Ensure expansion and stability — and protect your business from disgruntled employees.
There are two phenomena related to the uptrend of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims: 1) Employers are not well educated on HOW to avoid retaliation cases and 2) More disgruntled employees might be tempted to take advantage of the increasing willingness of EEOC authorities to systematically trust the plaintiffs.
Here are the main reasons why EEOC claims are on a steady uptrend:
• Employees becoming better educated about their rights under federal, state and local civil rights laws.
• The U.S. Supreme Court has clarified the requirements for individuals attempting to prove on-the-job discrimination.
• Jurors are more willing to accept the fact that an employee was treated differently due to his or her complaint of sexual harassment and discrimination.
• Small business employers tend to ignore the specifics of the law — they are too busy handling the day-to-day emergencies and priorities. Many are not aware of the importance to respect the law simply because they are badly, if at all, educated on the anti-discrimination regulations.
• Some employees (a minority of them) might be tempted to abuse the fact that the law is naturally meant to protect their rights and to ensure they are not discriminated. Unfortunately, when monetary compensations are involved, it may be tempting to take full advantage of the juror’s tendency to be more on their side.
Protect Your Business
First, business owners and their executives must be more involved in the hiring process with HR managers. People work for people, not for companies.
Creating a connection in the first steps of the recruitment process may make a huge difference. Many business owners tend to “dump” the hat of talent acquisition — either to their human resources manager, if the company is big enough, or to any willing administrative, trusted person.
Second, to prevent such situations, employers should implement clear procedures or policies for addressing workplace complaints, ensure these are known and followed with regard to all employees and take affirmative steps to avoid the possibility of adverse actions against individuals who complain about EEOC (or other) issues or otherwise participate in investigations into such issues.
Third, every business should put more attention on creating a work environment that is conducive to job satisfaction and general happiness at work. You should also take measures against bullying at work or rough management principles.
When employees feel that they’re important and that management genuinely cares, they’re less tempted to abuse the advantageous legislative position. Cases in point:
• Companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20 percent.
• Happiness in the workplace raises sales by 37 percent and productivity by 31 percent.
• Happy employees take 10 times fewer sick days, and they stay twice as long on their jobs.
Fourth, there are unfortunately a minority of applicants and employees who will always take advantage of any opportunity to make money out of some defective procedure or lack of respect of applicable laws.
Often pushed by shark-types of lawyers to maximize the accusations, they won’t hesitate to exaggerate the facts about seemingly faltering or illegal hiring and/or management procedures committed by their employers. You must be able to detect such personalities and act accordingly.
HR managers can play a vital role in minimizing legal trouble throughout the hiring process. Here are a few tips that can be easily implemented in your business:
Education. Most business owners and their executives have not been educated to recruit — it’s not in any high school or college curriculum. There is a science to successful, or no-fail hiring.
Stop focusing on hard skills. As stated above, almost 50 percent of discrimination claims are retaliation cases. That means, in many cases, retaliation from the employer occurs after personality clashes and/or emotional reactions in the relationship between a senior and his/her junior.
Selecting applicants only on the basis of hard skills is not effective.
It is proven that hard skills do not guarantee success on the job. As a matter of fact, per Leadership IQ, almost 50 percent of newly hired employees fail within 18 months. Of those, only 11 percent of failures are due to lack of hard skills, whereas lack of soft skills account for 89 percent.
Technically qualified applicants know their value and, in the current applicant-driven market, often inflate their salary expectations. You may tend to blindly compromise with your original plans and succumb to hard-skilled candidates’ negotiation tactics. The problem is, higher salary does not always lead to better performance, as the above numbers demonstrate.
Another interesting report published by workforce.com suggests, if you neglect the soft side of candidates and rely primarily on their hard skills, you double or triple the odds of experiencing a hire failure.
Standardization. When it comes to talent acquisition, subjectivity is the big killer. From an EEOC viewpoint, lack of objectivity and formalization in the hiring procedure will definitely lead to legal trouble. It’s often difficult for management to be aware of the importance of formalization.
Important Soft Skills to Look For
In a Job Outlook survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), the top characteristics looked for in new hires by 276 employer respondents (mostly from the service sector) were all soft skills: communication ability, a strong work ethic, initiative, interpersonal skills and teamwork.
Per a research undertaken by LinkedIn in 2016, the most searched-for soft skills were:
• Communication (specifically, active listening)
• Organization (planning and implementing projects)
• Critical thinking
• Interpersonal skills (in one’s relationship to others)
• Friendly personality
By focusing more on hiring great soft-skilled employees, employers reduce the risk of legal trouble. Assuming you’re respecting the law — or are not consciously violating it — you’re still prey to hiring (a minority of) people who might not abide by the same ethical standards and could look at taking full advantage of the regulations to obtain monetary (or other) gains.
In addition to avoiding legal trouble, it’s proven that hiring the right people leads to higher profitability and viability for organizations.
Per the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the economic consequences of employing people with lack of vital soft skills can be fatal. Point in case, honesty is an extremely important and yet most difficult soft skill to evaluate:
• About 30 percent of bankruptcies in the USA are due to employee theft.
• Occupational fraud and abuse costs organizations about $600 billion annually or 6 percent of gross revenue.
Reducing personnel turnover by 20 percent could increase your company’s profitability by 75 to 100 percent (knowing that 79 percent of failed hires are due to soft skill issues).
In my recent whitepaper “Hire for Happiness,” I focus on the six drives, or soft skill-based factors, which provide a “Happiness Contribution Index” — it reflects an individual’s ability and willingness to contribute to others’ success and happiness. A strong combination of these drives has proven to be needed on any type of position, in order to guarantee success at work.
These drives are:
• Purpose drive
• Talent drive
• Performance drive
• Exchange drive
• Service drive
• Team drive
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Hire for Happiness