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Common Questions about Interviewing
Human Resources Spotlight10

Is It My Job to Fire Employees?

Wednesday April 23, 2014

Nothing is as confusing to many readers than the parameters and responsibilities of the role of HR staff. I receive frequent questions that tell me that the HR person's organization thinks that she or he should fire employees, discipline employees, write employees up, and hire employees.

Nothing is farther from the reality of how these employment actions should occur. These roles are not in the HR job description.

These responsibilities are in the job descriptions of managers and supervisors for many reasons. The most important reason is that the HR person wasn't there - for any of it. She or he has only hearsay evidence about what occurred from the manager or supervisor.

So, too, with hiring employees. The new employee will not report to the HR staff person who has only second hand knowledge about the job's requirements and the supervisor's needs. The key interaction during interviews is the interaction of the candidate with the hiring manager and his or potential coworkers.

The Role of HR Staff

The HR professional's role is to provide support to the manager or supervisor as she or he performs these tasks that are integral in their jobs supervising and leading employees. The HR staff person specifically should provide these kinds of support.

  • Training for managers and supervisors in all aspects of employment including interviewing, selection, discipline, and how to legally and ethically fire an employee,
  • Guidance, written policies, and procedures to give direction and consistency in employment actions,
  • Counsel and coaching to assist managers to do their jobs effectively,
  • Presence to witness the employment action and to help steer a meeting that heads awry,
  • Documentation assistance so the records are accurate, legal, and will withstand scrutiny in a court of law,
  • Feedback during employee selection about potential cultural fit and effectiveness of the candidate, and
  • Background checking to ensure that you are hiring the employee who you think you are hiring.

The list goes on and on, and I have written extensively about the role of HR staff in an organization. I am interested to know what you think. Am I crazy or is this the way it's supposed to work?

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More About the HR Role

See Sample Applicant Rejection Letters

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Want a compilation of all of the applicant rejection letter samples on the site? Here's a resource that links all of my sample applicant rejection letters for every occasion and many recruitment circumstances.

Here are highlights about the resource.

  • In the first sample applicant rejection letter, you found the person both qualified and a good potential cultural fit within your company culture, but you hired an even more qualified person.

  • In the second sample applicant rejection letter, you found the applicant neither among the most qualified nor a good cultural fit.

  • In the third sample applicant rejection letter, you hired a more qualified person, but you'd like the applicant to interview for another open position within your company.

  • In this final letter, you reject the applicant without scheduling an interview or a phone screen. The individual is underqualified compared to your other applicants.

Are there any other scenarios for which you could use a sample applicant rejection letter? As always, please share your thoughts.

Image Copyright Phil Date

Related to Sample Applicant Rejection Letters

Commemorate Earth Day at Work

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Today is Earth Day. In honor of this year's celebration of Earth Day, form a green team at work. While debate exists about recycling and other aspects of environmentalism - try to get an answer to whether paper bags or plastic in the grocery stores are better for the environment, for example - a green team is motivational for employees who want to make a difference in their work environment.

And, the team may even save energy and time, keep trash out of landfills, opt for reuseable dishes, share books in a library, and more. A team is a great way to brainstorm and develop ideas, develop employee leadership and planning skills, and involve employees who might not be engaged by other team topics.

20 Tips: Get Your Work Green Team Started

In honor of Earth Day, here are 20 tips to get a green team started in your workplace. Your green team can use these 20 ideas to get started as they brainstorm and implement their own ideas for a green team and an Earth Day celebration.

Image Malcolm Romain

Share Your Workplace "Green" Ideas

At About.com, green is a common theme. Lately, I've seen lots of helpful resources.

Teams and Employee Motivation

How to Implement Job Expectations and Career Development Plans

Monday April 21, 2014

Interested in ideas about how to improve employee performance and professional development? Our company is transitioning into a new way to communicate expectations, encourage employee professional and career development, and improve employee performance. I read with some interest the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study about employee satisfaction and employee engagement, as a result. Respondents cited career development as one of the weaknesses at the majority of companies. (Take a look at this blog post for more about that.)

Our performance management plan involves a twice a year review of job expectations and a second twice a year discussion about career development. Since we are just starting, this process is underway now with managers and staff reviewing their job plans. Discussion about progress on the expectations will take place at weekly meetings with the manager. A formal review of progress then will occur every six months.

Additionally, we are introducing a career development planning process to supplement the job expectations review. In the career planning discussions, employees will have the opportunity to talk about what they'd like to do next in the company, developmental opportunities that will supplement their current skills, and long term career growth plans. These discussions will also take place formally twice a year separate from the review of job expectations.

Manage Change When Needed

In the past, we had introduced a performance development planning process that was unevenly implemented. Managers found that it was difficult to separate the developmental discussion from employee performance expectations, so we scrapped it where it wasn't working.

It's okay to scrap something that's not bringing you the results you'd like to see, by the way. You just need to take responsibility, identify the problems, communicate until you can't communicate anymore, and involve employees in planning and rolling out the next chapter. And, you must learn and you must make the new better. Otherwise, employees grow change weary and complain about flavor of the month programs.

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