How Much Are You Worth: Consulting Fees

How Much Are You Worth: Consulting Fees

16091_0623-4873.jpg
Source: Flickr

How much is your time and expertise worth? Its the age old challenge for consultants: how much do I bill my clients? Sadly, there is no set in stone answer, however, here are some tips that will help you establish your rates.

First, lets look at your client’s needs. Why are they hiring an outside consultant, when they have employees? There are several reasons why your client is interested in hiring you as a consultant:

a) third party opinion – employees know where their bread is buttered, so they are less inclined to go against the current direction of the company. As an outsider, there is no concern with offering a different opinion. Your independent opinion can provide a much needed, focused perspective your client’s company needs.

b) you are cheaper – this is what is normally the hardest for new consultants to understand. How can you command $75/hr when your client has reps working for $20/hr. It normally ends up with the consultant charging a lower rates. No more!

The employee:
$20.00 Hourly rate
$ 7.00 Fringe Benefits @ 35%
$10.00 Overhead rate at 50% (computers, office space etc)
$37.00 Total effective pay rate

Hours per year: 2080… Annual salary $76960

The contractor:
$75.00 Hourly rate

Hours per year: 480 (12 weeks, 3 months worth of work)…. Cost of completing the project: $36000

Your client gets the project completed quicker, and you end up saving them over 50%.

c) expertise in a specific area – you clearly can bring something that no other person on their team can. That’s why they called you. As the expert in your chosen field, you can meet your clients needs with quickness and efficiency.

d) motivated to get job done on time, and likely, on budget – your work becomes your reputation. If you take too long, or go over budget, you wont see any future business from your client. However, provide the customer with what they need, under promise and over deliver, and not only will you retain your client for future business, you will get referrals. That’s motivation that no employee has.

Now that you know what is motivating your client, you have the groundwork to start to establish your rates. As show in the second reason for hiring a consultant, while your hourly rate may appear to be more than their employees, it actually works out to be less expensive. Any fears or unease that you have in commanding a hire rate than their employees should now be eased. However, how much more can you charge?

Who is your competition?
Establish what their rates are, and then confirm what can they offer. Can you honestly provide more services, better customer service and come under budget or on time? If your competitors can provide more than you, you’ll find that you may only be able to compete with a lower rate. However, if you can offer more, and have the proven results to back up that claim, you can justify a higher rate.

One key factor to remember is that if you charge a lower rate than your customer, you open yourself up to clients who will demand more of your time (it doesn’t cost them as much as your competition). This may lead to finishing projects past due and scheduling conflicts with other clients. So while you may be able to charge an extra $40 per hour for example, you may end up losing clients, and worse, having client demands cut into your personal time.

If you bill a higher rate, you may surprisingly find that you get better clients, and more referrals. If you can justify a higher rate, your clients will be very specific with you in terms of what their needs are (saving you time). Clients who are willing to pay a higher rate, will referral other clients who are willing to pay a higher rate.

Your rate will impact the amount of business you receive. One term successful consultants learn very early is to understand the concept of value billing. Instead of billing by the hour (which many of your clients will be leery of), consider billing by the project.

By negotiating an amount the client will pay based on the project, you can establish milestones at which payments will be made, and provide added motivation to get the job done and the client signed off quicker. If the project is going to take you 10 hours, consider negotiating an amount for 1.5 to 2x your normal hourly rate. If you get the job done in 5 hours, you get paid the full amount, not for 5 hours. The client is happy because they know what the cost ceiling is, and most importantly, the project is delivered early.

Another benefit of value billing is that you can set up milestones whereby you can get paid. If you advise your client that the project will be completed in say, 6 weeks, and comprise of 3 phases, you can receive payment from them when each phase is complete. Finish early, you get paid early and your client is happy. Finish behind schedule and your client isnt paying for work that isn’t complete yet.

This method helps to improve your cash flow. This is key for any self employed consultant.

So, how much are you worth now?

Thoughtleading

Thoughtleading

DPR-CHCR 080416-018
Source: Flickr

Lately the age-old business dilemma of how to stand out from the crowd has been haunting companies and professional service firms more than ever before. All too many firms nowadays look too much alike, with marketing strategies seemingly unable to distinguish them from their competition. Glossy brochures, snazzy websites, press releases, advertising: when everyone employs the same methods, everyone ends up vying for the same narrow window of client and prospect attention.
To escape this marketing black hole, many companies have adopted an uncommon strategy that elevates both principal and firm above the fray. This approach positions the firms expert professionals as thought leaders.
Names of superstar thought leaders are not only well known but the stuff of legend: Bill Gates, Tom Peters, Richard Branson, Martha Stewart, to name a few. Rather than abandoning marketing to a marketing department, they inject themselves into the heart of the process, churning out books, articles, conference speeches, media interviews to keep their visibility machines boiling. Amid the resulting excitement and industry debate, they simultaneously personalize their company, expand their products exposure, and deepen both market share and loyalty from their customers.
Richard Branson, for example, has taken his Virgin conglomerate literally to new heights by attempting such stunts as piloting an air balloon around the world. Martha Stewart, despite her legal troubles, has made herself and her firm rich beyond words by melting away the branding lines that traditionally divide a companys products from a CEOs personality. These are only two examples of results the process can produce.
This capacity to reach beyond traditional marketing approaches is available to us all, a process that only needs to be committed to and then implemented within often-ignored channels. There are two main vehicles to employ: (a) publishing articles and/or books, and (b) delivering talks and presentations. Such center-spotlight marketing attracts attention and recognition from a target market in ways that more commonplace marketing tools cannot attain.
Dan Cassidy, President of Argus Consulting Ltd (Concord MA), for example, has published many articles in leading HR and benefits planning journals in the US, Canada and the U.K. Attendant publicity around these publishing credits has led to Cassidy be interviewed by such high-profile media outlets as The Street.Com, Institutional Investor and Wall Street Journal Radio. As a result, Cassidy is known beyond the borders of his own client/prospect community for a higher-level benefits planning expertise. To capitalize on this heightened credibility, he never fails to calls attention to these media credits whenever strategically advantageous occasions arise, such as during a trade show, marketing campaign or in the midst of an actual sales call.
Given thought leadership’s competitive advantages, taking the plunge would seem to be a no-brainer.
Yet many consultants and companies hesitate out of fear that the process will not work for them, or out of ignorance of where to begin. Yet embarking on just two simple stages will get the process moving in the right direction, building confidence as the effort succeeds.
Stage One: Publish your ideas as articles in business publications, a seemingly daunting task until this challenge is broken down into baby steps. First compose a list of article ideas that align with your business objectives, asking yourself: Which services do I most wish to promote? What expertise/service do I most want to be known for? Are there services even my oldest customers may not realize my company has to offer? Your answers will translate into publishing ideas.
Next, after answering such questions, go searching for an editor who sees a fit for your ideas with her publication. Pitch to magazines read by decision-makers who typically hire your firm or by referral sources that can spread word of month about your firm. Create this list using library directories or by searching the Web.
Whats important to realize at this point is that business editors out there regularly depend on professionals just like you to feed them publishable ideas. After all, they only can know what to publish in their pages as a result of input from those of us on the front lines. So dont underestimate the publishability of your day-to-day knowledge, expertise, value or insights. Ideas that might seem mundane may be viewed as among the best-kept leading edge secrets in the business world when you share them with an editor.
After you getting published, Stage Two involves speaking at business events. Some engagements may come about because a conference planner read your article and invited you to come and speak about it, but most gigs will get arranged when you actively leverage your published works. Send email announcements to your business e-list, send a news release announcing your published articles, post the article on your companys website, pass out your article to customers, colleagues, prospects, employees, even vendors. Dont sit around and wait for people to see it, instead leap into action, insuring that your work gets read. Build a buzz!
At your actual talks, always distribute your article for free, promoting your availability as a speaker too. And when you get offered any kind of speaking gig, dont turn it down! Larry Winget, a highly sought-after motivational speaker, has stated, The very best way to get speaking engagements is to simply go out and speak! Exposure breeds exposure, exponentially growing your speaking schedule. Speaking can then lead to more article assignments as you never know when an editor may be sitting out there in your audience and loving what you have to say.
By taking these actions, your credibility, and that of your firm, will leapfrog you over your competitors. Third party endorsements from publications and conference planners will solidly establish you as an author/speaker and a leading thinker in your field, elevating your firms services as well. Once this happens, bona fide thought leadership will have officially arrived. Once that happens, enjoy the ride!

Priorities with Human Resource Outsourcing

Priorities with Human Resource Outsourcing

UNE Staff Fun Run - August 24, 2016
Source: Flickr


Do you want a solution for the diminishing resource problem that you encounter in your company?
Outsourcing is the best solution. This is based from the people who have tried the efficiency of the strategy.

Today, outsourcing even extended to the human resource factor. According to experts, human resource outsourcing can be considered a key towards achieving more skilled and competent labor force. It will also open an opportunity for improving more strategic role of the human resource function.

It presents both advantages and disadvantages to certain companies who are going for human resource outsourcing. It is a fact that the services and the functions that are handed to human resource department of a company is a complicated task. Thus, financial reason alone such as the cost should not be the major reason for implementing outsourcing.

Before human resource outsourcing will be adopted, the company must be able to assess first whether there is really a need to change the operations of the HR department or some existing previsions needs to be change. The reviews and evaluation is highly needed because this will help determine if outsourcing is necessary.

On the other hand, it is true that HR outsourcing could bring tangible significance to the entire company. One of the apparent signs is the reduced cost while providing more effective human resource service.

Thus, before company go for a human resource outsourcing it should prioritize the following considerations.

• It needs to be carefully studied
Consider all the factors first that can affect the operation of the company if outsourcing will be adopted. If you think that it will not suit to the needs of the company better think about it first.

• Consider that outsourcing will not be suitable for all
Maybe you see the best result of outsourcing for other companies but it does not mean that it is also applicable for your company.

• Effort and time needed for handling of responsibilities
Be able to accept this fact because it needs time for adjustment. Outsourcing is not a quick change that you will deal on a single day.

It is therefore needed that when the company decides to go for human resource outsourcing they must be ready for the possible consequences. The transition that will take place inside the company due to transition should be manage effectively including the period of adjustment or else some of the aspects of people management will be neglected.

Executive Career Coaching: Providing Solutions To Succession Planning Challenges

Executive Career Coaching: Providing Solutions To Succession Planning Challenges

Organizations today are facing several challenges and talent management is one of the greatest. According to a poll conducted by OI Partners, Inc., the number one challenge facing the HR profession is leadership development and succession planning. Attracting, developing, and retaining quality talent is more costly and has a greater impact on the bottom-line than ever before. Retiring baby-boomers, the expectations of Gen X and Gen Y employees, and the new definition of “long-term” employment add up to a drastic shift in the way organizations are managing their talent.

One effective way to overcome these challenges is to implement a succession planning initiative. This proactive approach to ensuring future leadership talent offers many benefits. Studies have shown that organizations with succession planning programs have a higher retention rate of human capital and a reduction in recruitment and compensation costs.

Succession planning has to be more than matching employees with forecasted vacancies. Consideration must be made for the future direction of the organization as well as the direction of the employees intended career path. This ensures that the employee is engaged in the process, committed to the organization, and has a vested interest in the company’s success.

Obstacles to Implementing a Succession Plan

While there are numerous benefits to succession planning, there are also challenges such as limited resources and expertise within the company. Without the assistance of external consultants and coaches, implementing a succession planning initiative can drain an organization’s resources. The most effective programs capitalize on the talent available throughout the company during the implementation phase, however, companies often lack the resources needed for ongoing management. In addition, utilizing external resources provides expertise in succession planning and offers an objective perspective.

Coaching as a Resource

Executive Career Coaching can provide assistance with career management and employee development at the individual level. Using individual coaching and assessments, the coach will guide the employees through the selection of the career path within the organization that best matches their interests and abilities. Once a career path has been chosen, the coach will help the employee prepare for their next promotion.

The career coach can administer assessments such as the DISC, PVQ, and the Enneagram to help the employee gain clarity in the areas of motivators, interests, values and strengths. The feedback obtained from the assessments is essential in creating a career management plan. During the coaching engagement, employees will compare this information along with their experience and education to key leadership positions and determine the strongest fit. This process ensures that employees are matched with the correct positions, reducing the possibility of employee disengagement and turnover at the executive level.

In addition to career pathing, an executive career coach will assist in the creation of development plans. The steps outlined in the development plan will be based on the information gathered during a gap analysis. Comparing the employee’s current level to the experience, skills, and education needed for the next promotion will give the coach and executive a clear picture of where to focus their coaching sessions. Execution of the development plan during the coaching engagement results in promotion readiness.

Benefits of Succession Planning

Identifying and developing strong leaders for future roles is critical to the ongoing success of an organization. Without an effective succession planning program in place, companies will face greater challenges than those incurred during the implementation of a program, including:

• Waging the “War on Talent”
• Fewer leaders prepared to take on new roles
• Obstacles to achieving strategic goals

Attracting and retaining high-potential employees is costly. However, it is not as costly as the turnover of high-potential employees. Studies have shown that superior performers are 50% to 100% more effective than the average performer.

Using these statistics, if an average performer generates $250,000 in new business each year; a superior performer will generate between $375,000 and $500,000 in new business. By developing and promoting the superior performer to a leadership role, they have the potential to increase the productivity of the team. As an example, this leader can increase the revenues of a team generating $2.5M to $5M.

Given the possibility of increased profits, meeting the employee’s desire for career growth is both a financial and strategic advantage.

Because growth and development are benefits highly sought after in a potential employer, organizations with highly publicized succession planning initiatives and career management programs become “employers of choice”, thereby making it easier to attract top talent and reduce turnover.

Most employers are unaware of how much turnover costs them each year or how to reduce this number. Assuming a fifteen percent turnover rate and turnover costs of twenty-five percent of an employee’s annual compensation, an organization with one thousand employees and an average compensation of $50,000 will incur $1,875,000 in costs each year. Given that half of all turnover is avoidable, this organization could save $937,500 each year by investing in employee retention strategies.

The Added Benefits of Using Career Coaching as a Resource for Succession Planning Programs

Utilizing a Career Coach in your succession plan initiative allows leaders and Human Resources to focus on effectively managing and evaluating the program. An external career coach provides a confidential environment where the employees are free to discuss the challenges and opportunities they face in their careers and establish plans to overcome them.

One of the greatest benefits the coach offers is preparing the organization’s existing talent for future leadership roles. They take the organization’s human capital to the next level through the use of assessments, powerful questions, and individual development plans. Promoting from within provides benefits, such as:

• Reduced recruitment costs. The need for external recruiting is lessened for executive level position, which reduces headhunter fees (between 25% and 33% of the candidate’s total compensation) Ex. An executive placed by a headhunter with an annual compensation package of $200,000 would incur fees between $50,000 and $66,666.

• Reduction of executive compensation. According to Towers Perrin, external candidates are generally paid 20% to 30% more than internals that are promoted because externals needs a financial reason to make a career change.

• Promoting internal candidates offers the employer the benefit of knowing their track record, strengths, and their development needs. External candidates, unless personally known, only reveal as much or as little information as they deem appropriate, leaving the organization to rely on the interview process, assessments, and references to complete the picture.

Thriving succession planning initiatives balance the strategic direction of the organization with the career aspirations of its high potential employees. They also rely on external consultants and coaches to provide expertise, an objective perspective and additional resources.

Executives who engage in coaching during the succession program have a clear direction of where they are going and how they are going to get there. In contrast, executives that are not offered coaching are not as well prepared to map out their career path or develop the skills they need for future promotions. Executive career coaching facilitates the process of creating successful careers and developing future leaders.

Payroll Services Giving Your Company the Edge

Payroll Services Giving Your Company the Edge

UNE Staff Fun Run - August 24, 2016
Source: Flickr

Regardless of the size of your business, outsourcing your payroll system can enhance your competitive edge, by freeing up valuable time and resources that can be spent on improving the quality of the product or service you offer. Adages earn the wisdom with which they are associated by proving true time and again, and there is no sage advice truer than this – you have to spend money to make money. Investing in a payroll service puts many of your HR and financial requirements in the hands of the experts, allowing you devote your full attention to expanding your own expertise in your chosen field.

Payroll services take a huge portion of the daily administration of your business and place it in professional hands. Outsourcing this important task ensures the timely and accurate payment of your retinue of staff, which ultimately leads to the growth of the goodwill of what is possibly any company’s most important resource. A contented work force makes for an efficient business, and with your payroll system in the hands of a company devoted to the task, you can be sure that your work force will receive the financial attention they deserve to help them stay motivated.

Administering a payroll system can be a time consuming affair; the process involves not only the payment of staff but also dealing with questions and queries, issues with tax and any other problems that might arise. Dealing with such issues, while an essential part in good staff management, can be time-consuming, detracting attention from the more creative areas of a firm’s daily tasks. Payroll services offer a company the freedom to focus on what it is they do best, while ensuring that the staff who make it happen are compensated in a timely manner for the work they add to the table.

Many payroll companies offer a range of other services also, from other HR services to reporting, helping you spend even more time on cultivating the product or service your company offers. There are also a range of speciality payroll service companies, so be sure to select the one most closely affiliated with your company’s industry. Certain types of business will have particular payroll needs; the hospitality industry, for instance, requires the proper administration of tips. For the greatest benefit to your company, be sure to choose a payroll service advisor that can adapt themselves to the needs of your business.

Enhance your business by outsourcing your payroll administration to a professional service provider, and devote your valuable time to what it is your company does best.

Employee Retention: What Employee Turnover Really Costs Your Company

Employee Retention: What Employee Turnover Really Costs Your Company

20160921_head_shoulders-259.jpg
Source: Flickr


It’s one of the largest costs in all different types of organizations, yet it’s also one of the most unknown costs.
It’s employee turnover.

Companies routinely record and report costs such as wages and benefits, Workman’s Compensation Insurance, utilities, materials, and space, yet most companies have no and report the cost of employee turnover. It can be much higher than you think.

How Much is it Costing You?

Several well-regarded studies have recently estimated the cost of losing an employee:

• SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, estimated that it costs $3,500.00 to replace one $8.00 per hour employee when all costs — recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, reduced productivity, et cetera, were considered. SHRM’s estimate was the lowest of 17 nationally respected companies who calculate this cost!

• Other sources provide these estimates: It costs you 30-50% of the annual salary of entry-level employees, 150% of middle level employees, and up to 400% for specialized, high level employees!

• Do a quick calculation: Think of a job in your organization where there has been some turnover, perhaps supervisors. Estimate their annual average pay and the number of supervisors you lose annually. For example, if their average annual pay is $40,000, multiply this by .125% (or 125% of their annual pay, a reasonable cost estimate for supervisors). This means it costs $50,000 to replace just one supervisor. If this company loses ten supervisors a year, then 10 times $50,000 equals $500,000 in replacement costs for just supervisors. This is the bottom line cost. The top line cost? If the company’s profit margin is 10%, then it costs $5,000,000 in revenues to replace these ten supervisors.

Do These Numbers Seem Unbelievable?

Here’s an actual calculation from a well-regarded organization in my community. The HR Manager of this human services organization (housing for disabled persons, sheltered workshops, etc.), estimated that 30 entry level people leave his organization on average every quarter.

This averages out to ten people per month. Let’s be extra conservative and shave SHRM’s estimate (see above) down to $3,000.00 to replace each employee.

This amounts to $30,000 per month, or $1,000.00 in employee turnover costs every day of the month! Annually, this totals $360,000.00.

Actual turnover costs are usually much higher than we think they are — until we estimate them.

You may be thinking, “Some employee turnover is unavoidable, even desirable.” You’re right. Some turnover is necessary, to replace marginal or poor employees with more productive ones and to bring in people with new ideas and expertise. However, high turnover costs are both avoidable and unnecessary.

This is where companies need to focus their efforts. The goal is to retain valued performers while replacing poor ones.

Most companies group both types of performers together when looking at turnover. By doing so, they’re missing the cost and significance of replacing the good performers.

Why Don’t More Companies See This as a Costly Problem?

There are a variety of reasons this is not seen as a problem, all of which cost companies in expertise and dollars. How many of these occur in your organization?

1. No process is in place to tabulate costs. One survey found that only 44% of its respondents had a process in place to estimate turnover costs; 43% of companies relied on intuition, and 13% had no process at all. (1)

2. Costs are not reported to top management. It’s a business axiom that one of the best ways to get top management’s attention is to show them what something costs. However, most top management never gets to see turnover cost estimates because most companies don’t measure them — or if they do, they don’t report them to top management.

3. It’s an inescapable cost of doing business. Except, it’s not! While some turnover is unavoidable and desirable, most turnover, especially among your better and top performers, is largely avoidable. Thinking that turnover is just a normal cost of doing business is the same quality of thinking which says that accidents are just an inescapable part of being in the construction business.

4. It’s an HR problem. While HR needs to be a key partner in reducing turnover cost, this is a strategic issue requiring top management’s attention and actions, in addition to HR’s efforts, to resolve it.

5. Costs are underestimated, and so they register less concern. If costs are underestimated because the organization doesn’t agree on or know what to measure, the statistics generated either register less concern than they should, or are disputed and held in disregard.

What Costs Need to be Fully Estimated?

A comprehensive program measures the following costs:

Exit costs
Recruiting
Interviewing
Hiring
Orientation
Training
Compensation & benefits while training
Lost productivity
Customer dissatisfaction
Reduced or lost business
Administrative costs
Lost expertise
Temporary workers

There needs to be advance agreement among Human Resources, Finance, and Operations as to which cost measures will be considered valid. Then, it has to be measured and reported.

6. Waiting until there’s a crisis. I was amazed when the executive director of one organization told me she knew that one of her capable managers was unhappy, but decided it wasn’t necessary to take action because she hadn’t received a letter of resignation yet.

Prevention is what works best. Begin to measure your turnover costs and, very importantly, look at who is leaving so you’ll know if you’re retaining your best people.

The time to do this is now. Waiting until there’s a crisis to take action limits your options and success rate. It also often triggers the common response of offering more money to get someone to stay, instead of fixing the original problem.
Why Do So Many Retention Efforts Fail?

These are among the most common reasons company retention efforts fail, even when they’re implemented by capable people.

1. No assessment, so ineffective solutions are chosen. In their hurry to correct a costly problem, companies often forgo conducting a relatively brief and cost-efficient assessment in order to correct the situation faster. However, implementing a solution without diagnosing who is leaving, and why they’re leaving often results in solutions that are incapable of solving the root causes behind turnover.

Diagnosing the reasons behind turnover always pays for itself. Don’t start without an assessment.

2. Implementing too many solutions instead of the most effective solutions. Managers often brainstorm a number of plausible solutions, then implement many of them — especially those favored by top management. However, what is most needed is to select and implement a limited number of solutions which will be most effective at solving the problem. Implementing too many solutions, even good ones, will diffuse your resources and weaken your efforts and success.

3. No way of measuring success to know what works. How do you know which retention solutions you’ve implemented are working effectively and which aren’t, where you need to make refinements, and what strategies you need to drop if you don’t have a way of measuring your results?

How Do We Do a Better Job of Retaining Employees — Especially Our Most Valuable Ones?

First, rank your employees in three categories: best performers, middle performers, and lowest performers. Your objective is to retain your top performers; develop and retain your middle performers, turning them into near-top or top performers if possible; and potentially replace your lowest performers.

Second, agree internally on the measures you’ll use to calculate turnover costs. Be certain you’re taking all costs into consideration. Most organizations greatly underestimate them.

Third, report turnover costs to top management on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

When turnover costs are unacceptably high, or higher than your industry’s average, do an assessment. Find out who is leaving and why they’re leaving. Exit interviews can help you find out why.

You need to know if it is your top, middle, or lowest performers who are leaving so you can gauge the expertise level leaving your organization. You’re obviously going to employ (and pay for) different strategies if your top performers are voluntarily leaving, compared to middle or lowest level performers.

Develop solutions capable of solving the problems you uncover, and only implement a limited number of them.

Measure the success of your retention efforts, and refine them.

Two Very Key Strategies to Save a Large Amount of Time and Money.

Very key strategy # 1: Don’t wait until turnover costs become unacceptably high before you implement an ongoing retention program. Put a retention program in place before you have crisis situation. You not only must find out why employees leave your organization, you must also find out why others stay.

Very key strategy # 2: Survey your top performers now in order to find out what keeps them there, why they might leave, what type of competitive offers they may find attractive, and what they need to be happier and more productive in their jobs. You’ll do a better job of keeping them (along with their expertise and value). You’ll also find out highly beneficial information about improvements your organization needs.

This means driving improvements in your organization by what your best people tell you, instead of focusing on taking care of the ever-present complainers in every organization.

Just How Valuable are Retention Efforts? One source estimated that a 10% reduction in employee turnover was worth more money than a 10% increase in productivity, or a 10% increase in sales!

Retain and gain.

A Brief Education on Education Verification

A Brief Education on Education Verification

It is generally believed by those in our trade that while employment candidates may embellish their employment tasks and positions, they will downright lie about their education.
Yes, that person interviewing with your Human Resource Manger and other relevant executives, the one looking presentable and acting so bright and articulate may well be inventing his education. In most cases your candidate’s claim to a higher education is not necessarily a total invention. He may have in fact actually enrolled in the university listed on the resume. He just didn’t graduate from that school. Or any other school, for that matter.
But then there are those, a notable amount of employment candidates who have engaged in what we term a ghost attendance. That is to say they not only failed to graduate from the school, but they never enrolled at all. Why they chose that particular school as their fictional place of graduation is anyone’s guess. But enough candidates lie about graduating from schools they may have never seen, save for photos on the Internet. The HR person should always consider the ghost attendance a very real possibility.
As to which schools the job candidates may claim to have graduated, the selection is varied and sometimes darkly amusing. Some may choose the smaller and more out of the way schools as their fictional alma maters. They may select something arty and prestigious, one of those schools you may hear about but not know much about.. Or your candidate can take obscurity in another direction by listing on their resume some grievously remote or sub-par institute of higher learning that few ever even heard of..
There is certain logic to making such claims. By listing say, an obscure Mid-Western school or esoteric New England college, as his place of graduation, your candidate may believe he helps substantiate his credibility. Even the more astute HR person may well determine no one would actually lie about graduating from a Reed College, in Oregon, Amherst, in Massachusetts, or Lake Forest, in Illinois? Or for that matter as a defense against low self-esteem, who would dare boast of graduating from one of the legions of North Western Eastern Slippery Eel Teacher’s College in the far corner of the middle of nowhere? So, the thinking goes, you may accept their claim at face value and never bother to check it out.
Other candidates will take the alternate route. Most in fact, will choose the larger schools, believing their names and alleged graduation dates may well get lost in the bureaucratic shuffle. Of course, if they did attend for awhile, they hope their registered enrollment may mistakenly be interpreted as proof of graduation. What they lack in education, they make up for in audacity. Well, sort of.
Finally, there are the no degree degrees. These are the phony degrees awarded for “life experience” and are not representative of attendance or graduation from any legitimate or accredited college. They are totally bogus. But they are popular. The more enterprising among the duplicitous can purchase these degrees online for anywhere from fifty bucks to several hundred dollars. The graduate degrees are a little pricier than the mere Bachelors’ but they are available from any number of phony universities. Some of them even look impressive; provided you don’t look try to find the school’s physical address on the Internet.
Before you become too upset or overly suspicious, bear in mind that those who lie about their degrees comprise a minority of employment candidates. More often than not your candidate actually is who he says he is and did attend and graduate from the college listed in his resume. But bear in mind the operative phase here is “more often than not.” With that in mind, think of the ways you may cause embarrassment and even litigation if you mistakenly hire someone who has obtained only a fictional degree.
It may be true that lacking a Bachelor’s degree in certain disciplines may be irrelevant. There is a saying, for example, that a good sales person is born and not made, or something to that affect. And while that may be true in certain disciplines, in more than a few someone better have the qualifications afforded through the proper education. It may well be your new hire with his fictional degree may genuinely lack the skill sets required for the job. This reality can cause all sorts of problems and even lead to catastrophe in its myriad forms.
You have allocated time and money to his hire. You have distracted your work force, at least those who have conducted the various interviews. In hiring this person, you may have rejected a candidate who was truly qualified but is no longer available. You must now allocate additional resources to hire someone else. Such mistakes can detract from employee morale as well as your bottom line.
Additionally, by hiring someone not qualified by virtue of lacking his degree, you are jeopardizing your relationship with clients. You may have assigned this person to a client, and now your employee has screw things up through is lack of qualifications. This can make your client extremely unhappy. The client may demand compensation. They may even threaten a lawsuit. This is not only costly, but embarrassing as well.
If you think this doesn’t happen, you had better think again. These are not the stories executives like to brag about over lunch. These are the stories that are whispered, and the whispering is far more ominous and damaging to your business. Let’s face it, if your failure to perform due diligence causes proves detrimental to your client, then you will be held accountable. You will look foolish and cheap. You may also be looking for another client to replace the one who left you.
The moral to this story is that your Human Resources Management must check out everyone, no matter how trustworthy they sound. It is essential to have a pre-employment screening program in place and to include education verification as part of that program. The few bucks you spend up front to verify your candidate’s graduation can save you plenty in money and time as well as and potential litigation and embarrassment. Those who win contracts with major corporations, especially technology or defense and security related industries will find these companies mandate background checks for everyone who will be working on the project. This includes education verification. Often they will insist on verification of all degrees and not just the highest.
When conducting education verifications here are some things to keep in mind—
• Colleges and Universities typically provide verification either in-house or through the National Student Clearing House or another third party service. If the University is registered with a third party service, the degree can often be verified that day. Third party services will charge a fixed rate for access verification. Some background checking agencies will add on to this rate while others will pass it on at cost.
• Typically, degrees are verified by background checking services within a couple, few days. The process may take longer if your candidate has either graduated some years back or is not listed in the database.
• Verification may also take longer over the holidays, semester break or the summer. Be prepared to allow for more time for verification.
• Verification from foreign universities inevitably will take longer than domestic verification. Typically, the rates for foreign verifications are significantly higher than charges for a domestic university. Be prepared to pay more and wait longer for the foreign verification.
• Some schools will ask for your candidate’s disclosure and release form before issuing the verification.
• When providing your candidate’s information to the University or third party service, it is best to include the years attended, the year graduated, the actual degree and major, and for large schools the campus where your candidate attended.
• If your candidate is a female, be sure the information you submit reflects the actual name with which your candidate graduated. Sometimes your candidate applies for the position under her married name and fails to provide her maiden name, the name she used while attending school.
• This may also apply for foreign students. Sometimes foreign candidates will change their names after graduation, to make them more accessible in the American workplace. But they may have attended school, using their formal name. Your candidate is known to you as “Ben,” but in school he was still “Bao.” This can complicate the verification process.
• If the school or the third party service is having a difficult time verifying y our candidate’s degree, they may request a facsimile of his diploma or final transcripts.
• Be sure to keep your verification process uniform. You may decide to verify all degrees or only the highest degree obtained. Whatever you do for one candidate, you should do for all the rest.
• Make sure your background checking service stays in front of any complications that may arise in the verification process. Establish and maintain fluid communication channels so that the service can keep you informed and request additional information when needed.
Remember if for some reason and after all due diligence you are unable to verify your candidate’s degree, it probably means he never obtained one. They may try to talk their way out of it, but hold firm and insist they provide any information that has been requested. There is nothing exceptional about this information for anyone who has truly graduated from an accredited college or university. If they can’t provide that information, you may want to look for another candidate. Remember the axiom that if they lie about their degree then they’ll lie when on the job didn’t become accepted wisdom for no reason. Check them out before you hire.

Internships

Internships

I have something to say that’s driving me batty. It’s regarding graduates who fuss about not getting a job they like or not getting a job at all for that matter. Blah blah di blah…
Let me ask you something. Imagine a small town like ours with a limited number of companies, looking for limited vacancies to fill. There are thousands of graduates leaving universities each year hunting for a job too. How the heck would a pissed-off HR director filter out from that titanic pool a few lucky folks, including YOU?
Of course, any sane HR director would only choose the BEST and most qualified of the lot, true? Yes. True. Otherwise, he’d be DOOMED to lose his job if he hired a slacker.
Anyhow, back to the issue of unemployment. If you’re a student or have graduated, it’s never too late to remedy the problem. How? Internships!
An internship is basically a training program designed for students to help them polish their skills and give them a taste of the real-world, without too much pressure. Internships have the following advantages:
Develop your skills, (related to your major)
Testing theory learned in university courses in real working environment
Gaining insight at a real working environment, its demands, and its responsibilities
Improving your communication skills
Providing you with pay (some companies)
Boosting your confidence
Enhancing your CV
Networking with professionals (good contacts for the future)
Time management
Showing initiative and ambition from your behalf
Gives you a taste of the working environment, without much pressure
Early kick-start at your career
Makes you more mature and responsible
Personal satisfaction at accomplishing tasks
Etc.
Sounds exciting! And yes, when employers study your CV, believe me, they will be impressed by your initiative. It’s the attitude you’re exuding to them that makes you valuable. So, it’s never too late to start carving your path from now.
Now if you’re interested, I suggest you sit down, and put a list of all the companies that you would like to work for (preferably related to your major). Then, ask the Career Services Manager at your university to contact one of the companies to organize an internship program for you. Similarly, you could contact the HR director and request an internship with the company for a couple of months.
And believe me, when you graduate, it will all come back to you! You will stand out amid the crowd. What goes around comes around. Good luck!

Online Asset Management Software

Online Asset Management Software


There is no doubt that asset management software is needed in today’s environment.
But what if you want to communicate with others offices? For that you will need to invest in an online asset management software system.

Online asset management software is connected to an enterprise wide network or the Internet by embedding special equipment that will allow maintenance personnel to track the functioning of the equipment in real time. Thus, you are to perform preventive maintenance measures and quickly take action when there are breakdowns. This also enables the company to manage their inventory from any location by using the web browser.

To give you an idea, here are some examples where online asset management software can be used.

Since this can be accessed remotely, it can help information technology personnel monitor the hardware and software installed on the enterprise network. Advanced versions of these applications can also help managers control the hardware and software applications on the servers.

Even advertising and media agencies have joined the bandwagon. This is because it helps the people in these companies automate the process of maintaining, marketing, publishing and viewing their multimedia gallery or store.

As for software product development companies, they can use this electronically distribute or manage the digital products they have developed.

On the human resources level, the online asset management software will help the HR department to track employee performance, manage talent and even identify star performers. This can also be used when they go out and attend job fairs so resumes can be stored.

Finance companies also use this so their clients are able to track their own financial assets especially stocks and mutual fund investments in real time. All the customer has to do is log in and then get the latest status on their assets.

Once a company has fully integrated the online asset management software, it will be easy for the various departments to talk to each other. It can detect the installation of unlicensed or unauthorized software, enhance helpdesk security and generate reports so this can be viewed and printed.

Asset management software provides analysis of data, which helps company to make new strategy plans for cash flow, helps in the finest utilization of resources, and in turn increase the productivity of the company.

You can find online asset management software online. Most of these will allow you to download their program for a 30 day trial and then you have to buy it to continue using it. When you are shopping for it, compare their features and the price. Don’t forget to read product reviews and blogs because how well it has performed or not has already had been tested by various users.

When you have found the right online asset management software program, make sure that those in the company are trained how to use it. This will prevent problems later on when data is sent back and forth.

Asset management even if it is now available online is still the process of designing, implementing, planning and maintaining the company’s assets. These include everything from infrastructure, plant, property, and human resources. Being able to access this from a remote location is just another way of checking on things if you are out of the office while you are out of town or out of the country.

Still waiting on your background Checks

Still waiting on your background Checks

Still waiting on your background Checks

Background checks of an employee is a critical aspect of the recruitment process. All companies outsource the background checks of their employees to external agencies. Now let us understand why background checks are important. The primary reason why background checks are important is to check the past employment records of the prospective employee, education verification and to check whether the employee has been involved in any unlawful activities. Social security number checks are also done by the employers. Pre employment screening has become one of the most important aspect of the employment process without which companies do not generally give the offer letter to the employees. The HR team insists that a candidate with a clean background is an asset to the company because most jobs involve critical information which the company cannot afford to lose to competition. Let us see how this process is executed by professional screening firms which check the records of an employee.

Generally a company may ask the screening firm to execute a fixed set of tasks. These may include social security
number trace, employment history background check, criminal background and general employment background screening. It may include other tasks also such as Federal records check, I9 compliance and driver history. The professional screening agency gets down to these tasks immediately and gives a response within the agreed timeframe. Time is critical in this business because if the employer is taking more time in completing the verification checks the employee may join some other company. Based upon the feedback that the company gets from the employment screening service it is decided whether the candidate should be absorbed in the company or not. However, there are certain parameters that are followed by employers before they reject the employee. If it is found that the details given in the records are not matching entirely, then the candidate is not selected at all. However, if there are minor discrepancies the company may consider the case and take a decision on whether to hire the employee or not. The job of an employment screening agency is critical as it can make or break the career of an employee. Therefore it is important for an employer to hire a agency which can do the job professionally with correct results and within the shortest possible timeframe possible.

Even a decade ago employment verification checks were not considered so seriously by employers except the larger multinationals. However, in recent times even smaller companies ensure that the employee records are verified before the employee joins the organization. As a result employment screening services have come into much demand. Let me give you a brief idea of how this job is executed. The screening agency has agents who either call up the respective educational institutes or if required they visit the place physically to check the records provided. They also check the police records, license records and SSN details of employee that is screened. Drug records are also verified by the screening company. The company that hires a professional screening agency saves on time and money. The average turnaround time for a verification agency is less and a
report is generally submitted within 24-48 hours.