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Via Forbes : From Open Hiring To Negligent Hiring: How To Reduce Risk And Promote Inclusivity

As employers face a critical talent shortage amongst historically low unemployment rates, organizations are turning to untraditional methods to source workers. While it’s not uncommon for a job listing to include a set of requirements for the position, what if those prerequisites were limited only to the ability to lift over 50 pounds, stand for eight hours, and be authorized to work the United States? No “previous experience required.” No “college degree preferred” or minimum GPA necessary. No verifiable qualifications demanded. That’s what candidates for employment at The Body Shop’s retail stores will find in store for them come this summer.

Open Hiring

Open hiring policies abandon traditional pre-employment screening, such as criminal background checks, drug tests, and verifications of employment, education, and references in favor of, “replacing scrutiny with trust.” In most cases, there’s not even an interview – any interested worker is eligible for hire.

While the unemployment rate in the U.S. lingers around 3.6%, that still represents an estimated 5.9 million people who are without a job. And for many of these individuals, their past histories, which may include criminal convictions, present barriers from getting a paycheck. In fact, one in three adults in America, or an estimated 77 million individuals, have a criminal record, and around 2.2 million individuals are currently inmates in the federal or state penitentiary systems. What’s more, criminal recidivism rates show that about four in nine ex-offenders will re-offend at least once during their first year out of prison.

And that’s where open hiring fills a gap.

From Greyston To The Body Shop

Since 1982, New York-based Greyston Bakery has utilized an open hiring model to “accept an individual based on current actions and future potential, not judge them on their past.” Open hiring hopes to curb criminal recidivism by getting people employed.

Greyston maintains a waiting list of individuals wanting a job. When a position opens up, the person at the top of the list gets invited to complete a paid internship at their bakery. Upon successful completion of the course, a full-time job is theirs. It’s that simple. Around 75% of Greyston’s bakery staff, which comprises close to 80 workers, have come through their open hiring model.

After consulting with Greyston and piloting open hiring at their distribution center in North Carolina, The Body Shop recently announced that it will adopt an open hiring model for its retail associates in the United States. Much like Greyston, candidates seeking employment at The Body Shop will be hired on a first-come-first-served basis, absent background screening, or drug testing.

By comparison to Greyston, the deployment of open hiring at The Body Shop is massive. The Body Shop employs around 1,000 retail workers during peak seasons, with 10,000 employees in total and annual revenue close to $1 billion dollars. And with size comes greater risk.

Negligent Hiring

Employers must act reasonably when hiring, supervising and retaining workers. Negligent hiring occurs when an employer fails to verify that a prospective employee may present a danger to the organization. Negligent hiring claims can be brought by an individual when an employer fails to screen a worker adequately, and that worker subsequently harms someone else.

In making a negligent hiring claim, the harmed individual argues that the business knew or should have known their worker’s background history before hiring them. While states have defined the elements necessary to prove a negligent hiring claim, at their most basic, the harmed party must establish:

  1. The employer owed a “duty of care” to others when hiring the worker
  2. The employer breached that duty
  3. The breach was the cause of the injury or harm
  4. The injury or harm was reasonably foreseeable
  5. Damages resulted from the employer’s inaction.

The bottom line: If an employer is not diligent in assessing a worker’s background and that worker harms someone, that employer could be on the line for the worker’s actions. And employers are responsible for the ongoing supervision of their workers and ensuring that their retention does not indicate foreseeable harm to the organization’s workforce or its clients.

Case In Point

Successful negligent hiring claims are disruptive to business and are avoidable. The number of lawsuits filed against organizations are numerous, with settlements averaging more than $1 million, and court awards often exceeding several million dollars.

Take the case of a healthcare provider who failed to perform a background check on its employee who subsequently murdered a client and his grandmother. A criminal background check would have revealed six felony convictions. Instead, two individuals are dead, and the company paid out $26.5 million to the Plaintiff, including $18 million in punitive damages.

In the manufacturing space, an employee shot and killed a coworker as a result of a workplace confrontation. If the employer had conducted a criminal background check and requested a reference check of former employers, the employer would have learned that the Defendant had multiple criminal convictions, including carrying an illegal weapon on the job site. The employer was found liable for negligent hiring, supervision, and retention.

And in retail, the actions range the gamut from allegations of sexual assault of a child customer to incidents resulting in the murder of coworkers. In all cases, the employer is held accountable for the actions of their employee if they could have reasonably foreseen the consequences of their employee’s actions.

Balancing Inclusivity With Risk

While open hiring models are admirable, they introduce risk to an organization that comes with legal liabilities associated with negligent hiring. Directly inquiring into and verifying an individual’s past can help to reduce an employer’s risk of a negligent hiring claim. Some states have even passed legislation that protects organizations from negligent hiring claims when hiring ex-offenders. And most employers are amenable to working with individuals with criminal records.

Here are some tips to avoid a negligent hiring claim while supporting inclusive hiring:

· Eliminate barriers in the pre-hire process

Ban the Box measures delay when an employer can inquire into a candidate’s criminal history. In some cases, they may also include special notice requirements and may also limit the types of criminal information that an employer can consider when making their suitability decision. Even if you are not in one of the 34 jurisdictions in the U.S. that have enacted a ban the box law, you might consider removing the criminal history question from your job postings and application so that all individuals are encouraged to apply regardless of their criminal history.

· Trust but verify

Ask candidates to disclose their former employment and education history. Verify that information looking for gaps in a candidate’s past. Engage in an open discussion with the candidate to understand how life events have shaped their work history; professional references that solicit substantive information can help develop a picture of the individual as a worker.

· Equitably assess criminal history

Employers should avoid blanket policies that exclude individuals from hire. Instead, employers should create policies that promote fair hiring practices. In particular, employers are encouraged to following the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance and consider:

  • The nature and gravity of the crime
  • The time that has passed since the crime or completion of the sentence
  • The relationship of the crime to the worker’s ability to perform the job without reasonable cause of harm to the organization

· Screen proportional to role

Not all workers introduce the same amount of risk to an organization. Employers should consider tailoring their background screening practices to align with the roles their workers will fill. Identity verifications and reviews of previous employment and references should be a must for all workers. Criminal record searches and drug testing may be relevant for some positions but not others. And industries like energy, finance, healthcare, and transportation must meet specific minimum background check requirements as identified within the regulations that govern them.

· Benchmark to avoid negligence

Remember that negligence results when an organization falls below a reasonable standard of care. Employers should network with other businesses in their industry to set a baseline for screening. Falling below that baseline could be evidence of negligent hiring practices.

Good Intentions May Lead To Bad Consequences

While open hiring models are a novel way to approach recruiting, employers should proceed cautiously and understand the legal risks associated with adopting an open hiring model. Employers can still foster inclusivity and embrace change for the better while taking reasonable measures to protect their workforce and guests through effective background screening.

Via Business 2 Community : 4 Key Employee Engagement Success Factors

A strong team is productive, loyal, and dedicated to customer satisfaction. An ideal team makes it their mission to go above and beyond. When everyone’s motivated to do just enough to keep their jobs, how do you motivate workers to continue to learn and grow? By understanding the factors that affect employee engagement you can motivate your workforce.

Fully engaged employees have been shown to be 21 percent more profitable. Address employee disengagement in the workplace can help your business’s bottom line and overall success. Here are some of the biggest employee engagement success factors, and how to make improvements that raise both motivation and productivity.

Employee engagement success factors to cultivate

Employee engagement boils down to the quality of your company’s relationship with its people. Do you show workers appreciation? Do you give social rewards in addition to monetary ones? Do employees feel comfortable and empowered to speak their minds, share good ideas, and encourage coworkers?

These details go far in making employees feel like they’re doing more than “just” a job. It makes them feel they are stakeholders in your business—active participants doing meaningful work. When this happens, employees will feel a deep connection to their organization, and they will care about success as much as you do.

Here are some of the major factors that affect employee engagement and how to improve them.

1. Company culture

What’s the overall emotional climate of your organization, and how do people feel in general? Is the workforce relaxed, friendly, and smiling? Or is it tense, closed-mouthed, and alienated? Assess the general morale, perhaps supplemented by a survey asking employees to detail their feelings about the company culture, and then find ways to improve it.

Your culture is made up of values and behaviors. Make engagement itself a value and encourage engagement as a behavior. Seek to increase collaboration as much as possible and support making social connections.

Explain your company’s overall mission and tell every employee how their individual work helps to further that mission. This gives your team a sense of purpose and belonging, which are important for a strong culture of engagement.

Finally, include everyone—even those in entry-level or junior roles. Employees who feel excluded from company culture will demonstrate poor productivity and under performance.

2. Employee participation

Never view employees as cogs in a wheel, thoughtless drones content to do repetitive tasks. Everyone has ideas and encouraging employees to share their thoughts has benefits: you not only show that you value their intellectual capabilities, but you might get some useful information, as well. After all, who has more insight into the work your company does than the people doing that work every day?

Give employees a platform where they can easily share their ideas with all levels of the organization. Allow people to have open conversations about work, education, or even on social topics. Because even conversations that aren’t directly about how to work better can strengthen social ties and cohesion. You may receive critical feedback, and if this is the case, don’t panic. Show your ability to take difficult feedback into consideration and your team will respect you all the more.

Finally, encourage employees to recognize each other’s accomplishments. Not only does it spread warm, fuzzy feelings between coworkers, it makes people feel they are empowered to give praise. The more you allow and encourage people to express themselves, the more they will feel valued and engaged.

3. Good management

The majority of employees interact with their managers and supervisors on a regular basis. These leadership positions are one of the main ways that the employee-organization relationship is expressed and experienced by most people. So, choose the right managers.

Your managers should be motivated by a desire to help employees expand and reach their full potential. They must have detailed knowledge about your industry and the roles they oversee in order to make wise decisions.

Employees need managers they can respect: competent, smart leaders who aren’t in it for the sake of their own egos. You need to coach your management team on engagement strategies, ensuring they watch employee progress while constantly giving feedback and emotional engagement.

In many ways, managers are the face of your company. Be careful who you choose to represent you, as the wrong person can do irreparable damage to the employee-organization relationship.

4. Frequent recognition

Of all the steps we’ve discussed, employee recognition could be considered the most important.

Without the work employees do every day, your company couldn’t exist. Make sure to express this! It’s especially important that managers and leaders give recognition, as it’s proven to be a powerful form of reinforcement. Recognition should be frequent, as 85 percent of employees who were recognized weekly said they felt satisfied, and 75 percent of employees who were recognized by management at least once a month reported high levels of job satisfaction. And yet, most employees do not receive recognition from management frequently enough.

The data is clear: With 46 percent of employees feeling only “moderately” valued by supervisors and 30 percent feeling “not very” or “not at all” valued by supervisors, a little recognition goes a long way. It makes people want to work harder and can solve a lot of your pain points, including high turnover, low morale, or a poor company culture. Make it a priority to recognize your employees on a frequent basis and make the act of recognizing a social activity everyone in the company can get involved in. Recognition is the leading driver of employee engagement; don’t lose sight of this massive opportunity to improve your business and employee experience through recognition.

Via Forbes : Surprise—Millennial And Gen-Z Workers Are More Loyal Than You Think

Millennial workers are opportunists who, in flitting from job to job, aren’t the least bit loyal to their employers. Or so says conventional wisdom.

And while the 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey reports that nearly half of Millennials (49%) would, if they had a choice, quit their current job in the next two years, a new study challenges that trend: According to Zapier’s Digital Natives Report, Millennial employees, on average, plan to stay at their current job for 10 years. And Gen-Z, at six years, isn’t far behind.

So how can these seemingly contradictory facts co-exist? Simple: It’s all in the numbers.

If 49% of Millennials are apt to leave their current job within two years, that means, conversely, a full 51% are planning to stay long term and perhaps even until retirement.

The aha? When it comes to job loyalty, it’s all or nothing for our youngest generations. If companies can inspire their commitment, they’ll go all-in—even, as the Digital Natives Report asserts, to the point of job burnout.

But to win—and sustain—that kind of loyalty, employers must score a workplace trifecta: salary, purpose, and employee development.

Salary

Like other generations, Millennials rate salary as the most important reason for accepting a job. Not to mention that nearly three out of four Millennials (74%) and Gen-Zers (73%) expect a pay raise every year in order to stay at their current company. What’s more, they are much bolder in their approach to salary negotiations than their older colleagues.

All to say, to attract and retain Millennial and Gen-Z talent, employers must prioritize a competitive salary with annual pay raises. And yet, as paramount as the paycheck is for this debt-ridden generation, it’s not the only consideration.

Purpose

The notion of work-life balance is becoming obsolete, as it insinuates that our professional and personal lives are somehow separate and distinct. But in the new world of 24/7 connectivity, younger workers, especially as digital natives, believe that work and life happen simultaneously and thereby can’t be extricated from one another.

Additionally, the Digital Natives Report notes that 73% of Millennials and 65% of Gen-Zers see their work as an integral part of their personal identity—a key reason why purposeful work is particularly important to them. Besides, if work is life and life is work, then work needs to really matter.

Simply put, then, Millennials and Gen-Z expect a workplace that fully empowers them to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to make a difference in the world—and that requires a like-minded company culture. Otherwise, they’ll take their talent, energy and loyalty elsewhere.

Employee development

Millennial college grads don’t feel prepared for today’s evolving workforce, and that makes being able to upskill while on the job a major perk. Moreover, most employers think that younger workers tend to lack some key workplace skills—critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, leadership, and intercultural fluency, among them.

Thus, it’s no wonder that Millennials, as well as Gen-Z, are seeking workplaces that can fill the gap between their education and their career. Accordingly, on-the-job learning is no longer just a nice perk; in fact, according to Deloitte, the opportunity to learn is now a top reason that job candidates will accept an employer’s offer.

And it’s not only technical skills that younger workers want to learn on the job. They also want to acquire professional skills that will not only last a lifetime, but also can’t—and won’t—be replicated by AI. That’s because, as robotic technology advances, they instinctively understand that “the answer isn’t to out-do the machines, it’s to be more human.”

A workplace trifecta

The all-or-nothing loyalty of Millennials and Gen-Z is good news for today’s employers. That is, if they can, and will, pay them a competitive salary with annual raises, provide a purpose larger than themselves, and present ongoing opportunities to develop and upskill while on the job.

And then what? These youngest—and all-too-often-misunderstood—generations will do the rest.

Via Economic Times : How to execute a plan for a good performance review

Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone and ace your annual appraisal.

It’s that time of the year that you detest. As the financial year closes next month, you are due for your annual performance appraisal meeting. You dislike being evaluated for the ups and downs of an entire year. However, understand that the review meeting has three goals. Firstly, to give you managerial feedback on what worked well and what didn’t. Secondly, to help you modify your approach and execution and achieve better outcomes both for you and your employer. Finally, to take a call on your responsibilities for the future as well as to decide on your increment. Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone.

Plan ahead

Look up the HR policy. Ask senior members about what to expect, if this is your first review in the firm. Who will conduct your appraisal and when? Do you need to submit a self-appraisal in advance? What are the parameters that will be considered for your salary increment and promotion if any? Once you are up to speed, you can plan the actions you need to take.

Critical incident record

Since the review judges your performance over the entire year, both your manager and you need to review major milestones in your journey. Go through your notes and emails to make a list of your achievements, metrics for their measurement, and how they stack up against the goals and targets set for you at the beginning of or through the year. Don’t forget to log any praise, incentives or awards you may have received for your outstanding work during thi ..

Dummy evaluation

Carry out a mock evaluation of your performance from the perspective of your manager. What were his KRAs and how did you contribute to them? How do you measure up against your team mates whose performance is also being reviewed by him? Is it a company policy to force rank each person against the others? The higher the degree of realism and honesty you bring into the dummy evaluation, the lower will be the risk of you being surprised during the actual review. These insights will also help you plan your contributions for the next year.

Areas of development

Now focus on the second purpose of the appraisal. Think through your shortcomings, how would you like to grow in the coming year and prepare to discuss the areas of development that your manager is likely to bring up. Bring a workable plan to the table and your manager is likely to view your constructive approach in a positive light.

Next year’s goals

What kind of goals do you want to achieve in the next 12 months that are both important to your manager and will progress your career? How will you add value to your team or enhance the contributions of others? List out prospective goals, projects and the resources you will need. Ideally, this part should occupy a major portion of the review meeting and lessen the burden of criticism both for your manager and you.

Prepare your manager

An ideal review meeting has no surprises. This is possible when your manager and you have been reviewing your progress on a monthly or quarterly basis. If that has not happened, bring up the topic of review with your manager right away. That gives him a month to think through. Then, share your preparation with him in writing. This helps him remember your contributions, understand what you are thinking and reduces the burden of uncertainty for you.

Be open to dialogue

Confirm the place and time with your manager in advance. Expect to receive feedback and rehearse how you are going to respond to criticism, tough requests and challenging questions. This is a professional meeting so steer away from emotional responses . Treat the appraisal meeting like any other project review and strive to engage in constructive two-way communication.

Always be closing

The ABC for a salesman is – Always Be Closing. Your approach during the meeting is to seek closure on the past and an agreement on the future. Pick on the points that matter most to you and negotiate on reasonable targets and fair incentives for the coming year. If there is no official record of the meeting, then write an email to your manager thanking him for the meeting and enumerating the goals that you have agreed on. This will serve as a blue-print for your future. In case your manager needs to submit the review to the HR, then follow-up until that is done so that your increment is not delayed.

Dealing with disaster

1. Reality check?

Were you blindsided by a terrible appraisal while you expected a moderate to good review? Firstly, acknowledge your hurt and anger. Once you have calmed down, do a reality check. Speak with trusted colleagues to review your manager’s inputs and be open to acknowledging your errors, if any. Thereafter if you still disagree, you can discuss it again with your manager or the HR.

2. Job at stake?

Did the criticism imply that your job is at stake? If yes, recognise that it is not just a question of your performance alone and that business circumstances may dictate such decisions. Acknowledge that your employer has the right to terminate or replace you, just as you have the right to switch jobs. Plan accordingly.

3. Comfort zone?

Recognise that there is no free lunch. Inaction is not a strategy here. You can either choose to switch jobs or vastly improve your contribution in the present one. Step out of your comfort zone to figure out what the market will pay for your experience, skills and history at your current role. If not, then what’s your plan to up your game and rebuild your image?

4. Fort or linchpin?

There are two sure fire strategies to protect your income stream. The fi rst one is to become irreplaceable in your current role where you construct a fort around your turf and become indispensable. When the cost of replacing you is high, your job is safe, but you will not grow. The alternative is to become a linchpin, where your attitude and people skills make you invaluable for any task.

5. Direction check?

While you are grappling to protect your income, take a step back to evaluate the direction your career is taking? Who do you want to become in next 5 or 10 years? Are you picking up the right skills and experiences to progress in that direction? This is a great time to realign your priorities, make changes and seek a better role.

Via Fast Company : The Body Shop will start hiring the first person who applies for any retail job

No interviews, no background checks, no drug tests. When there is a job available, just answer three yes-or-no questions and the job is yours. It’s a new philosophy called “open hiring”—and it works.

Almost all retailers run background checks on prospective employees—one of the many obstacles for people who were formerly incarcerated and are now trying to find a job. For other job seekers, a drug screening for marijuana might cost them a position even in states where recreational use is legal. This summer, the Body Shop will become the first large retailer to embrace a different approach, called “open hiring.” When there’s an opening, nearly anyone who applies and meets the most basic requirements will be able to get a job, on a first-come, first-served basis.

The company piloted the practice, which was pioneered by the New York social enterprise Greyston Bakery, in its North Carolina distribution center at the end of 2019. “We’re not asking for your background check,” says Andrea Blieden, the general manager of the Body Shop for the U.S. “We’re not asking for you to be drug screened. And there’s only three questions to get a job. It’s, ‘Are you authorized to work in the U.S.? Can you stand for up to eight hours? And can you lift over 50 pounds?’ If those three questions are answered, then we will give you a chance to come work in our distribution center.”

At Greyston, this approach to hiring is a fundamental part of the business, which sells baked goods to customers such as Whole Foods and Ben & Jerry’s. “At the heart of it, Greyston’s mission is to impact people facing barriers to employment,” says CEO Mike Brady. The social enterprise’s slogan reads, “We don’t hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people.” When there’s an opening, the job is filled from a list of people looking for work. New hires start as apprentices and get training in both how to do the job and basic life skills; those who decide to stay after the apprenticeship get an entry-level job and the opportunity to advance. The system works well enough that the company sold 8 million pounds of brownies in 2019, making $22 million. This year, Greyston launched a nonprofit, the Center for Open Hiring, in 2018 to help other businesses implement the same process.

“There was then a lot of momentum around business as a force for good, and we were leveraging that momentum and began to work on a strategy to scale open hiring,” Brady says. “And there’s now, as we all know, a ton of tailwind around just finding employees and getting talented people in the organization. Thankfully, people are thinking differently about how to bring good people into their business.”

Roughly a year ago, the Body Shop learned about the approach, when Greyston gave the company a presentation along with other social enterprises and activists who were invited to an internal launch of a new brand purpose—”We exist to fight for a fairer, more beautiful world.” Greyston’s talk resonated. “It really ignited all of us to think about how we can become a more inclusive employer and how we can implement open hiring practices in our business,” says Blieden.

By June, the retailer’s entire HR team in the U.S. had flown to the bakery’s manufacturing plant to see, firsthand, how the bakery hired staff and helped its employees build careers. The team visited again in September and then began meeting with supervisors at its own distribution center, saying that they wanted to move quickly and pilot the new approach by the time the center was hiring seasonal staff for the holidays. The distribution center hires more than 200 people as seasonal staff.

The results were striking: Monthly turnover in the distribution center dropped by 60%. In 2018, the Body Shop’s distribution center saw turnover rates of 38% in November and 43% in December. In 2019, after they began using open hiring, that decreased to 14% in November and 16% in December. The company only had to work with one temp agency instead of three.

Supervisors told Blieden that seasonal staff were approaching them to share their stories. “They said things like, ‘I’ve been struggling to find a job. This is one of the only places that would hire me, and I’m not going to mess this up,’” she says. “When you give people access to something that they’re struggling to find, they’re very committed to working hard and keeping it.”

Greyston has seen similar benefits with retention rates. A Johns Hopkins study also found that employers who “banned the box” and stopped asking applicants if they had a criminal record also had less turnover. The Body Shop also saw increases in productivity—likely not solely due to the change in staff, it says, but a sign that both internal processes and staff were improving. “That’s just a demonstration that we have these biases in our recruiting system that are preventing good people from getting into the workforce,” Brady says. At the Body Shop, the money saved in recruiting, screening résumés, interviews, and background checks will be redirected into training, employee benefits, and programs to support new employees with challenges such as transportation issues that can make it difficult for employees to get to work on time.

The Body Shop plans to expand the practice to all of its retail stores this summer, where it employs around 800 people, and as many as 1,000 during the holidays. It’s not a pilot, but a permanent shift in how it handles hiring. “I think for us, it was, if you believe in it, just go ahead and do it,” says Blieden. “The more time that you spend trying to figure out how you’re going to do it—and what is it going to look like, and what do people need to be worried about, and what do you have to prepare for—the more you hinder your company’s ability to do something like open hiring. Because you create the bias and you create the barrier. So for us, in our distribution center, the biggest learning was do it. Go fast. Try it and see what happens.”

It’s something that Greyston hopes will inspire more companies to follow. “The Body Shop acted with urgency because they saw the need,” Brady says. “And I hope other businesses that learn about this model can learn from the Body Shop’s example and act with the same level of urgency, because our community needs change. And businesses need to adopt good new business models that work for them.”

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