Managing Employee Attendance

And you thought “managing employee attendance” was just about getting people to show up for work on a regular basis and, hopefully, on time. Well, that is a big part of it and a reason why your BarryStaff recruiters try to find workers who have demonstrated an ability to swing their feet out of bed and go to work. But an Employment Attorney will tell you there is more to it and as responsible employers we need to be mindful of all the pits and minefields of government regulations where a misstep can be costly. Check out this short article that appeared this summer in CU magazine.

Managing Employee Attendance: Employers’ Rights and Responsibilities Under ADA, FMLA and the EEOC
Date: June 20, 2013

By Myra Creighton (attorney)
Managing employee leave and staying on the right side of the law is challenging for employers, especially as interpretations of laws change and evolve.

In 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission approved its Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2012-2016. In the SEP the EEOC stated five priority enforcement areas. One of the five areas is “emerging and developing legal issues,” including reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The EEOC is vigorously pursuing employers for failure to modify their leave and attendance policies to accommodate disabled employees. Moreover, an EEOC commissioner recently made the blanket statement that “disability-related absences cannot be counted against an employee.” Add in the time-off obligations from the Family and Medical Leave Act, and it is no wonder that employers can feel frustrated when trying to manage leave and attendance issues. Indeed, uniform application of leave and attendance policies can lead to liability under the ADA, and a failure to modify attendance and leave policies to accommodate disabled employees can result in a class action ADA lawsuit. Consequently, employers should be mindful of their legal obligations when addressing leave and attendance issues.

The ADA and the FMLA (as well as state disability and leave laws) may restrict an employer’s ability to manage employee attendance issues. An employer must assess its obligations under each law independently when attendance and leave issues arise. Since an employer could easily comply with one law but violate the other, the law providing the greater protection will control. Employers must train supervisors to recognize requests for leave or attendance issues that may implicate either law and should address attendance and leave issues from a centralized decision-making perspective to ensure consistent application of, and possible modification of, relevant company policies.

5 Questions You Should Never Ask in a Job Interview

Hiring managers and HR pros will often close out a job interview by asking an applicant if he or she has any questions themselves. This is a great opportunity to find out more about the job and the company’s expectations, but you can’t forget that the interviewer hasn’t stopped judging YOU. Here are 5 questions that can make a bad impression on your interviewer, scuttling your chances for getting the job.

1. “When will I be promoted?:
This is one of the most common questions that applicants come up with, and it should be avoided, says Rebecca Woods, Vice President of Human Resources at Doherty Employer Services in Minneapolis. “It’s inappropriate because it puts the cart before the horse.” Instead of asking when the promotion will occur, Woods says a better approach is to ask what you would need to do to get a promotion.

2. “What’s the salary for this position?”
Asking about salary and benefits in the first interview “always turns me off,” says Norma Beasant, founder of Talento Human Resources Consulting and an HR consultant at the University of Minnesota. “I’m always disappointed when they ask this, especially in the first interview.” Beasant says the first interview is more about selling yourself to the interviewer, and that questions about salary and benefits should really wait until a later interview.

3. “When can I expect a raise?”
Talking about compensation can be difficult, but asking about raises is not the way to go about it, Woods says. So many companies have frozen salaries and raises that it makes more sense to ask about the process to follow or what can be done to work up to higher compensation level. Talking about “expecting” a raise, Woods says, “shows a person is out of touch with reality.”

4. “What sort of flextime options do you have?”
This kind of question can make it sound like you’re interested in getting out of the office as much as possible. “When I hear this question, I’m wondering, are you interested in the job?” Beasant says. Many companies have many options for scheduling, but asking about it in the first interview is “not appropriate,” Beasant says.

5. Any question that shows you haven’t been listening.
Woods said she interviewed an applicant for a position that was 60 miles from the person’s home. Woods told the applicant that the company was flexible about many things, but it did not offer telecommuting. “At the end of the interview, she asked if she would be able to work from home,” Woods says. “Was she even listening? So some ‘bad questions’ can be more situational to the interview itself.”

With the economy the way it is, employers are much more choosy and picky, Beasant says. Knowing the questions to avoid in an interview can help you stand out — in a good way.


In your efforts to refine your managerial skills, don’t aim for perfection or try to imitate someone else’s style. Instead, determine how you might become an even better version of the boss you already are. Here are some strategies to try:

Lead by example. If you want your employees to work hard and push themselves to excel, you must be willing to do the same. Set high standards for performance and hold yourself to them. Be an example in terms of time management, client service and creative approaches to problem-solving. Set a professional tone by treating everyone — your peers, staff members, customers and vendors — with equal respect and courtesy.

Establish clear expectations. Make sure your employees understand their individual responsibilities and how they contribute to achieving the company’s goals. Explain the criteria you will use for performance evaluations so your team knows what you expect.

Set up your employees for success. Although it’s important to challenge your staff members and encourage them to acquire new skills, you don’t want to overwhelm them with tasks that are beyond their current abilities. When delegating tasks or calibrating workloads, analyze skills and assign duties accordingly.

Support professional growth. Take the time to find out each staff member’s career aspirations and motivations, then find ways to help them achieve their objectives. Share authority and responsibility to give individuals the chance to develop new skills and prepare for more-complex roles.

Delegating tasks and involving your employees in decision-making and planning are other ways to enable them to build their professional skills. Mentor promising employees so they can eventually move into leadership roles.

Keep an open door. Ask your team to come to you with any problems, and work at becoming a better listener so you can readily identify employees’ concerns, even when they are not stated directly. When employees believe their voices will be heard, they are more likely to perform at their best.

Also remember that communication goes both ways. Ask your staff to give you timely status reports and feedback about difficulties or challenges they experience.

Give employees more autonomy. Your responsibility is to provide strategic vision, establish goals, clarify objectives and set expectations. Your main focus is results, not process, so try not to become overly involved in how your employees perform their jobs. Give clear directions and guidance, then step back and allow team members to put their own talents to work.

Criticize with care. In a perfect world, your employees would do their jobs flawlessly. But the reality is that they will make mistakes, miss deadlines and forget to provide you with important information.

When the time comes to criticize, make it your goal to preserve the individual’s dignity. Meet in private and allow him to explain what led to the error. Rather than assigning blame, reframe a mistake or failure as a lesson and focus on what the employee might do differently in the future.

Acknowledge both effort and achievement. No matter what their position or level of experience, all professionals appreciate recognition, particularly when they’ve put in extra time or effort. With a single sincere statement (“You’re doing a great job, and I appreciate your hard work.”), you can help your staff sustain productivity and stay on schedule, even during times of peak activity. Sounds simple, but it works.

At staff meetings, congratulate individuals and project teams on their accomplishments. But don’t just wait for formal occasions. Spread the word whenever a member of the company achieves something important. For example, if one of your employees attains advanced certification, publicize it in the employee newsletter or on your company intranet.

Personal milestones are often inspirational and worth acknowledging, too. For example, offer congratulations if several of your employees participate in a marathon to raise funds for charity.

Experiment with these strategies, but keep in mind that they are not a hard-and-fast recipe. One of the most important qualities of a good boss is flexibility. Remain open to new management methods and techniques and be willing to experiment.

Looking for a Great Job When You Already Have One

Back in the day, people used to work at the same job most of their lives, put in 40 years, get a gold watch at their retirement party, and never dream of switching jobs.  These days people are not afraid to try other career options and make some moves.  If this wasn’t the case, we at BarryStaff would have a pretty quiet existence.  But people do make moves for many reasons.  Just take a look at this article by Susan Ricker who writes for The Work Buzz  on How  to Find a Great Job When You’ve Already Got one.

You know you’re lucky that you have a great job already, but you still can’t resist looking elsewhere. Maybe you’d like a better paycheck, perhaps your current role isn’t enough of a challenge for you or possibly you’re just interested in doing something new.

No matter your reason, it’s essential that you plan carefully if you are interested in leaving a secure job. By exploring your reasons for making a switch, making informed decisions and organizing a confidential job search, you can make the transition from one great job to another.

Explore why you may want to switch
People consider leaving their jobs all the time, but it’s different to actively start the process. First things first: Explore why you want to switch jobs. “Plan,” says Mary Elizabeth Bradford, résumé writer and career director. “Do your soul searching, write down your driving motivators — the things you must have … to feel the move was justified, such as a minimum salary figure, staying in a geographical area or getting out of an industry. Create a clear target and a plan to get there. Match up your skills and strengths [that are] transferable into your job of choice.”

If this initial research period inspires you, take the next steps in transitioning your career. Quantify your career accomplishments and make a list of your business contacts and those who would vouch for you.

Take the job out for a test drive
If you’re looking for different responsibilities or are interested in changing industries, take a trial period before committing.

“Instead of giving your two-week notice and hoping it pans out, focus on trying out the new career,” says Ramon Santillan, chief interview consultant and founder of Persuasive Interview in Houston. “You can do this by volunteering, talking to people who have been in the field you want to be a part of or joining professional organizations. Aside from helping you decide if this is the path you want to take, meeting these people will help you get your foot in the door, since they will probably know about any openings at their current companies.

“Volunteering or doing small projects in the new field will also build your case with potential employers that you are serious about this career move and can be used as experience when trying to get a job. Someone who is willing to take the time to learn a new field will be seen as being serious enough about a career move. This can be particularly useful when explaining to the hiring manager why you want to change careers.”

Search carefully
Once you’ve decided to move forward with looking for a new job, be sure that you’re still protecting your old one. “Any time you are in a job search, there is some level of risk that you must incur,” Bradford says. “You can minimize the risk by sharing [that] your search is confidential with key decision makers, not listing [that] you are looking for a position on your LinkedIn profile or posting your résumé to job boards. Also, if you speak with recruiters, don’t just send your résumé to a recruiting firm but call them first and ask to speak with the person in charge of your industry [or] discipline. Share that your search is confidential before you send them your résumé. They should agree that they will not forward your information without first telling you.”

Treat past and future employers with consideration
If you’ve found a career you’re interested in pursuing and score an interview, remember to be diplomatic. “The interview portion should focus on why you got interested in the field, the steps you took to learn about the field, the people you met and the types of questions you asked them, the volunteer or work on the side you have done, and how your previous experience at your last job will make you successful at this new one,” Santillan says. “Also make sure to ask questions during the interview about how the hiring manager got into the field and what the biggest challenges they face are. By this step, you should have already made up your mind if you want to pursue that new career or job, but it never hurts to confirm.”

When meeting with both your past employer and your potential future employer, be respectful of both times in your career. When explaining why you want to make this switch, Bradford offers this answer: “Although I have enjoyed much challenge and success in my current role, my passion lies in [blank] and I decided that I would focus my sights on transitioning.”

As the economy continues to improve and more jobs become available, switching careers will become more common. However, it’s essential to think through your steps and remain respectful of employers in order to ensure a successful next step in your career.