October 2009 
Three Reasons NOT
To Hire an Employee Who Moonlights

What personality traits and characteristics do you look for in a person when you are hiring? Do you sometimes look beyond the specific job skills required, and look instead at what kind of person you want to add to your team? What outside activities actually improve the likelihood that an employee will perform well in the position you have to offer?

When small businesses hire, they don't only hire a list of hard skills, a specific number of years of experience, a grade point average, or knowledge of the latest technology. They hire a person. When they hire a person, they don't always know what they're going to get.

One universal trait that we all seek to hire is a 'Hard Worker'. A hard worker is someone who will focus their energy on each and every task that is assigned to them.  A hard worker is someone who will go the extra mile and put in extra time to get the job done right. A hard worker is someone who always puts the job first and is committed and loyal to the company. A hard worker is someone who we don't have to constantly manage and monitor - they work hard whether we are watching or not.

Some individuals actually claim that they are a 'Hard Worker' on their resume. Of course they do! They wouldn't say "I always do what I need to do to meet the minimum requirements of my position". So how do we really find out if they posses this highly attractive trait? Consider this question and answer between an interviewer and a prospective employee:

"So Bob, it seems as though you have a lot of the skills that we are looking for. Can you tell me why you think you would fit in well here at ABC Manufacturing?"

"Yes, I think I would definitely be a great addition to your team. Since losing my job three months ago, I have picked up a lot of additional technical skills while working part time at XYZ Manufacturing for three to four hours every evening. They use a lot of the same equipment that you do. I have also really enhanced my customer service and problem solving skills because I work weekends at Harry's Hardware store. They get really busy on the weekend and Harry is an old friend of mine. I do what I can to help him out. Besides, with one kid ready to go away to college,another kid needing a car, and my youngest ready for braces, I really need to make more money."

Interpretation #1:
Wow, Bob seems like a really hard worker. He is clearly dedicated to his family and will do what he needs to do to make ends meet. I want this guy on my team!

Interpretation #2:
Bob has got to be exhausted! If I give him this job, he will work forty hours a week here, another fifteen to twenty hours at the other company, and then all weekend at Harry's.  When will he have any down time? I've heard of XYZ Manufacturing company. They are a direct competitor of ours. It might be nice to know what kind of equipment they are using, but I'm sure that they will be very interested to learn from Bob what equipment and techniques we use here as well. I'm not sure that I want an insider talking to the competition like that. Besides, business is finally picking up and our orders are flowing in right now. Most of the staff routinely needs to stay late and catch up on hot orders over the weekend. How will Bob be able to accomodate that? I'm not sure that he will have the time and commitment to make this company his priority. I need loyal people who have the ability to go beyond the standard requirements.

People who work second or third jobs or who "moonlight" might indeed be the "hard worker" that we seek.  The drawbacks, however, can be pretty dramatic. Based on Interpretation #2, here are three reasons NOT to hire Bob:

1.  Bob's time is maxed out. He has every minute of every day of the week scheduled. He barely has time for his family as it is. If your company needed him to work overtime during the week or on the weekends, forget it. He will likely not be available. Since he values each of the three positions, he might be able to do some juggling, but his priority will be in balancing the demands of each position, not putting one position ahead of another.

2.  Bob is working for a competitor! He may have no intent to share information or reveal company secrets, but it could happen. It is hard enough keeping a competitive edge these days without an insider telling the competition what you are up to. Bob would be earning money from each organization. Where would his loyalty be?

3.  Performing the duties of the job requires attention to detail and mental focus. With Bob spreading himself so thin, can he remain alert and attentive all day long? Fatigue might hurt his performance. Mistakes will cost the company money.

Despite these points, there may indeed be very GOOD reasons to hire Bob. What it takes is communication, setting of expectations, and a plan going forward. If you need assistance making hiring decisions, call us. We can help you define your objectives, interview candidates, and make good selections.
Sandra Teague, SPHR
Advantage Employment, Inc.
Compensation for Off-Site Work
To Pay or Not to Pay

Bag of Money
Hours worked and corresponding compensation are easy to determine when all employees work under one roof. What happens, however, when employees start or end their day elsewhere?  A recent article published by the Society for Human Resource Management and written by attorney Scott Wich makes a few interesting points:

Mike Rutti was a technician for Lojack Inc. As a technician, Rutti routinely traveled in a company vehicle to customer locations to install and repair vehicle recovery systems. Prior to leaving for work each day, Rutti would review and map his assignments, log on to a Lojack handheld device and complete minimal amounts of paperwork.  After he returned home at night, Rutti was responsible for electronically uploading data about the day's installations. Lojack paid Rutti hourly, beginning when he arrived at his first assignment and ending when he completed his last assignment.

Rutti sued Lojack under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). He alleged, among other things, that he should have been paid for his work before and after his scheduled workday.

Under the FLSA, an employer need not pay for "preliminary" or "postliminary" activities. That is, time spent on activities that are not an integral and indispensable part of the principal activities for which an individual is employed need not be paid.

In addition, otherwise compensable activities outside of the normal workday can be unpaid when they are de minimis.

Under these standards, the appellate court agreed that Rutti's work before his workday was not compensable. Rutti's acts in mapping and prioritizing job assignments were distinct from the principal activities for which he was employed, the court held, and were a part of his commute.

However, the court held in favor of Rutti as to the compensability of his postliminary activities. Specifically, the court held that the nature of the postliminary work - mandatory and regular reporting from the employee's home of the daily jobs performed, through company-provided equipment according to procedures that consumed a measurable period of time, could cause such time to be considered compensable.

For a link to the full article or an e-mailed copy, please contact Sandra Teague.
Encouraging Retirement Savings
Piggy BankPresident Barack Obama, in his weekly radio address on September 5th, 2009, announced a set of initiatives by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service intended to make it easier for employed Americans to save for retirement. In an article written by Stephen Miller from the Society of Human Resource Management, the initiatives are summarized as follows:

1. Enable workers to convert their unused vacation or other leave into additional retirement savings.

2. Expand opportunities for automatic enrollment in 401(k) and other retirement savings plans.

3. Allow Americans to save their income tax refunds in U.S. Savings Bonds.

4. Provide easy-to-understand language to explain tax-favored retirement savings options to workers and small employers.

These initiatives include guidance and simplified procedures and do not require congressional action. For a copy of the complete article, contact Sandra Teague by e-mail or at the phone number listed above.
How Advantage Employment Saves your Company Money:
  • Eliminate the internal cost of an HR administrator and outsource those duties for less.
  • Stop allocating high level executive time to handle sensitive or confidential HR issues. Focus on your business instead.
  • Stop paying an outside payroll provider steep rates for minimal do-it-yourself service.
  • Don't lose a protestable unemployment claim. Each person who gets unemployment benefits who shouldn't can cost your company $4K to $6K in increased taxes each year.
  • Don't let workers comp claims malinger. Improper case management and lack of a return-to-work plan will increase the cost of the claim and increase your mod.
  • Reduce your exposure to dangerous lawsuits by enlisting the help of HR professionals. Show your employees that policies are sound, and prevent trouble makers from taking advantage of a loosely run organization.
  • Reduce turnover in your staff by maximizing their understanding and utilization of the employee benefits that you already provide to them.
  • Increase employee loyalty by providing them a resource to solve any employment question or problem.
Things You Should Know
Compensation for Off-Site Work
Encouraging Retirement Savings

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205 E. Butterfield Road, #445
Elmhurst, IL 60126
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