The HR Answer Book

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-06-30
  • Publisher: Amacom Books
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With changes in the economy, the job market, technology, and the law, human resources professionals and department managers alike are facing new challenges. Luckily, the second edition of The HR Answer Book covers these developments and addresses more than 200 questions that every employer needs to deal with, from recruiting and hiring to discipline and downsizing, compensation and benefits to training and employee relations. The new edition contains revised and expanded sections on FMLA, health insurance changes, and compensation laws, as well as information on salary reductions and using social networking to recruit employees. It is also packed with ready-to-use tools and checklists including: * 10 Questions to Ask Before Scheduling an Interview* Job Applicant Flow logs* Performance Goals forms* Exit Interview Questionnaire * And more The HR Answer Book is an easy-to-use problem solver that can be read cover-to-cover or as a quick reference in specific situations.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Employee Selection: How Do I Find, Attract, and Select the Best?p. 1
Finding Your Candidates
Conducting the Interview
Preemployment Testing and Screening
Making the Job Offer
HR Policies: Why Do We Need Them and What Should They Look Like?p. 35
The Employee Handbook
Performance Management: How Do I Evaluate Performance and Conduct Meaningful Performance Reviews?p. 49
Developing a Performance-Management System
The Performance-Appraisal Process
Conducting the Performance Appraisal
Employee Relations and Retention: How Do I Keep Good Employees and Maintain Working Relationships at All Levels?p. 71
Fostering Effective Workplace Communication
Structuring Reward and Recognition Programs
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Providing Meaningful Career Growth
Resolving Workplace Conflicts
When Employees Leave: Conducting the Exit Interview
Compensation: How Should Employees Be Paid?p. 97
Wage and Hour Laws
The Compensation System
Variable Pay. Bonuses and Incentives
Benefits: What Makes a Benefits Package Competitive?p. 121
Legally Required Insurance Programs
Benefits That Provide Economic Security
Benefit Days: Holidays, Vacation, and Sick Days
Health Insurance
Employee Assistance Programs
Retirement Benefits
Regulatory Issues: What Are the Major Employment Laws and How Do I Comply with Them?p. 153
Laws Prohibiting Discriminatory Practices
The Family and Medical Leave Act
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1979
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
When Bad Things Happen to Good Employers: How Do I Handle Volatile Workplace Issues?p. 185
Electronic Mail, Internet, and Computer Use
Violence in the Workplace
Substance Abuse in the Workplace
Monitoring Other Workplace Dishonesty
Conducting Employee Investigations
Termination and Discharge: How Do I Fire an Employee Legally and Humanely?p. 213
The Termination Process
Post-Termination Compensation and Benefits
Other Post-Termination Matters
Workforce Reorganizations: How Do I Manage Workforce Size in a Changing Business Climate?p. 231
Acquisitions and Mergers
Economic Challenges
Planning the Layoff
Implementing the Layoff
Considerations for Remaining Workers
Tools and Templatesp. 249
Indexp. 269
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.



Employee Selection: How Do I Find, Attract, and Select the Best?

Hiring is a basic need for any employer that has at least one employee

who is not a partner or family member.This is where the employment

relationship begins. Policies and procedures for employee selection

will set the tone for the interactions that follow throughout an individual’s

time with the organization.

Hiring someone is easy.Hiring the best candidate isn’t always as simple,

and it will require planning and a logical process.Whether you have

one job opening or one hundred, the process and procedures you use for

employee selection will be directly reflected in the results you achieve.


“Isn’t it as easy as posting the job on the Web?”

Web-based job postings are an important part of an effective recruitment

strategy, but not the first step.Technology and the exponential rise

in the use of online social networking have dramatically expanded the

sources and methods for identifying candidates, but jumping right in

without planning and preparation can bog down the process.

Some Preliminary Steps

Before identifying the best recruiting sources, you must clearly identify

the parameters of the job.While a complete job description is helpful,

it may not be available and does not always include all the information

you need. Answering the following questions will help you define the

job parameters. If you are the hiring manager, you will probably have

the answers to these questions already or you know where to get them.

If you are not the hiring manager, then the hiring manager is a good

starting point.

• What is the job title and who does the job report to? In your company,

a particular job title or level may have certain benefits or perks

attached to it. Does your company allow flexibility or creativity with

job titles? One candidate may only accept a job with a “director”

title, while another may be satisfied with a lesser title if you add the

word “senior.” Employers often add words like “senior” or “junior”

with the intention of upgrading an individual or adding an entrylevel

spot in a department. Use care in creating these new titles.

While the title of “senior sales associate” will add status, a title such

as “junior sales associate” can be a detriment.Think of the customers

or other employees who will interact with this person. Does dealing

with a “junior” inspire confidence? Creative titles are terrific as long

as they are appropriate for your culture both internally and externally.“

Brand Champion” might have a nice ring, but may not translate

into an understandable role in every business-to-business situation.

Speak to the person to whom the job reports to determine this

individual’s needs and expectations. In a larger department, the position

may report to a level below the hiring manager. In this situation,

you should speak with both persons.

• When does the position have to be filled, and how much does it pay?

A manager may demand a quick hire. Before you rush to offer the job

to the first available candidate, remember that the cost of hiring the

wrong person is potentially higher than leaving the position vacant.

The wrong person can make expensive mistakes or cause dissatisfac-

tion and turnover among other employees. Set realistic hiring timelines

that also take into account the availability of necessary

resources such as space, equipment, training, and supervision.

If you are filling an existing position, find out what the pay

range has been in the past. If it is a new position, ensure that the pay

rate is appropriate. If your company paid sign-on bonuses, relocation

expenses, or other incentives or special benefits in the past,

determine if they are available for this position and, if so, how much

money is available. Extra perks are far less common when candidates

are plentiful but may be necessary in industries or environments

where skills shortages exist.

• Who needs to meet or interview this person, and who will make the job

offer? Identify everyone who needs to be part of the hiring decision

and determine their general availability to conduct interviews.Also,

think about people who will be helpful in attracting candidates.

These people may include employees from a promising candidate’s

hometown or alma mater, as well as those with exceptional personalities

who might be effective salespeople for the organization.

It is often helpful to obtain many different perspectives on an

applicant, from both prospective superiors and peers. Consider having

an employee who is at the same job level as the open position

either conduct an interview, give a tour of the facility, or take a coffee

break with candidates. Not only is employee involvement in the

selection process good for morale, it will provide valuable feedback—

and a peer can help to “sell” the company.

The job offer should be made by the person with the authority

to make decisions and respond to demands.This can be the hiring

manager, a senior manager or executive, a member of the HR

staff, or a search firm, if one is used.

Worth Repeating: Tour Guide Obtains References

For a mid-management position in a service industry, a strong performer

met the candidate as part of a tour. The manager identified all

they had in common, including people they both knew and had

worked for. These names became the first references to be called.

• What are the skills/education needed for this position? What is the work

experience required for this position? Create a list of the core skills, edu-

cation, and experience needed to get the job done.You can add

additional skills and experience that would be helpful and designate

these elements as optional for successful performance of the job.

• Was someone promoted or fired? Where did the last person come from?

If the vacancy was created by a promotion, gather information about

the position from the person who last held the job. Check with the

hiring manager to ensure that the job content is not changing. If the

vacancy was created because someone was fired, find out if the termina-

tion was due to poor job performance or a lack of specific

knowledge or skills.

If the last person in the job had been hired within the past year,

check for a file of resumes of other candidates who applied for the

position. Find out whether the person came from a search firm,

Internet posting, networking, or other source, then make it a priority

to return to this source if it had previously generated strong candidates.

Maintaining applicant flow logs in a spreadsheet or database

will facilitate the process, particularly when resumes are filed electronic-

ally. A sample format can be found in the Tools and Templates

section of this book.

Better Forgotten: Great Post, Wrong E-Mail Address

A start-up in a major city placed a job posting on a site focused on the

town and industry. The posting included an e-mail address to send

resumes and responses to. The e-mail address was incorrect and

responses went into cyberspace. Candidates were lost and frustrated.

Double-check any information included in an employment posting.

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