My HR Journey

How I ended up in HR

I was at a tech industry HR event in Boulder a few months ago and we were all asked to talk about our “HR Journey” – what was it that led us to choose HR as a career. Or what was it that led HR to choose us?

The exercise required that we had to get up in front of everybody and tell our story. We didn’t have much, if any, time to prepare as we didn’t even know we were going to do this exercise. The first “drafts” of our stories were a little rough but then we were allowed to get up again and tell our stories again, and this time they were more polished.

I enjoyed the exercise because it forced me to really think quickly of a story that led me to choose HR as a career. My mind was blank but it came to me as I was walking up to the front of the room to tell my story. Funny how the mind works.

So here’s my story…

I started my career right out of college working for a Pacific Northwest based retail department store called The Bon Marche’ (which is now part of Macy’s). I worked my way up the ladder until I reached my desired goal of being a Store Manager. I loved being a Store Manager and in my 13 years as one, I earned the Store/Store Manager of the Year award twice along with a record number of performance awards during my tenure.

I learned that I loved building consistent high-performing cultures filled with employees who loved doing what they did in a tough, low-paying work environment. In retail, HR is a very important and vital element. It was what I enjoyed the most and I was very good at it and thought I’d do it for the rest of my career.

But there was a particular incident that occurred that led me to seriously consider leaving and focusing on HR as my next career direction.

It was Sept or Oct and a young pregnant woman came in for an interview for the Holiday season. As a Store Manager I always enjoyed participating in the interviewing and hiring process. She interviewed well, I saw that she had potential, and I decided to hire her. I didn’t care that she was pregnant. I only cared that she was smart, enthusiastic, and cared for customers. She would be a great addition to the store team.

Years later, she reached out to me via Facebook and told me how much she appreciated me hiring her that day. I had changed the direction of her life. Nobody else in town would hire her because she was pregnant. To make matters worse, she was single and pregnant and her life was a mess. I had no idea at the time but my believing in her and hiring her gave her new hope.

My team at the store was just that, a team that cared about each other and helped each other. The team took her in and she became part of the store family. She was surrounded by people who cared and she responded by giving us everything she had and became fantastic sales associate.

I’m very proud of the teams I build and how they always cared for and loved each other. That is what I enjoyed most about my job. Building strong high performing cultures of people that loved (or at least liked) their work.  That is why I went into HR so I can help leadership build strong, high-performing teams.

Today, this woman owns her own retail business, has her life together, and is doing very well.  She is also is the proud mom of a beautiful daughter.

Bottom line, the main reason I moved into HR was to use my talent and skills to help organizations create positive, high-performing cultures where people really enjoy coming to work. We spend huge amounts of our time at work and I believe our workplaces should be happy and supportive places where we enjoy being every day.

The ability to create and provide a high-performing culture where people want to be, directly helps accomplish the importance of business goals in any organization. The overall company performance improves, productivity increases, and financial performance improves – all of which produces greater shareholder value.

I want to be able to be a positive influence on employees and, by extension, their families by creating a positive work culture where the employee is happy and feels like they are accomplishing meaningful work.

Frankly, it’s the right thing to do.  And I’m glad I’m able to do it.

The Five Steps of Analytics

Second Entry in the Metrics and Analytics Series

Next in my series of metrics and analytics, I feel its important to discuss some more of the foundational elements, or the “first steps” as Jac Fitz-Enz calls it in Chapter 2 of his book, The New HR Analytics, in order to better understand the topic.

One of the first things to remember is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend time on metrics that are of very little value to a business. Value comes from the knowledge of things that actually matter and what matters most is a business question, not an HR question. Those of us in Human Resources have to decide what actually does matter to the business and for what purpose.

To help decide what matters, Fitz-Enz introduces five steps of analytics which I will review here:

Step 1 – Recording the work (hiring, paying, training, supporting, and retaining). This is the most basic of HR metrics and were we measure how efficient our organization’s processes are and how we can improve them. This step indirectly creates value for the organization by saving money and/or time, improving production capacity, or improving customer service by coming up with better procedures.

Step 2 – Relating to the organization’s goals (quality, innovation, productivity, service). These four elements, known as QIPS, cover all of the basic goals of most organizations. Goals related to these elements are set by the senior leaders who regularly review the organization’s results as compared to the organization’s goals.

It is important to align the results of our employee’s work to these goals which are related to QIPS. It shows the value of each employee’s work and how it aligns to the organization’s goals.

Step 3 – Comparing results to other organizations (benchmarking). This step compares the organization’s results to those of other comparable organizations. Some examples are comparing the turnover rate between branch stores in a large department store chain, or comparing sales results with organizations within your organization’s industry.

Of course, the more detailed data available from that comparable organization or group, the better the value of the benchmarking as there can be a great deal of variance between the different branch stores or other companies within your industry.

Step 4 – Understanding past behavior and outcome (descriptive analytics). This step is where the actual analysis begins to happen. This is where we start to look for and describe relationships among the data. It doesn’t, however, give meaning to any patterns. We start to see trends from the past but it’s important to remember that its very risky to accurately make predictions about the future from these trends as the marketplace is always volatile and rapidly changing.

Step 5 – Predicting future likelihoods (prescriptive analytics) This step compares what happened in the past to what will probably happen in the future. This is predictive analytics. This is were we start to see meaning to the patterns we see in the descriptive analytics described above. Some examples are when banks predict credit worthiness and insurers predict patterns of accident rates. HR can apply prescriptive analytics to decisions on things like the expected return on hiring, training, and planning of human capital.

As you probably already guessed, these five steps increase in value going up from Step 1 to Step 5. Step 1 is where organizations typically start by collecting basic data like cost, time, and quantity. Step 2 is an easy next step where we simply relate that basic data collected in Step 1 to the organization’s goals. Step 3 is where we compare the data from Step 1 to a comparative organization or group to see how we stack up.

Steps 1 through 3 deal with what are known as metrics as I defined here last week:

…metrics are informational and focus on tracking and counting past data. Metrics look at tangible data that are easy to measure and usually of lower value. Metrics tell us what happened.

Steps 4 and 5 are where the actual analytics begins to occur. I defined analytics here:

Analytics, on the other hand, are strategic and look at both past and present data using mostly intangible data that are difficult to measure and of higher value. Analytics are very helpful with gaining important insights and predictions. Analytics tell us why it happened.

In order to be able to negotiate resources for your HR department’s programs and projects, you need to know and be able to explain why, what, and how your department contributes value to your organization. You need to be able to defend and explain the value that you produce to the organization in order for them to justify the funding you want and need. If you can explain the value by using the language of the business, metrics and analytics, you will have a much better chance of earning the funding and/or keeping your programs and projects.

That’s smart business and HR must learn to think this way. That’s why I love Jac Fitz-Enz’ books and that’s why I’m working on this Metrics and Analytics Series. HR needs to fully embrace metrics and analytics and learn how to comfortably speak the language of business. That’s the only way we will be taken seriously by senior leadership and have a positive impact on the organization’s financial and business objectives.

A simple and common example would be to look at the quality of a hire measurement once we fully understand the cost per hire and time to fill data. The question is, however, how do we measure the quality of a hire?

Another great example is with training programs and how relevant is training to an organization? Are the trainees doing a better job because of the training they received? How do we measure this?

We have to be able to figure out how measure these things because putting value on work without any supporting data is ineffective and dangerous. Training programs are often the first programs to be cut when there is an economic downturn because there was no data supporting their value to the organization.

That concludes this week’s entry in the series. As I continue this series I will explore the methods measuring things such as quality of hire, quality of training, and many more that are important and relevant to HR.

Trouble in the Energy Industry

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Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Working for an energy company based in Colorado and Wyoming, I pay very close attention to all the employment events that happen in the energy industry.

Sadly, we are currently experiencing a serious downturn in the industry.  Just recently, on 3.31.2016, two separate coal mines in Wyoming laid off a total of 465 people.  Peabody Energy cut 235 employees at their flagship North Antelope Rochelle mine, the largest coal mine in the US, and Arch Coal cut 230 employees at their Black Thunder Mine.

The reason behind the layoffs is due to three things.  First, as in most mining operations, when the price of the commodity is high, operations ramp up and production is increased.  This almost always leads to an over supply in the commodity which brings the price of the commodity down.  Right now, there is an over supply of coal in the US.  The nation’s coal fired power plants currently have approx 95 “days of burn” stockpiled which is the highest level since 2010.  The power plants are saving their coal which is reducing demand and bringing down the price.  Second, cheap natural gas is taking away from the demand for coal.  The coal in Wyoming is competitive with natural gas when gas prices are $2.25 per million BTUs.  Right now gas prices are below $2.oo and are expected to remain there through 2016.  And finally, the unseasonably warm winter has made it difficult, dropping weekly shipments from western US mines to below 7 million tons compared to 10 million tons per week last year at the same time.  Year to date, US coal production is down 30 percent compared to last year.  It all has to do with basic supply and demand economics.

These recent announcements along with a series of other layoffs in Wyoming have impacted the local economy and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

Colorado has also experienced a series of energy industry layoffs but they will be able to better absorb the impact since the Denver area economy is much more diverse that Wyoming’s.  Wyoming, I fear will continue to suffer.

During the summer of 2015, most of the counties in Wyoming had ridiculously low unemployment rates but now, only a few months later, the rates are significantly higher.  Wyoming is the nation’s smallest population and a sizable percentage of that population is in the energy or energy related industry. There isn’t a lot of economic diversity in the state so when the boom is on, everything is wonderful.  But when the bust is on, things get tough.  Unfortunately, I am seeing the beginnings of another bust.

Despite this dire economic news, I have to give strong kudos to Wyoming Governor, Matt Mead who quickly responded to the layoffs by deploying the Wyoming Business Council, the Wyoming Department of Insurance, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, and the Wyoming Community College Commission to help the people in the communities impacted by the layoffs.

These state agencies immediately partnered together and set up temporary community resource centers for the people who were laid off.  They quickly set up centers in Casper, Douglas, and Gillette and were opened from 10-7 on 4/1 through 4/4.  These resource centers were staffed with experts who assisted people with unemployment insurance, job training opportunities, health insurance, and community health services.

In addition, the Department of Workforce Services offices in the same three cities extended their hours to 8-7 on 4/1 through 4/4 where they were available to provide information on unemployment insurance enrollment, job training counseling, job search assistance, and resume preparation.

I love the fact that Governor Mead quickly responded to the situation and did what he could to provide help to all the people who lost their jobs.  I have found that Wyoming has an excellent organization in the Wyoming Workforce Services.  I have worked with these people often and have found them to be very professional and helpful in all of their services.  They are good people who have the best interests of the Wyoming workforce at the top of their priorities.

It’s good to see a state government marshal it’s workforce services so quickly when there is a crisis.  I applaud Governor Mead and all the good folks who work at the agencies for quickly stepping up and trying to help these people out.  I fear many will move out of the state in search of other work but I hope many will be able to find work in Wyoming.  It’s such a small state without the economic diversity of most other states.

We’ll see how this all shakes out and I’ll keep you updated as things continue to develop.

When Looking for a Job, Take a Chance!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, I’m going to tell you a little story about my middle child and how she landed an amazing job in the tech industry before she graduated from college during her senior year.  There was a lot of hard work on her part studying hard and building relationships with her professors and advisers but there was also some chance in the events that led to what she is doing now in her first career.

At her university, like all universities, they have a series of job fairs for graduating seniors.  She attended all the job fairs the university hosted and spent time preparing for each by looking over the list of companies and deciding which ones she was interested in talking to.   I would chuckle when she would call me and ask me if I had heard about certain companies like Boeing and Burlington Northern.

When she arrived at one particular job fair, she spotted a booth at the front of the room but didn’t recognize the company.  It wasn’t on her list of companies she identified the night before but it was a pretty fancy booth so she decided to stop by and talk to the recruiter.  She figured she would take the opportunity to just to get warmed up and get a little real life practice before she started to get serious about talking to the companies she was really interested in.

My daughter ended up having a very good conversation with the recruiter and found out what the company did and that they were looking for some administrative positions in their corporate headquarters and trainers for their software implementations.   But she left the booth without leaving the recruiter a resume!  She figured she was just getting in some practice before starting to get serious with the companies she was targeting.  Later that evening she received a call from the recruiter who she spoke to at that first booth.  It turns out the recruiter was so impressed with my daughter during their conversation that she wanted to talk to her some more.  But she quickly realized that my daughter had left without leaving a resume so she started asking people in nearby booths who she was.  Fortunately, my daughter’s adviser was nearby and had seen the two talking and was able to give the recruiter her name and phone number.  She also had nothing but positive things to say about her.

The recruiter called my daughter that evening and scheduled a formal interview with her for the next day.  She apparently nailed the interview because the company flew her to their corporate office in Denver for a series of interviews.  There, two departments in the company interviewed her since she had expressed interest in both departments.   Ultimately, both departments wanted to hire her.  She found that out when the head of one of the departments actually called her at her hotel room and asked to take her to coffee that evening to talk to her again.  That department head told her this has never happened before – two departments vying for one candidate.   They had a nice conversation and the department head said that she would probably lose out to the other because that other department was more important and influential in the company.

Well, shortly after, she got a job offer from the more important and influential department.  The offer was extremely generous and I strongly recommended that she should absolutely accept.

She accepted the job and has now been working there for almost a year now.  She loves her work and is thankful that she decided to stop by at that first booth to practice before getting serious!

There are four clear takeaways from this story when you are out there job hunting.  First, explore all opportunities that are available.  You may not have ever heard of a particular company, but don’t let that stop you from interviewing with them.  There are more B2B and B2G companies out there that very few people have heard of but are just as prestigious to work for as any B2C company. Second,  relax and be yourself when you are interviewing.  My daughter wasn’t really trying hard to impress the recruiter in that first booth.  She was just there to warm up and practice and because of that she was behaving more naturally and like herself.  This obviously made a strong impression on the recruiter.  Enough so that she made the extra effort to find out who my daughter was and contact her for a formal interview.  Third, always leave your resume with every recruiter you talk to!  Most recruiters won’t take the time to figure out who you are if you didn’t. They talk to a lot of people at a job fair.  And finally, my daughter is awesome and I’m very proud of how hard she worked through college and her ability to start her career at a job she really loves.

The Mommy Track Bias

In a recent article over at SHRM, they discussed the bias against women and men (but mostly women) trying to re-enter the workforce after taking time off from their careers to stay home and raise their kids.  Most hiring managers and HR tend to think these women have lost their edge in their industry and are, therefore, not strong candidates. They are passed over during the hiring process for candidates who have not taken the time off to raise their kids.  I think this bias is wrong and have first hand experience that supports my belief.

I’m pleased that the article is supportive of these women and discuses the positive attributes and skills that stay-at-home parents acquire during their time raising their kids.

…some HR experts argue that stay-at-home parenting actually imparts skills that prove valuable in the workplace, such as patience, persistence, creativity and reliability.

“Careers for men and women, parents or not, are no longer linear, and an accomplished woman who took a career detour to devote herself to motherhood can still be an incredibly valuable hire,” said Marisa Thalberg, founder of executivemoms.com, a networking site for working mothers.

Matt Brosseau, chief technology officer and head recruiter at Instant Alliance, an HR staffing and consulting firm, noted that “there’s a level of patience and creative problem-solving you can gain only from dealing with a toddler.”

“When parenting, you are often forced to negotiate with someone who may not be reasonable, and that’s a good skill when dealing with unreasonable clients and others,” he said.

In my time as a store manager at Macys, I hired many women who had taken several years off to raise their kids.  The article does claim the retail industry is easier to assimilate than industries such as law, medicine, and IT.  I can easily say almost all of the return-to-work moms turned out to be fantastic hires and very valuable employees.  Many of them ended up being managers for me who have since gone on to very successful careers.  One in particular, is a regional director for a large specialty retail chain store who has thanked me many times for giving her a chance when she was re-entering the workforce.  Several others are now business owners or are in mid to high level management positions within their organizations.

I completely agree with the experts quoted above who emphasize the positive attributes gained by those who raise their kids. In addition to what they say,  stay-at-home parents learn how to juggle multiple priorities while being constantly distracted.  They have strong interpersonal skills in being able to negotiate and deal with difficult people.  They have learned how to manage difficult situations while instilling a sense of fair play.  They have learned how to motivate people to be their best.  And having and raising kids matures and humbles people.

These are all attributes and skills that are valuable in any workplace!

I want to include my wife who recently re-entered the workforce, in retail, after many years of staying home and raising our kids.  Its interesting to note that there were significant changes in technology that she had to deal with and learn but the core basics of retail are still the same.  It took her a little time to catch on the the technology changes but she did.  Along with her outstanding leadership ability, her selling skills, great customer service, and credit production, she is now a very valuable and highly desirable employee.  Her boss has tried to promote her several times but she isn’t quite ready to take that step yet but I know she eventually will and will be very successful.

Bottom line, hiring people who took time off to raise their kids is not as risky as most people think.  Any parent who has raised or is raising their kids should know how difficult the job is and the skills that are developed while doing so.  Sure, there will be a learning curve at first but there is with all new hires.

The bias against people who are trying to re-enter the workforce after raising their kids should end.  Employers are missing out on very skilled, motivated, and dedicated employees by passing them over.

Co-Working Spaces are Evidence that Flextime and Remote Work are Not Effective for Most

As my readers know, I’m not a big fan of the “flextime/remote work” trend that most of the HR media loves to support and promote.  I just don’t see it as being an effective option for the vast majority of people.  In fact, in my experience, I have found those who most want the option to work from home are those who are least capable of being able to handle and be effective with it.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some who can make it work well for themselves – freelancers, startup employees, entrepreneurs, and consultants, for example.  Again, I just don’t think it is effective for the vast majority of employees who work for organizations.

I defended Marissa Mayer back when she reversed Yahoo!’s flexible work arrangements and required all employees to work at the office.  The company was failing and she was tired of the empty parking lot and office and the fact the company’s vpn logs showed light usage.

She was quoted as saying this at an HR conference in LA as part of her reason for making the decision:

…people are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.

While I disagree with the first part of her comment that people are more productive when alone (there are many more distractions at home than at the office), I definitely agree with her that collaboration and innovation are better when people are together.

HR media were quick to criticize Yahoo! and BestBuy when they reversed their flextime/remote work policies and required their employees to come into the office to work.  However, the reversal seems to be a trend.  Just recently, Reddit also announced it is requiring all their employees to relocate to San Francisco in order to get all their “entire team under one roof for optimal teamwork.”

These companies are finding out that it isn’t working.  I predict there will be many more reversing their flextime/remote work policies in the near future.

To quote myself last year, I called flextime/remote work a fad:

I think there are only a limited number of people who can be productive working remotely from home. It’s a fad and will eventually be proven as such. People are social beings and work better when with other people.

It’s important to leave home and all its distractions and go to a place that is designed to get work done – the office.

It seems the marketplace agrees.

I came upon this interesting article in the Denver Post the other day.  It’s about the rise of “co-working” spaces where people who work from home or have flexible arrangements with their company can go to an office with others similar to them and get their work done.

The article proves my point and reinforces my opinion about flextime/remote work.

Turns out, we are social beings.  Who knew?  We like to get together with other people and socialize, even at work.  Interaction with other people generates more innovation and creativity.

The article opens with these  sentences:

After two years of working from home, Bruce Wolk desperately needed a change in scenery.

It was “mind-numbing,” the Denver-based freelance writer said, recalling the many days he spent alone in his small home office.

“The truth of the matter is, it’s so incredibly isolating,” Wolk said. “Each hour seems like three.”

“I needed to find a space where I could work easily and at the same time interact with other people,” Wolk said.

“There can be four, five people here, and everyone will be merrily working along and all of a sudden, a spontaneous conversation will break out,” he said. “You really can’t do that at home.”

Looks like Mr. Wolk is finding that he is more productive at the office.

In addition, co-working spaces eliminate the distractions of being at home and help people be more productive.  In the article, Madison Carroll, who has a remote work arrangement with her organization claims she is more productive in an office environment:

The days she spends at Shift (Boutique Workspaces) are “definitely” more productive than the ones spent at home, too, she said.

“You do laundry, you do something else. You don’t work,” Carroll said. “When I come here, I work. I’m here to work.”

Again, it seems like Ms. Carroll is more productive at the office than she was working at home.

My point here is that even those people and professions most conducive to flextime/remote work are finding that they are more productive and creative in an office environment rather than working from home.

Despite the efforts of most of the HR media, I continue to consider flextime/remote work a fad that will never be mainstream.  The marketplace is experimenting with it and finding that it isn’t working.

It simply doesn’t make sense for the vast majority of people in the workforce.  And it doesn’t make sense for the vast majority of organizations.

A Manager’s Most Important Responsibility

What is a manager’s most important responsibility?  It’s quite simple, actually. The most important responsibility of any manager is to hire the best people they can.

Think about it.

What happens to everybody’s workload when a manager makes a good hire?  We love it!!  A good hire makes everybody more productive by allowing them to continue their work while being competent enough to do their own. A good hire is somebody who others enjoy working with creating a positive work environment which increases morale and production. It’s motivating when the new hire fits in well  and effectively contributes.

What happens to everybody’s workload when a manager makes a bad hire?  We hate it!! A bad hire creates more work for everybody as they compensate for the poor performer.  A bad hire can also create a poisoned work environment leading to poor morale and reducing overall production.   A bad hire can make good employees flee the organization if nothing appropriate is done to remedy the situation.  We’ve all made bad, if not horrible, hiring decisions in our career.  I certainly have and have paid the price.

It’s vital that managers take the time to learn how to effectively recruit, interview, hire, develop, and retain great employees. So many managers “shoot from the hip” when it comes to these critical steps.  Sure they get it right sometimes and justify their methods by focusing on when they did but more often, they get it wrong.  With the huge impact a good or bad hire can have on an organization a manager’s most important responsibility is to hire the best people they can.

With that said, I will be focusing on and posting about my experience and the techniques I’ve learned over the past 25 years for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, developing, and retaining great employees.

This is re-posted from www.RichBoberg.com

Filing and Retention of Form I-9

As we near May 7, 2013, the date the new I-9 form is required to be used exclusively, I’ve been continuing my study regarding the form.  Today I want to suggest a filing system and discuss the retention requirements.

First of all, all current employees must have an I-9 on file and they should not be included in employee files.  They need to be maintained separately in a file (Electronic or hard copy) accessible only to the HR department.  Supervisors should not have access because of the protected information included on the forms.   I recommend that the I-9s be filed alphabetically by last name in a binder or in an expandable file to allow for easier auditing using a current payroll list. There should also be a “Terminated Employee” section in the binder or expandable file system which should be organized chronologically by retention date.

The “Terminated Employee” section is where the retention process is managed.  You must keep a terminated employee’s I-9 for the longer of one year from the date of termination or three years from the date of hire.  So for employees that have worked over three years, you retain their I-9s for one year after their termination date and for employees who have worked less than three years, you retain their I-9s for three years after their hire date. Since it can be a little complicated, here is an online calculator to help calculate the correct retention time.

Once the retention period has ended for a particular terminated employee, you should destroy the I-9 and supporting documents of that employee by shredding or burning so as not to compromise that employee’s protected information.

This is re-posted from www.RichBoberg.com

Form I-9 and E-verify

The new Form I-9 was released on March 8, 2013 and employers must start using it exclusively beginning May 7, 2013.  The purpose of Form I-9, as most of us know, is to help employers “verify our new employee’s identity and employment authorization”.

Along with Form I-9, there is E-Verify, which is an “internet based system that compares information from an employees’s I-9  to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration to confirm employment eligibility”.

Completing the Form I-9 
Section 1 – (Employee Section): The Form I-9, the complete instructions, and the List of Acceptable Documents, all nine pages, must be given to new employees on their first day of work.  The employee must fill out and sign Section 1 on their first day and should have it completed and checked by the employer before they actually start working.  They need to provide their full legal name, any other names they’ve used (e.g. maiden name), current full address (P.O. Box not permitted), date of birth, attest by checking appropriate box to indicate U.S. Citizenship or other legal authorization to work in the U.S., signature and date.

The employer must review all the information the employee provided in Section 1 and ensure they have filled in all the required fields and signed and dated the form.  In the case of the employee using a Preparer/Translator, the employer must ensure that section is also completely filled and signed.  Employers  also need to note when the employee’s employment authorization will expire and will need to remind those employees at least 90 days before the expiration that they need to reverify by presenting a List A or List C document.

Section 2 (Employer Section): Employers must complete and sign Section 2 within three business days of the date of hire (first day of work for pay) of the new employee.  Employees must present original unexpired documentation that verifies their identity and employment authorization.  Page 9 of 9 in Form I-9 provides the list of documents that the employee can choose to present and the employee. They must present one document form List A, or one document form List B in combination with one document from List C.  List A are documents that show both identity and employment authorization  such as a U.S. Passport, List B are documents that show identity only, and List C are documents that show employment authorization only.

The employer, or authorized representative, must do the following things in Section 2:

  • Ensure the documents presented by the employee are on the List of Acceptable Documents
  • Physically examine each document to determine if it is genuine.  If it is determined the document is not genuine, tell employee and allow them to present another document from the list.
  • Enter employee’s last name, first name, and middle initial from Section 1.
  • Enter document title, issuing authority, document number & expiration date, from the original documents presented by employee.
  • Enter the date the employee began work.
  • Employer must sign and enter name, title, date, business name, business address.
  • Return documentation presented to employee

Note: there are two dates in Section 2 that are required. The employee’s first day of employment and the date the employer examined the documentation presented by the employee.

Section 3 (Reverification and Rehire Section)This section must be filled out if the employee’s employment authorization or document authorization has expired, the employee is rehired within three years of the date their original I-9 was completed, or if the employee changes their name.

Penalties for violating Form I-9 lawEmployers must not discriminate on the basis of national origin, citizenship, or immigration status. They must also not hire, recruit or refer for a fee aliens they know to be unauthorized to work in the U.S.

Employers who violate the law may be subject to civil fines, criminal penalties, debarment from government contracts, requirement to pay back pay or hire those discriminated against.  Civil fines range from $375 per  to $16,000 per worker and $375 to $16,000 per violation.  Criminal penalties for engaging in  a a pattern of practice of hiring, recruiting or referring for a fee unauthorized aliens range from up to $3,000 per unauthorized alien to up to 6 months in prison.

E-Verify
E-Verify is a companion to Form I-9 and was created to “strengthen the I-9 eligibility verification process that all employers, by law, must follow”.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 prohibits employers from knowingly hiring illegal workers. To comply with this law, employers must collect information regarding an employee’s identity and employment eligibility and document that information on Form I-9. An employee must provide certain information on the form, such as name and date of birth, as well as present supporting documents.

E-Verify allows employer to verify that the information and documents that employees provide for their I-9 are valid and genuine.

So after the Form I-9 is completed, the company enters the information from the I-9 into E-Verify.  The employer can compare the photo displayed on E-Verify with the documents provided by the employee. The information submitted will be compared against millions of government records and if the info matches, E-Verify will return an “Employment Authorized” result.  If there is a mismatch, E-Verify will return a “Tentative Nonconfrimation (TNC)” result which the employer must print and review with the employee.  The Employee can contest the mismatch which requires the employer to refer the cast in E-Verify to either the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security or the Social Security Administration.  The employee then has eight federal government work days to resolve the mismatch.

This is re-posted from www.RichBoberg.com

Staffing a New Mine From Scratch – Introduction

I think I’m safe claiming that not a lot of HR professionals have been responsible for staffing a new mine from scratch – much less a new uranium mine.  There are currently eight (including ours) uranium mines operating in the United States with the most recent one, before ours, coming on line two years ago in Texas.  When we were finally given the green light to start construction of the mine in October of 2012, I had to start the implementation of the plan I had been working on for four years.  I want to share the steps I took in a multi-part series of posts, starting with this introduction.

It took a lot of work laying important foundations during the four years because there was no HR department when I started.  Everything basically was built from scratch along the way.  There are also not a lot of experienced uranium miners to recruit and hire.  It was a challenging undertaking but that’s what made it rewarding and interesting!

I’m very proud of what we accomplished and want to share it here on Hard Hat HR.  Hopefully you will find it interesting and helpful if and when you need to staff a new and remote start-up operation.  A lot of what we did can be applied to other industries but you will discover much of what we were able to successfully implement will only work in smaller rural communities – “Hard Hat” communities if you will.