Thursday, August 25, 2011

Labor Day

End of Summer, Back to School and beginning of the football season...that's Labor Day right? What does Labor Day mean to you? If you are like me, Labor Day means a well derserved day off marking the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. Well, just like Memorial Day, there's a little more to this holiday then that.

Did you know tht before Labor Day was an official US holiday:
  • the average American worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week?
  • children as young as 5 or 6 years old worked in mills, factories and mines across the country?
  • people of all ages faced extremely unsafe working conditions with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks?
Due to these circumstances, labor unions were formed to fight for better working conditions, hours and pay. The labor unions organized strikes to protest the long hours and low wages, and many times these strikes resulted in violence. Labor Day was created after the deaths of more than a dozen workers when the US government dispatched troops to break up a strike on the railways. In an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday.

Labor Day is celebrated in cities and towns across the United States with parades, picnics, and other public gatherings. For most children and young adults the holiday represents the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. When our children ask what we are celebrating on Labor Day, don't forget to tell them a little bit of history. Yes, Labor Day does falls at the end of summer and the beginning of the school year, but it also a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well being of our country. What will you tell your children about Labor Day this year?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hiring Exceptional Employee's

Hiring employees is something every company needs to do, and yet few seem to do it effectively. Instead of rolling the dice here are some pointers from our Human Resource Manager here at TranzAct Technologies, Linda Richardson:
  • Determine your needs and create a job description. Writing out the qualifications for the position you are trying to fill and prioritizing them will help you have a clear picture of the person you seek. Determine whether this would be better done by the manager or supervisor for which the new hire will be reporting to as they will have better understanding of what the position entails, including career-specific vocabulary. Writing an accurate job description will be an important guide to fitting the right person with the right job.
  • Advertise. Consider word of mouth advertising with people whom you are in contact with both professionally and socially. Besides the usual methods of placing ads in newspapers and career websites, talk to your exceptional employees and tell them what you are looking for.
  • Perform an initial interview with those who appear to meet your needs over the phone. Ask a couple of basic, yet key questions. Use these questions to determine if this potential candidate would be a good fit and to verify that no "red flags" are raised.
  • Face to face interviews are the time to ask open ended questions and listen. It can be helpful if another person joins you during the interview so what one person hears as positive or negative can be discussed afterwards. Forming a hiring committee to discuss the candidate is also a good way to ensure you are hiring someone that will fit in with the company as a whole. Be sure to ask all the candidates the same questions to maintain consistency.
  • Check references after the interview to verify information discussed in the interview. A reference check may be the single most important step of the selection process.
Hiring and retaining exceptional employees is a company's most important asset. The process your company follows for hiring will give you the confidence needed that the right person is selected.