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It’s All About Habits

The Key to Success – is Success!

The big key to making improvements your life is breaking old bad habits and creating new ones that serve you well. There are several great books about habits – Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer.  They are all great books and worth reading. I’ll share one idea from each book that resonated with me.create good habits for managing HR for your business

In the book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, I learned that success breeds success. The way to create your success is to set the bar low enough that you can’t help but succeed. That success, no matter how small, will propel you to want more. The author tells a story of a doctor whose patient was a single mother with several children and she had little to no time left for her own self-care – like diet and exercise. The doctor asked her if she could march in place during one commercial every evening. She quickly agreed to the assignment and soon she was finding more time to exercise. So the key to success is success.

In the book Switch, the Heath brothers remind us of how important it is to create an environment where we can succeed. That environment may mean that you surround yourself with people who also care about your success or if you are trying to eat healthy food, to make sure it is readily available. The ability to create new habits is like building a muscle. The more you do it, the more muscle memory you have and the easier it gets.

In the book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg shares the habit loop, which includes the environmental cue, the behavioral routine and those lead to the reward. Duhigg encourages us to look at each of those separately and by perhaps changing the environment you can change the habit. Or, changing the routine that comes from the cue could change or create a new habit or change the reward. An example might be if you want to get up earlier in the morning to exercise, you might want to turn the television off and read at 9 p.m. Changing your environmental cue might lead to going to bed earlier and getting up earlier to exercise. If you want to change the routine, you might exercise first thing in the morning – your cue being getting up in the morning and the behavior routine is exercising as soon as you get up. Lastly, the reward. In the example of exercise, you might decide that every time you exercise in the morning your reward is going to your favorite movie over the weekend.

No doubt there is something to be said for 21 days to create a habit. That is reassuring to me, if I can just stick to the new habit for 21 days I’m home free. This year I decided to create a new habit each month. It’s pretty exciting to think that I could actually create 12 new habits in 2017!  I have an accountability partner and a list of habits that I’d like to change – that could really take my life into a new direction. My challenge is to make sure that I am limiting what I want to change to one habit a month. That way I have a better chance of success.

What habit would you like to create or get rid of?

The Crack Down on Immigration – What it means to Business Owners 

Business owners today are 3 times more likely to be audited by ICE. We have heard and continue to be reminded by the President and the media that the Trump Administration places a high priority on immigration reform.  This really matters to business owners. Here’s why. 

Immigration Customer Enforcement (ICE) Agents and the Department of Homeland Security are the two government agencies who enforce I-9 compliance. The Trump Administration is hiring 10,000 more immigration and custom enforcement agents. Their focus will likely be to make sure employers have compete I-9 forms for all employees. And if your company has 25 or more employees, you’re required to use E-Verify for all of your new hires.

Are you ready? 

On November 6, 1986, the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act required employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees and created criminal and civil sanctions for employment related violations. This means that all employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all individuals hired in the United States by requiring the employee on their first day of employment to complete the Form I-9 as the means of documenting this verification. Employers are required by law to maintain for inspection original Forms I-9 for all current employees. Employees who are no longer active, retention of Forms I-9 are required for a period of at least three years from the date of hire or for one year after the employee is no longer employed, whichever is longer.

More of what you need to know

  1. There is a new I-9 Form that is available now and the one we have been using becomes obsolete on January 22, 2017!  Download the new form – it is a “smart form” so you can even fill it out on line and then print it to sign and file. Here is the link to the form: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. A couple of important things:
  2. You do not need to go back and complete the new form on current employees, only on employees you hire from this point on.
  3. One key change is thatyou must enter N/A on any fields that previously would have been left blank. – trust me, if you don’t you could incur penalties if audited.
  4. Make it a priority to audit your I-9 forms and make sure you have them completed, and completed correctly, on every employee you currently have.
  5. File them correctly so you do not open yourself up to a broader audit if you are audited.Do not file the forms in the individual personnel files – they must be filed separately in a notebook or separate file.

If you have questions or need assistance contact me through the contact form or call me at 704-650-8684.


Small Business = Big Hiring Challenges

To celebrate small business week, we’re tackling the issues that mean the most to our small business clients.


It’s the age-old small business challenge: What do you do when your business is booming but you are worn out and your family isn’t happy about the time you spend working? Or, your earnings have plateaued and you’ve maxed out on what you can earn with only you doing the work yourself – and it will eventually impact customer service.

There are many benefits to hiring, but there are also many risks and concerns to consider:

  • Is the timing right? Whether it is your first or third employee it always seems too late for your business or too early. Finding that sweet spot is really difficult. Hiring another person is a big commitment to that new employee and by extension to their family. They are relying on you and your business for their livelihood! And you are counting on your business to continue at the current pace and profit – you’re hoping you’ve made the right decision.
  • How will I train him or her? You’re already really busy, right? If you weren’t you wouldn’t be making the big decision to hire someone. So now you have to spend hours training the new hire with hopes it will save you time in the long run. Finding time to train is an investment that will likely come from time you would spend with your family or taking care of yourself.
  • How do I find the right fit? What if the new employee can’t do the job or isn’t the right fit? How much time do you give them to learn and acclimate when it is looking like they will never “get it!”
  • Bad hire? Must fire. You’ll eventually have to have that conversation – the one where you tell them that they are fired. That is really scary for business owners.

A study done by Robert Half shows that 58% of small business owners said it took less than a month to realize they made a bad hiring decision. However, it took an average of 8.8 weeks to let that person go; and nearly an average of five more weeks before a replacement started working. During this time 68% of businesses put the workload on existing staff. This is probably no surprise to you if you’ve hired an employee for your business that hasn’t worked out.

So what do you do? Well, you have an accountant to do your taxes, don’t you? What about an attorney to manage your legal stuff? Just like other important services you hire out to professionals, there are options for professional services that help you hire and manage your workforce.

Option 1: Use a “temp agency.
Using an employment agency that offers temporary staff greatly reduces the risk to you as the business owner. It can protect you from not only hiring the wrong person, but also to help manage temporary upturns in your business that may not last.

The agency will spend the time finding a possible match and if it’s not quite right, you can call them with feedback about what didn’t work and have them send you a better match. And if the upturn in your business doesn’t last, you can cancel the arrangement.  The drawback to these agencies is a potentially limited candidate pool since employees are chosen from the agency’s database.

Option 2: Hire someone to find the right candidate
If you’re confident in your business growth and need to make a non-temporary hire, just like you use the services of an accountant or attorney, using the services of a professional firm to hire can make all the difference. The wrong hiring decision is costly to your business because of the time you spend training and the increased stress on you and your company.

Wise HR Partnerships works with small employers to help find the right match for your company, your job opening and you, the business owner. Wise HR Partnerships has been helping folks hire employees for 30 years and while your job is unique we can assist you in the process.

Employees Want Vacation – When to say NO and What to KNOW

Vacation is not a mandatory benefit and it’s up to the employer to determine whether or not this type of wage benefit is appropriate.  If you decide that offering vacation benefits is right for your business, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Include a policy in your handbook: Have a very clear and detailed policy regarding time off – with or without pay – that is in writing and readily available to all employees through an employee handbook. Topics that need to be covered include which employees are eligible, when benefits can be earned, accrual rates and policies, process to request time off, and what happens to any unpaid benefit upon termination of employment.
  1. Include a cap on vacation hours earned. It may seem like it is not important when you hire your first employee, but as companies grow these benefits can become expensive and result in financial liabilities. Keep in mind that once vacation time is accrued by an employee it cannot be forfeited, even when there is a change in policy, so it’s important to do it early. For example, if employees could previously carry forward unused vacation time and the company decides to adopt a “use it or lose it” policy at the end of the current year, the company cannot impose the new policy on vacation time already earned. It must honor whatever policy was in place at the time the vacation was earned.
  1. Don’t include vacation hours when calculating overtime. Overtime is calculated using actual work hours only. Sick time, vacation pay and any other wage benefit where the employee doesn’t actually work are not considered. For example, an employee could work regular 40 hours and then get 8 extra hours of pay for a holiday and it would not count as overtime. The same goes for sick time and vacation pay.
  1. You can say NO to taking time off. It’s okay to deny vacation time – even if it is earned – when it is not the right time for your business. Offer the employee another option for taking time off. Work together to find a good time for both the business and the employee. You can also deny an employee time off even if they are not going to get paid for the time off. I run into this with small businesses – they think that because the employee is not going to get paid that they must allow the time off but that is not true. The employee is taking up a full time or part time employee “slot”” and they need to meet the basic obligations of employment – showing up!



What NOT to do When Looking for a Job

There are lots of things that you should NOT do when you’re looking for a job but here are 3 that I have been reminded of recently while recruiting. If you have applied for a job, sent in the necessary documents (an application and resume for example) and scheduled a phone interview – I’m thinking (as the recruiter) that you are actually SERIOUS and INTERESTED in the job.

If you are here are some tips.

  1. Your resume and your application job history (and everything else) should match! Don’t leave off jobs on your resume because you haven’t bothered to update it for the job you are applying for. Looks like laziness to me. Really!
  2. If you have a scheduled phone interview, make sure that at the time of the interview you are in a quiet place where you can focus on the call and interviewer and not driving down the road with a bad connection. Makes the recruiter feel NOT important. Really!
  3. That scheduled phone interview – don’t be working at your current job while taking the call. It looks like STEALING time from your current job to me as the recruiter. I would NEVER hire someone who made that bad decision. Really!
Filed Under: HR

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704.650.8684 | 442 S Main Street | Davidson, NC 28036