‘Best of Intentions’ Mistakes Managers Make

In yesterday’s Advisor, we discussed the first five major mistakes managers and supervisors—even with the best intentions—make. Today, more of Peter Janus’s tips, and a tip of our own about that nemesis of HR, job descriptions.

Janus is a partner with Siegel, O’Conner, Zangari, O’Donnell & Beck, P.C. in Hartford, Connecticut. This material originally appeared in our sister publication, the HR Manager’s Legal Reporter.

[Go here for Mistakes 1 to 5]

6. Failing to Update Policy Handbooks

Many employers have a handbook that they prepared and distributed to employees years ago and have not kept up. As many changes have occurred in the course of the last decade, these old handbooks and policies can create serious legal problems.

You should consider your handbook as a document that must change with the times, and it must be reviewed and updated regularly.

7. Supervisors Not Knowing and Enforcing Policies

Supervisors are responsible for much of the day-to-day enforcement of the company’s policies. Many of them do not know the company’s position on key issues. For example, says Janus, imagine a supervisor telling an employee that he or she does not have time to handle a claim of unwelcome harassment. Regularly review your policies with all supervisors and update them on all changes before the policies are distributed to employees.

8. Managers Not Knowing All Applicable Policies and Laws

“Ignorance of the laws is no excuse.” Managers have an obligation, as unreasonable or impracticable as it may be, to be aware of and understand the policies and laws that apply to their workplace. Failure to comprehend these laws can initiate lawsuits, can cause embarrassment in court (“You’re responsible for upholding these taws, and you’ve never had formal training in how they work?”), and may even result in legal action against the manager as an individual.

Set that keyboard aside! Your job descriptions are already written. Click here to see why thousands of managers have a permanent place in their offices for BLR’s classic Job Descriptions Encyclopedia.

9. Making Incorrect Wage/Hour Assumptions

The costs of wage/hour mistakes can add up fast. Typical examples:

  • Thinking that paying a salary makes an individual exempt from overtime.
  • Reducing an exempt employee’s pay for disciplinary reasons.
  • Having employees voluntarily agree in writing to receive less than time-and-a-half for overtime hours. Employees cannot waive their rights to overtime.

10. Including Medical Records in the Personnel File

Medical records should not be included in an employee’s personnel file. Medical records include all papers, documents, and reports prepared by physicians, psychiatrists, or psychologists, that are in the possession of an employer and work-related, or upon which the employer relies to make employment-related decisions.

11. Failing to Keep Up to Date and Accurate Job Descriptions

We’ve added a bonus tip. It’s clear that many of the mistakes enumerated above could have been avoided with reference to a well-crafted, up-to-date job description. Hiring depends on the job description to clarify requirements. Evaluations and discipline depend on the job description for the performance basis. And the supervisor’s job description should require familiarity with rules and procedures.

Keeping up with job descriptions is a never-ending battle for every HR manager. How about your job descriptions? Complete? Up to date? If not—or if you’ve never even written them—you’re not alone. Thousands of companies fall short in this area.

It’s easy to understand why. Job descriptions are not simple to do—what with updating and management and legal review, especially given the ADA requirement of a split-off of essential functions from other functions in the description. Wouldn’t it be great if your job descriptions were available and already written?

Actually, they are. We have more than 700, ready to go, covering every common position in any organization, from receptionist right up to president. They are in an extremely popular BLR® program called the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia.

First created in the 1980s, the “JDE” has been continually refined and updated over time, with descriptions revised or added each time the law, technology—or the way we do business—changes.

Prewritten job descriptions in the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia now come with pay grades already attached. Click here to try the program at no cost.

Revised for the ADA, Pay Grades Updated

There was a major revision, for example, following the passage of the ADA. In fact, BLR editors reviewed every one of those 700 descriptions to ensure they were ADA-compliant.

Another enhancement was the updating of pay grades for each job. According to our customers, this is an enormous time-saver, enabling them to make compensation decisions even as they define the position. You can see a sample job description from the program by clicking here. (Yes, it is the one for HR Manager—Pay grade: 38.)

The BLR Job Descriptions Encyclopedia also includes an extensive tutorial on setting up a complete job descriptions program, and how to encourage participation from all parts of the organization. That includes top management, the employees, and any union or other collective bargaining entity.

Quarterly Updates, No Additional Cost

Very important these days, quarterly updates are included in the program as a standard feature—key at a time of constantly changing laws and emerging technologies. We’ll send you new or revised descriptions every 90 days. And the cost is extremely reasonable, averaging less than 43 cents per job description … already written, legally reviewed, and ready to adapt or use as is.

You can evaluate BLR’s Job Descriptions Encyclopedia at no cost in your office for up to 30 days. Get more information or order the Job Descriptions Encyclopedia.

Download product sample
Download list of job descriptions included

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