the employees made him uncomfortable.
It soon became clear this wasn’t going to be a good fit. He wasn’t let go so much as left at home—by his owner, Cheryl DeSantis, vice president of people and organization for Mars Petcare North America in Franklin, Tenn.
You see, Beasley is a 3-year-old goldendoodle. And while he didn’t have the right personality to accompany DeSantis to work, he remains a very good boy. DeSantis found a better office mate with her mini-goldendoodle puppy, Riggins, who enjoys the daily routine and meeting new people.
“It’s looking promising for Riggins,” DeSantis says.
Beasley and Riggins are members of the more than 54 million U.S. households that include a dog and the nearly 80 million families with a pet of any kind, according to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. And Mars Petcare is among a growing number of companies that allow dogs to come to work with their owners.
As organizations look to provide perks that will attract and retain key talent, many are coming to realize that offering pet-friendly benefits—whether that means take-your-dog-to-work days, pet insurance or animal-related volunteer excursions—can be an effective tool for improving recruitment, morale and even wellness.
“Dogs have become a bigger part of everyone’s life, especially as Millennials delay having children,” says Jennifer Joyce, vice president of marketing for Kurgo, a company based in Salisbury, Mass., that makes travel accessories and outdoor products for dogs. “For many, their dog is often their first child.”
Indeed, when Kurgo recently surveyed 1,242 dog owners across the country, 65 percent said their dog is part of their family, while only 8 percent referred to Fido as a pet.
The Benefits of Furry Friends
Mars Petcare, which owns the Banfield brand, has been allowing its employees to bring their dogs to work five days a week since 2007, DeSantis says. On a typical day, there are 900 employees and 30 to 40 dogs in the headquarters office.
From an employer’s perspective, one of the biggest benefits of allowing pets in the workplace is related to retention. A 2016 study by Banfield Pet Hospital found that 83 percent of employees feel a greater sense of loyalty to companies with pet-friendly policies.
Moreover, more than half of workers at companies without such policies said they would be more likely to stay at their organization if it were to offer pet-related perks. The same survey found that 88 percent of the 1,006 employees surveyed, and 91 percent of 200 HR decision-makers, agreed that having pets at work improves morale.
“What we hear is people will pick Mars over another employer because they can bring their dogs to work,” DeSantis says. “We also hear that it is hard for associates to leave Mars because not every business allows pets in the office.”
Dogs and cats can also bring people closer together. “They create unity among staff and opportunities for interaction among departments that might not otherwise have interacted,” says Bill Page, HR director for Arkansas Business Publishing Group in Little Rock, Ark., which has 72 employees and four to five dogs at the office each day.
Shaping Pet Policies
Before creating any policy that involves bringing pets to the office, it’s critical to get employees’ input, says Patti Perez, an employment attorney with Ogletree Deakins.
“Everyone’s opinion must be heard,” she says. Are you willing to lose good employees because some don’t want to work in a pet-friendly office? If the feedback is mixed, one way to gauge the potential impact on your culture is to try allowing pets one day per week or month.
“Bringing a dog to work is a privilege, not a right,” says Robbie Eddison, a service desk manager at Softchoice Corp., an IT consulting firm based in Toronto. Eddison oversees her office’s Dog Committee. Softchoice has allowed dogs on the premises for at least 20 years. More than 700 employees work in the Toronto office, and they share the space with about 115 dogs each day.
Sometimes smaller companies become pet-friendly by accident after one or two people start bringing their dogs to work and other employees follow suit. That’s what happened at Arkansas Business Publishing Group five years ago, when CEO Olivia Farrell started bringing her Labrador retriever to the office every day, Page says.
“The generally tacit agreement [was] that your dog is friendly, housebroken, well-mannered and gets along well with others,” Farrell says. The organization recently developed a short policy laying out the ground rules in writing.
Initially, TINYpulse in Seattle—which creates employee engagement surveys—also lacked a written policy. Company leaders wanted to embrace the flexible, informal feel of a small startup. However, as the organization grew from 20 employees and two to three dogs to 60 workers with six to nine canines, the senior team realized it needed to provide clear guidelines and expectations. “It felt important, especially for non-dog owners,” HR Director Eliza Polly says.
As Polly and her colleagues delved into the issues, they realized there was a lot more to consider than they initially thought. “The leadership team still laughs about how much time it spent on this policy,” she says, noting that the topic was discussed at the group’s regularly scheduled meetings for three consecutive weeks. “When you get senior leaders talking about how much a dog should weigh to be allowed to roam free, it feels like a silly detail,” she says.
Actually, it’s not. “We had a big Irish setter puppy coming in that liked to knock over garbage cans and get into everything,” Polly says. “It was the sweetest dog, but he wanted to play and get attention. Not every dog is workplace-ready.”
That’s why TINYpulse’s policy explicitly states that dogs weighing more than 25 pounds can’t roam the building unattended and that dogs must not disturb any employees.
Each of Softchoice’s 21 U.S. and eight Canadian offices sets its own rules and guidelines for its dogs-at-work program, including negotiating agreements with local landlords.
In the Toronto location, employees are required to have worked at the company for three months before they can apply to bring their dog in. When workers make the request, Eddison says, they need to note their department; the location of their desk; their dog’s name, age, breed and gender; whether the dog has been fixed; whether it has had obedience training; and how often the pooch would come to work.
Employees must also get their manager’s written permission and confirm that they have asked nearby co-workers if having a dog around would be OK. A manager can revoke an agreement at any time if he or she thinks the situation isn’t working out, and people who aren’t dog lovers or who are allergic can request to work in a dog-free zone that has its own entrance and exit and a separate HVAC system, Eddison says.
Many company policies also stipulate that pets need to be healthy, clean, and up-to-date on vaccinations and heartworm and flea treatments.
There are approximately 20,000 U.S. service dogs, according to the American Humane Association. These animals are trained to perform tasks to help people with disabilities, such as guiding employees who are blind or deaf.
Regardless of whether an office allows pets, service animals must be allowed to accompany a person with a disability, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That said, animals whose sole function is to provide comfort do not qualify as service animals under the ADA, although some state and local laws allow emotional support animals in the workplace.
Deciding whether to allow an employee to bring in a so-called comfort animal is not that different from making a reasonable accommodation, says Patti Perez, an employment attorney with Ogletree Deakins. Ask yourself these three questions to make the determination.
Is it reasonable?
A monkey or snake is unlikely to be considered a reasonable companion, but a small trained dog may be. Ask the employee to provide medical documentation that having a comfort animal is a valid accommodation for his or her condition.
Would it be an effective solution?
Will the animal keep the employee from performing his or her essential functions? Perez knows of a case where a woman who pierced ears at a mall kiosk asked if she could do her work while holding a comfort dog. In this instance, the employer could make the case that the animal was interfering with the worker’s effectiveness because many people likely wouldn’t want their ears pierced by someone clutching a canine.
Is it an undue burden?
If an employee needs a comfort animal but the building lease won’t allow it, for instance, it is probably not reasonable to expect the employer to move to make the accommodation.
Dogs have bitten employees at Softchoice’s Toronto office twice, Eddison says. “Biting is cause for an immediate expulsion for us,” she says, adding that there is a three-strike policy for lesser complaints, which any employee can submit anonymously; most are related to barking, whimpering or playing with a squeaky toy.
The owner gets a warning when someone complains. A pup that accrues three strikes is not welcome in the office for six months to a year, although it may return on a trial basis if the owner can show a change in behavior, Eddison says.
TINYpulse’s policy relies heavily on self-reporting. If an employee knows her dog barks too much or has had an accident, she is expected to report it, Polly says. The company has a three-strike rule for accidents and no tolerance for biting. “If a dog even bites someone once, they are not welcome back in the office,” she says.
Employers can’t assume that workers’ compensation would cover a bite from a dog visiting the workplace, Perez says. That’s because, to submit a claim, the employer must show that an injury was caused by the scope of the employee’s work.
However, workers may be able to sue an employer for allowing dogs in the office, Perez says, although she isn’t aware of any such cases. Employees might also have a case if two or more dogs get into a fight and one is injured.
Another tip: Make it very clear who is responsible for the dog at all times. Perez worked at a law firm where an attorney who brought her dog to work asked a co-worker to dog-sit on the days she needed to be in court—which made the co-worker less productive. Your policy should address what happens when someone has to go to meetings. Consider stipulating that workers can’t bring their pets in on the days they have other scheduled events, Perez suggests.
If allowing workers to bring their pets to work doesn’t seem like a good option for your company, you’re not alone. Although office animals are making headlines, most organizations don’t allow them. According to the SHRM 2016 Employee Benefits research report, only 7 percent of employers permit pets in the workplace (compared with 8 percent in 2015 and 4 percent in 2014).
Fortunately, there are many other creative ways to show your support for furry friends, including the following:
Foster puppy (or kitty) love online. Because so many employees at Genentech, a San Francisco-based pharmaceutical company with 11,000 employees, were sharing dog photos and advice through e-mail, the company set up gDOGs, an employee resource group for dog owners, in 2014. More than 200 of Genentech’s employees are members, says Andrew Villani, senior manager of corporate relations and co-founder of gDOGs. The group created an online community and schedules events to encourage members to socialize with their dogs after hours and on weekends.
Allow occasional visits. The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance company based in St. Petersburg, Fla., invites employees to bring their dogs into the office for occasional photo shoots, says Erin O’Neill, the organization’s people and culture manager. It’s important to communicate with staff ahead of time that dogs will be at the office, she says. “We have one staffer who is allergic, and she is super gracious about it and just stays out of the area,” O’Neill says.
Schedule animal therapy days. Once a quarter, investment media business The Motley Fool in Alexandria, Va., sponsors an “animal therapy day.” A staff member who lives on a farm brings in puppies or ducklings, says Chief Wellness Officer Samantha Whiteside. “I try to schedule them when the staff seems stressed-out,” she says.
Other building tenants are also invited to participate, she says, because “it’s a good way to create intentional collision points to build relationships.” And the company sponsors an occasional “yappy hour”—a social event in which pets are welcome—at a nearby restaurant with an outdoor patio.
Arrange volunteer opportunities. Mars Petcare offers employee volunteer opportunities with the Nashville Humane Society, and staff deliver lunches and pet food to homebound seniors with pets.
Provide bereavement leave. San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is one of a few employers to provide three days of bereavement leave following the death of a pet. Mars Petcare gives one day.
Offer pet insurance. Pet-related coverage was offered by 36 percent of companies in 2015, and that number is expected to surge to 60 percent by 2018, according to a 2016 survey by Willis Towers Watson. The Motley Fool added pet insurance to its benefits package after an employee survey indicated demand.
Consider offering a coverage discount, says Chris Middleton, president of Pets Best Insurance. The typical markdown is 5 percent, he says, and even organizations with only 20 employees can offer this benefit affordably. Keep in mind, though, that each employee’s premium will be different based on where he or she lives and the pet’s species, breed and age, Middleton says.
Genentech offers a plan that covers dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets, Villani says. Employees can pay premiums through payroll deductions, and owners of multiple pets receive additional discounts. The company has also negotiated with several local doggie day care providers to offer employees a discount on the daily rate.
No matter which options you pursue, showing employees you care about their lives outside of work—including their pets—can give you an edge when it comes to recruiting, wellness and morale. And who doesn’t want to be top dog?
Lisa Rabasca Roepe is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.
Opening photograph courtesy of Trupanion.
Pet-Friendly Office Checklist
Experts at Trupanion, a Seattle-based pet medical insurance provider with a 1:2 pet-to-employee ratio (233 cats and dogs to 434 employees) offer this framework for creating a pet-friendly office.
Get executive buy-in. The CEO and senior management must agree to any pet-friendly policies.
Secure landlord approval. The Motley Fool can’t permit daily visits from animals at its offices because the property owner says the ventilation system won’t filter out all the dander and allergens, says Chief Wellness Officer Samantha Whiteside.
Create a policy. Clearly outline expectations, beginning by defining “pet-friendly,” says Patti Perez, an employment attorney with Ogletree Deakins. Do you mean just dogs and cats? What about boa constrictors and ferrets?
Pet-proof your space. This may include incorporating baby gates or tethers and hiding electrical cords. When Trupanion redesigned its offices, it included gated cubicles so office dogs and cats could enjoy being off-leash while sitting near their owner, says Erich Wuhrman, the company’s vice president of HR.
Communicate with employees. Let employees know if and when they can bring their pets to work. Some companies require employees to sign a written acknowledgment of the pet policy.
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January 2, 2017 – Leadership & Learning ~ Kevin Eikenberry
Are you Playing Offense or Defense?
I recently read this question somewhere, and it stuck with me. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that it is a valid question for us to ask as individuals and as leaders.
Are you playing offense or defense?
Like in sports, where you can have a strength in offense or defense and be successful, but can’t be successful with a complete lack of either one; this question isn’t an “either/or black or white” question as much as it is a “relative balance” question.
It is a question that can be asked strategically (what will our focus be for the year?) or tactically (how will handle this situation?). In either case, it is a question worth considering, because if you don’t consider it and challenge yourself with it, you will in the short- or long-term operate from your habits – which might not give you the results you most desire.
Are you playing offense or defense?
What do I mean when I suggest this question to you?
Your own definitions for the two words matter, and so my urging you to ask yourself might really be all that is needed (and would make for a short article). But if you want to hear the definitions and descriptions I have been using as I have considered the question, here is a sampling.
As you can see, what appears to be a black and white question is far from it. As just one example: there is a time to improve processes, and a time to solve problems – and there is value in knowing which will be your overall focus too.
The question has helped clarify my thinking for our team in the coming year and I hope it will do the same for you. It has also come in handy in regards to some specific situations and decisions since I have been considering the question.
So, I ask you to consider this question for yourself from three perspectives.
Which is my subconscious habit, to play offense or defense?
Which will serve me best, most often in reaching my goals for year, playing offense or defense?
Which will serve me best for the situation or decision I face right now, playing offense or defense?
Whatever your answers, make sure you don’t ignore what you didn’t choose. If you choose to focus on offense, there will be a time when defense is needed and vice versa. Asking the question will however make you more intentional and likely more successful in whatever context you use it.