Managers: Be prepared when handling employee demotions

Demotions may be proposed for a number of different reasons, including poor employee performance, disciplinary actions, position elimination or organizational restructuring, and even, at times, an employee-desired reduction in responsibility.

Demotions for simple performance-related issues may be both the easiest and most challenging to deal with. If the employee is a long-term employee who was successful in his or her previous role and simply lacked the skill set to be successful in the new position, returning the employee to the previous role may seem logical. However, this choice may face challenges such as:

  • The previous position may have been filled, or the position may have been eliminated,
  • A demotion in most circumstances will result in a pay reduction, which may be difficult depending on the length of time in the previous role,
  • If the position had supervisory responsibilities, complications may arise when the employee is back among those he or she previously managed.

Demotions that occur due to misconduct, issues of ethics or other disciplinary matters can be risky to the company. A demotion is not likely to correct the problem, and it could send the wrong message to other employees that the employer does not take misconduct seriously. If you are having difficulties determining the best course of action to take in a particular situation, please call BCN’s Human Resources Department for expert advice.

When a demotion is appropriate, following these steps can help make the discussion and the transition smoother and less disruptive:

1. Be respectful of the employee, keeping in mind that the organization is taking this step because of the desire to retain the employee and the expectation that he or she will be successful.

2. Clearly and honestly communicate the performance-related reasons for the demotion or the reasons why the organization is taking this action as opposed to termination. This second point could be instrumental in helping the employee respond positively to the transition.

3. Clearly outline the new position and the transition plan (e.g., last date in the old role, first day in the new role, to whom the employee will report). If a pay reduction will occur, do not avoid this point. Address it in a straightforward manner.

4. Be ready to respond to questions and requests such as:

  • “Can I have a little more time in the position to improve?”
  • “Can I move to a different position/department/location?”
  • “Can I have a few days to think about it?”
  • “What if I don’t want to take the position?”

5. Be prepared should the employee have a very emotional and perhaps negative response.

6. If the employee is accepting of the demotion, you may want to use this meeting to work out a communication plan answering who will be told, when the demotion will be communicated and what information will be shared. Ensuring that the employee retains his or her dignity through the process will increase the likelihood of a smooth and successful transition.

In the end, demotions that occur within the right circumstances can provide an employer with the opportunity to retain a valuable employee while allowing the person to be successful in a new role that better fits the knowledge, skills or abilities he or she has.

Effectively managing the risks and preparing for all contingencies can result in a win for both employee and employer.

BCN Services has the professional team to help you make the tough decisions about restructuring or changing roles in your organization.  Call us to discuss your individual situation.



Kate Douglass (200x174)

Kate Douglass, Senior Human Resource Generalist

What’s in a background check and why is it important?

Surveys suggest that more than 80 percent of companies conduct some type of background search as part of the hiring process.

A review of professional employment background often contains criminal records, driving records, and education verification. Additional searches such as the Sex Offender Registry, education verification, reference checks, credit reports and Patriot Act searches are becoming increasingly common.

List of commonly searched data

Here is what employers often look for in doing background checks:

  1. Criminal court litigation
  2. Incarceration records
  3. Civil court litigation records
  4. Driving and vehicle records: Employers in the transportation sector seek drivers with clean driving records-(i.e., those without a history of accidents or traffic tickets).
  5. Drug tests: Used for a variety of reasons – corporate ethics, measuring potential employee performance, and keeping workers’ compensation premiums down.
  6. Education records: Used primarily to see if the potential employee had, in fact, received a college degree. There are incidences of test scores being requested by employers as well.
  7. Employment records: These can range from simple verbal confirmations of past employment and time frame to deeper investigations, such as discussions about performance, activities and accomplishments, and relations with others.
  8. Financial information: Individuals with poor credit scores, liens, civil judgments, or those who have filed for bankruptcy are of interest because they may be at an additional risk of stealing from the company.
  9. Military records:  Although not as common today as it was in the past 50 years, employers frequently requested the specifics of a person’s military discharge.
  10. Social Security Number (or equivalent outside of the United States): A fraudulent SSN may be indicative of identity theft, questionable right-to-work status, or concealment of a “past life.”

How long does it take to complete a background check?

The industry uses the term “Turn Around Time” to describe how long it takes to complete a background check. The times vary significantly based on what searches are conducted in the check, the particular courthouse where records are being searched, and various other factors. The truth is that many searches take minutes or hours and some take many days or even up to a week. The average criminal records search at a county courthouse takes approximately 2-3 business days, with it taking longer for verification of employment and education.

Of course all professional checks are subject to a unique set of laws and regulations, so only fully compliant screening with a trusted background check provider is recommended.

Let BCN Services handle all your background check needs and keep you in compliance.




Lisandra Quinones, Human Resources Administrator

PPACA – Changing the landscape for employers, small and large

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues to dominate the news  every day,  with the realization that what was passed into law in 2010 and upheld in the Supreme Court as a tax to all Americans is now about to take effect – or is it?

The concept of mandated payments into the “health system” still is an overwhelmingly unpopular topic, and the realization that everyone, not just those that choose it, will be funding our health care system.  To understand what will happen, just follow the money.

Take care of us, sons and daughters

Young, healthy, and generally un (or under) insured populations are now going to see the largest increases in cost (particularly if they were paying nothing!) and will support those who are older, unhealthy, or more likely to need health care (those with coverage).  In addition, for those employers or citizens who buy plans through an exchange or through a fully insured group health plan,  will pay more on average due to the mandates that started back in 2010.  These include:  health coverage to age 26 for those living at home/college, dental to age 19,  unlimited maximums, no pre-existing conditions, just to highlight a few.

I am looking for a couple of part-time jobs

For employers with more than 50 employees,  we have been working through the logistics of converting many of our clients to a part-time workforce.  While it isn’t for everyone,  many industries cannot afford the burden of paying health insurance for all employees, or cannot pass along those costs in form of price increases for their product.   Employers care about employees, and those that can’t afford to hire full time are even trying to arrange for another employer to make up the difference by hiring their staff when they are not working for them.

The more it stays the same, the more it changes

PPACA is a massive piece of legislation.  By last count, it is more than 20,000 pages of words, much of it subject to interpretation, intent, and implementation (i.e. more words).  The federal Health and Human Services (HHS) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agencies are charged with interpretation and enforcement of this law.  BCN continues to monitor the changes that are made and the deadlines that approach.  As has been demonstrated by our government throughout this process,  nothing is certain until it is implemented.

We’ve got your back

We welcome your questions and debate the implementation of the bill.  While it is tempting to watch the news, and attend $299 seminars, – there is no need because we are your eyes and ears on this matter.  We continue to meet formally every week to discuss what is new, what has changed,  and what is allowed.  We commit to help you through this period by presenting any and all options available, and deploy or help deploy the pieces of PPACA that are required of employers.   Our goal is to allow you to continue to operate your successful business.Stay in touch…

Reply to this blog privately, send an email/or call your PM, or inquire of any of our HR Contact Center Team, and we’ll respond.   Call (800) 891-9911 or email


Andrew (Andy) C. Hans, CEO

Take steps to engage your workplace team and boost their performance

A recent Gallup poll on the “State of the American Workplace” indicates that employees are increasingly stating that they are not engaged in their work.

What exactly is employee engagement? It is defined as: “A heightened emotional and intellectual connection that an employee has for his/her job, organization, manager, or coworkers that, in turn, influences him/her to apply additional discretionary effort to his/her work.”

At BCN we hear from business owners that their biggest concern is related to their employees. Are you working with your team to engage your employees? Are you getting the level of productivity you want and, more importantly, need?

“Leaders get paid for achieving results or getting things done through the combined effort of their team,” said human resources consultant Chris Ruisi in a recent article. Ruisi is an executive coach and author of “Step Up and Play Big.”

“Unfortunately, you cannot will or order improved team performance,” he said. “Yet, some would-be leaders think that they can because of their title, size, or office location. To boost your team’s performance requires work, and sometimes it’s hard and frustrating work. It becomes easier when you have a plan or path to follow.”

Ruisi’s five steps will help you get on the path to boost your team’s performance:

  1. Always set a minimum level of performance and refuse to accept anything below it. Make certain everyone knows and understands what this minimum is, and set expectations and hold people accountable to meet them. This can be a positive and motivating experience for your team if you do it right. People on your team, really  want some structure, and want to be led and not managed. Setting expectations and accountability standards allows you to do just that–lead.
  2. Invest the time needed to train your team properly so that they have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and why it needs to be done. When people understand the “why” of their role and how it fits in, it gives them a sense of purpose. When people have a clear sense of purpose, they perform at a higher level on a more consistent basis. Make sure that your training includes educating your team on the standards for being proficient in their job.
  3. Make certain that your team understand the consequences of their performance when they meet or exceed your expectations, as well as when performance falls below your standards. This will also help them understand the “why” better.
  4. Recognize good performance as soon as possible after it occurs. We spend too much time pointing out errors and mistakes. While corrections need to be made, spend the same amount of time acknowledging a job well done.  When you do this, you are encouraging the team member to do the right thing again. Why? We all like positive reinforcement and recognition.
  5. Spend the time getting to know each of your team members and listen to both their concerns and suggestions. This will again demonstrate to them who you are and how you lead—adding to the level of trust. It’s important that you be sincere and genuine in this effort. If you just go through the motions, people will see through it and lose trust in you. Without the trust of your team, you cannot be an effective leader.”

To review Ruisi’s 5 steps let’s identify some things you can do to strengthen your team through a collaborative effort with BCN Service (BCN suggestions are in bold font):

  • “Set minimum levels of performance and refuse to accept anything below it…” – Contact your partnership manager to discuss developing job descriptions and performance reviews to help establish minimum levels of performance.
  • “Invest the time needed to to train your team properly…” Review with the BCN HR department the BCN Learning Management System (LMS) online training courses to strengthen your management team’s skill sets and capabilities.
  • “Make certain your team understands the consequences of their performance…” This is an area where BCN can assist you in developing and executing performance reviews. We can assist in both managerial reviews and training your managers to do reviews of their team members.
  • “Recognize good performance as soon as possible after it occurs…” This should be a goal for every management level. BCN’s LMS online training modules can help you train your managers develop this culture.
  • “Spend time getting to know each of your team members…” Some things only you can do, but as your business partner, BCN’s experts will share our observations of, and experiences with, your staff. It may be helpful for you to get an outside perspective.

BCN has many resources that can assist you in developing your leadership team and creating opportunities for improving your staff’s productivity. There is no simple plan to automatically accomplish this;  it will be a process for improvement for long-term gains.

Contact your partnership manager at BCN’s Human Resource Department at 1-800-891-9911 to discuss coaching and training opportunities, visit our Contact Us page.  We’re here to help you.


Jeff Walsh (200x190)

Jeff Walsh, Partnership Manager