As we have mentioned in other updates, one of the most valuable tools a supervisor can have is a good employee handbook. The employee handbook not only helps you communicate expectations to employees, it can be a great resource to help your supervisors work through employee issues quickly and effectively.
We find, though, that many of our clients have supervisors whose familiarity with the employee handbook is as deep as that of the employees…they remember reading it when they were hired and that was the last time they looked at it. This is a shame because many of the day-to-day employee matters they deal with could be resolved by checking the handbook.
What is the best way to get your supervisors to use the employee handbook more effectively? Here is your checklist to get started.
- Make sure you have a current employee handbook to start with. Laws change and so do your policies. To ensure your handbook is a useful tool, you should update it every two or three years. When you update it, make sure that you distribute it to all of your employees and have them sign the acknowledgement that they received it.
- Focus only on the things relevant to supervisors. Don’t hold a meeting in which you go through the new handbook page-by-page…focus on the things that they need to know TODAY. Things like time and attendance standards, first steps of corrective action, call-off procedures, etc. Also, make sure they are clear on their responsibilities if an employee makes a claim of harassment to them, and what they need to do if an employee is requesting an ADA accommodation. Other sections can be addressed later as circumstances dictate.
- When holding your training session, leave time for questions. Talking about handbook sections is important…and so is practical application. Leave a good half-hour [at least] to discuss real-world situations. Ask them to provide situations in advance…things that they are normally confronted with so that they can be discussed. Other supervisors may have found good solutions to similar problems they can share.
- Make them use it! If you get a call from a supervisor seeking help with an employee issue soon after the training session, ask them, ‘what does the handbook say?’ If they haven’t gone there first, ask them to do so then call if they still need help. Or ask them to pull their handbook, and using yours, go through it together to see what the answer may be. To get them to use it, you may need to do this to reinforce it as their starting point.
Training supervisors to use the employee handbook to resolve employee issues ensures they can do it with confidence and consistency. The small investment in training time will pay off with supervisors who can address most issues at their level and only involving senior when necessary.
Many of our clients ask us to help train their front-line supervisors on how to be more effective leaders. This is truly one of our favorite kinds of projects because helping supervisors and other mid-level management be more effective is very gratifying. Not only does it help managers become more confident and better at doing their jobs, the payoff for the organization [and its customers / clients] is huge.
What is the best way to get started? It depends. If there is a very specific need that the organization has identified, addressing that first is a great place to start. But many times there is an undefined sense that training is needed but you cannot quite put your finger on what is missing. We often hear things like, ‘our supervisors aren’t good at giving feedback’, or ‘our managers don’t solve problems but pass them up to senior management to solve’. When you are having a hard time getting started, here are some ideas that might help you:
- What kinds of traits or behaviors are important for your employees or managers to possess? Is effective communication important? Problem solving? Customer service? If these are important skills and you are not sure all managers are up to speed on them, they can be a great place to start your work.
- How well do your managers and supervisors use the employee handbook as a resource? We often think in very employee-centric terms when it comes to the handbook but it can be a really useful tool for supervisors when working through employee issues. Many of our leadership development programs start off with a review of the employee handbook and how it can help the supervisor be more effective. Not only does this help the manager do their job better, a workshop gives them a way to discuss common challenges they experience and share solutions.
- What are the top 3 to 5 employee challenges your supervisors have? Looking back on the kinds of issues you have addressed over the past year or so, or simply polling them to see what is on their minds, you can come up with some common challenges and develop workshops to address them.
Supervisor training can be one of the best investments an organization makes in its people. Mid-level managers become more confident when addressing employee issues. They solve employees’ problems effectively. They learn how to coach people and help them in their careers. All of this helps you, your organization, and your customers.
The question comes up often when we work with clients…do we pay this job an hourly rate or a salary? This one is tough to answer…and many times we have to take the client on a journey to understand an important compensation consideration.
Often the question isn’t about paying hourly versus a salary per se…it’s more about whether the employee should be paid overtime or not. In reality you can pay employees an hourly rate or annual salary, but even if you pay an annual salary, in some cases you must still pay overtime. Why is this?
It comes down to the fact that in order for an employer to be relieved of paying overtime…in other words, for the role to be EXEMPT from overtime, it must meet the conditions of tests that have been developed by the US Department of Labor. Failure to meet the conditions of these tests means the job is not exempt from overtime, and the employees in that job must be paid overtime.
Basically, there are three tests that must be met completely:
- Salary Level: The minimum salary level required for exemption is currently $684 paid weekly [$35,568 annually and $17.10 per hour]. Anyone paid below this level must be paid overtime.
- Salary Basis: To meet the requirements of the salary basis test, the employee must be paid a predetermined amount for each pay period and compensation may not be reduced due to the number of hours worked in a work week or the quality of work completed. It also states that the employee must be paid their full salary if they perform ANY work for that week, but they do not need to be paid if NO work is performed during that work week.
- Job Duties: The third test is the job duties test. This test focuses on the primary duties performed by certain types of employees including executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales employees. These different types of employees each have specific duties tests that must be met for them to meet the requirement. Note that this means that the CONTENT of the job, and not its TITLE, will determine whether it is exempt or not.
For complete details on these exemptions and to learn more about other exemptions, visit the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division website.
Over the past few years it has been our privilege to work with a number of public libraries, and participate in library organizations at the regional, state, and national levels.
Since the pandemic started and libraries have had to find new ways of serving the community, we have been inspired by the resourcefulness and adaptability they have shown. The ways they have stayed actively engaged with the community through email messages and social media, making services available through technology, and adapting their services so that the communities they serve are able to access their library have truly been remarkable.
We just want to send a thank you to Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Clermont County Public Library, Delaware County Public Library, Stark County District Library, Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Westerville Public Library, Wickliffe Public Library, the Ohio Library Council, and the Michigan Library Association for being there for us and the community. We are grateful for the work you are doing to keep us informed, entertained, and engaged.
We are privileged to assist another public library with their recruiting needs. On behalf of our client, the Clermont County Public Library [CCPL] we are seeking exceptional candidates for a new Human Resources Director opening. The Human Resources Director leads the organization’s Human Resources Department and is responsible for the development and implementation of the library’s comprehensive talent management strategy. As the principal people manager, s/he will be the driving force behind the individuals who help realize CCPL’s mission to foster lifelong learning by providing resources that inform, programs that engage and ideas that inspire.
Specifically, the Human Resources Director will assess, set, implement, and achieve long-term Human Resources goals and objectives in the areas of employee relations, performance management, training and development, recruitment, compensation, benefits, compliance, personnel administration and others in alignment with the library’s strategic plan. Also, this person serves as the critical liaison to all CCPL’s staff and managers. In addition, the Human Resources Director is the primary Human Resources business partner to executive leadership.
- 10 or more years of professional experience in all Human Resources disciplines [employee and labor relations, performance management, training and development, recruitment, compensation, benefits, compliance, personnel administration, etc.] is required.
- A bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, Business Administration, or a related field is required.
- A master’s degree is preferred.
- Experience hiring, training, developing, supervising, and evaluating staff is required.
- Experience as a Human Resources leader in a medium- to large-size public employer is preferred.
- Experience with labor relations and collective bargaining is required.
- Experience with the requirements of transparency and openness in all matters required of public organizations is required.
- Experience in multi-unit / multi-location management and with distributed workforces is required.
- Experience building consensus and relationships among business partners, executives, managers, and staff is required.
- Experience using the internet, social media, networking, employee referrals, job postings, open houses, and virtual job fairs to develop candidate pipelines is required.
- Experience with capturing metrics and producing various employment-related reports is required.
- Experience collaborating with and influencing board members or trustees is preferred.
- Experience working as part of a senior management team is preferred.
- SHRM-CP/SHRM-SCP or PHR/SPHR certification is preferred.
- Comprehensive healthcare benefits including medical, dental, vision, life, and more.
- Generous paid time off benefits.
- Eligibility to participate in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System [OPERS].
About Our Client:
Clermont County Public Library began library service in 1955, with a bookmobile and a small office as its first facilities. Since then, the library system has expanded to 10 locations, achieving a goal of the Library Board to have a library within fifteen minutes driving time of all Clermont County residents.
To be considered for this position, please submit your resume and a cover letter [including salary requirements] via email to: email@example.com. No phone calls or faxes will be accepted. No third party candidates please. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
It’s our THIRTEENTH anniversary today! We couldn’t have done it without the help of some great people in our corner! Thank you Amanda, Alex, Heather, Cody, Melissa, Ryan, and all the others who have been a part of our success over the years.
And of course, thank you to all of our great CLIENTS…you’re the best!
We’ve shared the work we have done in the past with public libraries. Our success story for this month highlights our recent project with the Delaware County District Library, located near Columbus, Ohio.
The Delaware County District Library serves as the public information provider for their community, using traditional and innovative technology to encourage curiosity, free inquiry, and lifelong learning in a friendly environment. DCDL and its branches are vibrant centers of activity for residents and visitors in Delaware County. DCDL provides an inviting environment that encourages reading, learning, community discussion, and supports lifelong discovery. They are proud to be recognized for engaging minds, expanding opportunities, and improving the quality of life for Delaware County residents.
Based on compensation benchmarking work we have done for other libraries, DCDL contacted us for assistance in analyzing its compensation program and making recommendations to improve it.
Deputy Director Molly Meyers LaBadie was our project sponsor. She said:
We contacted OA because we knew they were familiar with the public library landscape in Ohio. We are a growing system in the central Ohio area that has seen a significant increase in population over the past ten years. Our residents, businesses, and visitors have a greater demand for the services that a public library system provides. This has led to new branches being built, an increase in staff, and new roles being developed to provide new services.
Additionally, we are in a very competitive region for professional library talent. In order to make sure we have the tools to attract and retain people, we needed to understand how we compared to other systems regionally.
OA not only provided us with the data we needed, they shared it with us in a way that was easy for us to understand and use. Apart from the compensation work they performed, they shared additional resources to help us improve our job administration processes. Throughout the project they provided status reports and met with me and the leadership team to explain their work and provide meaningful recommendations to help us manage our compensation programs.
We are working hard to make sure our library provides services that the community needs now. OA was a great partner on this project and their work will help us achieve this goal for our community.
Public sector employers are one of our specialties. Whether you are a municipality, agency, or public library system, we can help with your HR programs, including compensation benchmarking and pay structures.
We realize you are being inundated with COVID-19 updates from your consultants and other service providers. Simply for the sake of having a consolidated place to store these resources, we will be saving links to resources so that you can locate them in one place.
Keep in mind your state and/or municipality may have additional mandates. Make sure you check these resources as well.
If you have recommendations for other links, please send them our way.
US DOL WHD paid leave Employee Rights poster