HR Hot Topic for April 2015
Seven “NO-NO’s” in a Job Description
By: Ann Fisher, President – HR Alternative Consulting, Inc.
Job Descriptions are extremely important for every business. As a human resource consultant I review a lot of job descriptions, for Wage and Hour compliance, ADA compliance, compensation, training, writing interview questions, performance evaluations, and the list goes on!
The list of what should be in a job description is very long, but what should you keep OUT of job descriptions?
1. Opinions or recommendations – Just talk about the job with reference to how it is currently done, not how it might be done.
2. Instructions about how to do the job – Talk about outcomes and areas of responsibility.
3. Negative statements – Talk about what the employee does, not what he or she doesn’t do. (This could be a long list!)
4. Abbreviations and technical terms – Even if their meanings are well known to the employee, spell out technical details, so that those who might refer to the job description in the future understand the meaning.
5. Duties to be performed in the future – The general rule is that a function must have been performed for a period of 3 months before being included in a job description, in order for the employee to be familiar enough with it to provide the job analyst creating the description with the necessary information.
6. Occasional or temporary duties – Include such tasks if they are essential functions. When a job duty only happened once two years ago, leave it out!
7. Generalized statements – Clarify what you mean! Be specific.
‘It’s Not in My Job Description’
Finally, the job description should never restrict management from assigning additional duties not specified in the job description. The extra duties and responsibilities should not be considered “essential functions” of the job.
To cover that aspect, many companies add “Various other duties, as assigned” in the Essential Functions.
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Leading from the Middle
By Kira K. Wenzel, M.A., Organizational Consultant
The reality for most employees is that they are not sitting at the executive level. Rather, they make up the bulk of the middle to bottom of the organizational structure. While we often talk about leadership as a top down approach from the C-suite, decisions need to be made at a constant rate, dispersed throughout the organization. Often it is the employees that are “in the work” that can identify the problems, suggest changes to address these problems, and even influence. Individuals that are able to affect the organization and lead from where they are take a Leading from the Middle approach. It is important to note that someone that leads from the middle is not necessarily an identified high-potential or management track employee- even a formal management role. Rather, they can be any employee that identifies where and who they can lead with a strategy for doing so. When a person leads from the middle, they are attempting to influence up, down, and across the organization by synthesizing information, champion alternatives, implementing strategy, and facilitating adaptability.
Interviews with Jessica Nickloy, CEO etica Group, Inc. and Laura Sniadecki, President Titan Associates, Inc. dba A.G. Maas Company
How do these two savvy young women run their own business, while also being wives and mothers of young children?
Jessica Nickloy, CEO
Etica Group, Inc.
As the CEO of the etica group, inc., Ms. Nickloy is an industry leader. She managed daily business operations and has hands-on work with both architectural and engineering design and construction observation/verification services. Her experience with architecture and engineering related projects began in 1996, with Capitol Engineering in Indianapolis, and continued in 2005, with the etica group, inc.
Ms. Nickloy obtained her formal education from Purdue University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree. She completed engineering, surveying, and computer-aided design (CAD) related coursework while at Purdue University. Her engineering experience includes fieldwork on a number of projects including storm water permit support, construction easement acquisition, sewer separation, curb & sidewalk construction observation, and resurfacing and water main construction observation projects. With well-established business relationships, she works closely with clients, architects, and engineers as well as sub and prime contractors to ensure the timely and economical delivery of projects.
In addition to being CEO at Etica, Ms. Nickloy has a home in Noblesville, IN with her husband Alex and 4 children, 3 girls; 11 year old twins Abigail and Ashley and 5 year old Meredith and their 1 year old son, Harmon. Her entrepreneurial pursuits are naturally part of her family life, where all of her daughters are already thinking ahead to their futures.
(Read about Jessica’s additional accomplishments and associations at the end of Part I interview)
Laura Sniadecki, President
Titan Associates, Inc. dba A.G. Maas Company
Laura Sniadecki received her Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University. In 2006 following a career in account management and business development for a healthcare communications company, she purchased the A.G. Maas Company, which specializes in the distribution of facility maintenance supplies. She is the third generation in her family, behind her mother and grandfather, to own this 100-year old Indianapolis fixture.
Laura was selected as the 2011 winner of Indy’s Best and Brightest in the Manufacturing, Retail and Services category by Junior Achievement of Central Indiana and received the Avatar (Young Entrepreneur) of the Year award in 2010 from the Indianapolis chapter of the National Association of Woman Business Owners.
Laura and her husband, Mike, have a three-year old, a two-year old, and a newborn. When Laura’s not catching up on laundry, making her daughter’s baby food, or changing diapers, she enjoys cooking with Mike, dining out with friends, and practicing yoga.
(Read about Laura’s additional accomplishments and associations at the end of Part I interview)
Let’s learn more about these two amazing women and how they juggle their everyday lives!
HR: Did you start your business before or after you started your family?
JN: We started the business when the twins were almost 2 in 2005. My father and 2 partners started and I was helping as the business manager/marketing coordinator at the time. They really only needed me part time and I could work from home with the girls. But by 2008 I became CEO and was 51% owner.
LS: I bought my business nine years ago before I was married or had children.
HR: How are you able to balance a crazy personal and business life?
JN: There is a lot of time management and understanding from spouse, kids and those I work with. I try not to schedule too many meetings before 8:30 or after 4:30 b/c it cuts into my time with the kids. I have a lot of lunch meetings since everyone has to eat.
LS: I don’t even try to balance my life. My family always comes first and then my work; however, I’m amazed how the two can coexist. I can pick up my kids from preschool and participate in a conference call at the same time.
HR: With that being said, as a very busy business owner, wife and mother who wears a lot of hats, how do you manage to handle HR issues arise?
JN: Honestly I haven’t had too many HR issues but when they do arise I just cut to the chase. I am so busy and have lot on my mind that I get a solution and execute it. If that means getting an attorney or HR specialist involved so it is done correctly then that is what happens.
LS: I learned from my mom to try to always have a positive attitude and take one day at a time. It sounds so simple, but it has helped me through some of the most challenging situations, and I’ve had some doozies.
I am supported by a small team of three employees and each one of them is vitally important to our daily operation. We are all cross-trained to a minimum degree so that when one person is sick, we can cover for each other. I do not tolerate, a “that’s-not-in-my-job-description” attitude, and I try to lead by example by answering the phones, driving the forklift, and shoveling snow.
My team is the lifeblood of the company, so I place a high priority on anything related to them. Everyone has my cell phone number and is urged to text or call me anytime about anything.
HR: How have you managed to effectively run a company and care for your family (especially with small children)?
JN: With my 4 kids being so spread out I lean on the older two to help with the younger ones especially if I am working from home. There is a lot of answering emails while sitting at soccer or taking calls while in the car. It’s a very good thing I have Bluetooth:. I am working at night after I have put the younger two to bed. You really just make it work. Multi-tasking is the key!
LS: Technology has also played a very important role in running my company on the go. I bank, pay bills, and conduct payroll electronically, and our accounting software is housed on the cloud, so I can log in anywhere there is internet service, including my Smartphone.
You often hear that it takes a village to raise a child, and my children are no different. My husband, our nanny, my in-laws, my parents, my neighbors, our friends, the preschool teachers, and a whole slew of babysitters are a part of our village. When business ownership throws things at me at the last minute, our village supports me when it comes to grocery shopping, preschool pick-up, household emergencies, and so much more.
HR: Tell me about your typical day.
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