Tips for recruiting and hiring good employees and retaining the ones you have.

Applications can help employers flesh out and verify candidate information

A job application is one of the most important components of the recruitment process, yet it is frequently overlooked. It is essential that an employer collect a job application from candidates prior to beginning the interview process for many reasons.

Here are just a few good reasons.

A job application:

  • Allows the employer to gather information about each applicant in a standardized manner. Resumes and cover letters from job candidates vary greatly in format and information. Relying only on a resume makes the hiring process subjective and may allow unqualified candidates to move forward in the selection process.
  • Asks for information not included on the resume. This includes why the applicant left their previous positions and any felony or misdemeanor crime convictions relevant to the position.
  • Provides a place for a required applicant signature. This attests that all statements made on the application are true and allows the employer to verify past employment, education and other credentials. Often employers will ask a candidate to acknowledge that they understand policies and procedures, such as at-will employment, and that a drug test may be required as a condition of employment.

BCN Services offers a standard employment application template and we can also work with you to customize an application specific to your business needs. Contact us at 800-891-9911 or contact us for more information.



Alicia Jester, BCN Product Manager

‘Boomerang employees’ are worth a second look

In my first role as a Human Resources professional, our company, like many, had a no re-hire policy. Regardless of an individual’s reason for leaving the job, or how valuable they had been, the message was clear: Don’t bother to reapply.

But many companies are changing their philosophy and considering rehiring so-called “boomerang employees” who want to return to the fold.

People leave positions for a wide variety of reasons including personal life events, professional growth opportunities, and sometimes just the itch to try something new and different. Even the best companies can end up losing favored associates.

But as the saying goes, you never know where the next path may lead and what new opportunities await. And these opportunities can be great for both employees and employers.

Employers benefit from boomerang employees’ previous company knowledge, as well as the new experiences they bring back with them. Less training is required and many employees that come back due so with a greater appreciation for the work and their coworkers. Keeping in touch with former employees can sometimes result in position matches which might not have been imagined had they stayed in the position they were in. aAd don’t discount the employer savings in advertising and training costs.

Former employees that want to come back into the fold should make sure the company’s Human Resources Manager, as well as their former colleagues, know that they are interested in opportunities. Sometimes it’s a different manager or department that has the position that turns out to be a great fit.

Consider these employees as you would any other applicant: Look at their experience, how they fit into your corporate culture and whether their return would add to the talent bank of your company.

Do you need help updating your hiring policies or want some tips about keeping your network with former employees open? Contact BCN Services anytime at 800-891-9911 for advice about this and other employment topics.




Sue Kester, HR Manager

Workplace rudeness is toxic, contagious and can affect employee morale

Rudeness is increasing in the workplace, causing retention and health problems among employees and decline in employee camaraderie. It is also contagious, causing employees to model bad behaviors.

In a recent University of Florida study, 98 percent of workers have experienced workplace rudeness with half of employees experiencing these behaviors at least weekly.

Rudeness is contagious in workplace

Impoliteness spreads like a virus in the workplace. In the recent study, it was found that encountering rude behavior at work makes employees more likely to perceive discourtesy in later interactions, which prompts them to respond in the same manner. Even witnessing rude behavior directed at someone else seemed to have the same effect.

Incivility can hold people back or minimize their contributions, as it limits a staff’s ability to engage. Employees are less creative when they feel disrespected, and many get fed up and leave and, if they stay, team spirit around the office can deteriorate. Some employees deliberately decrease their effort or lower the quality of their work.

Customer relationships are also damaged

Incivility also damages customer relationships which can chip away at the bottom line. And although it is expensive, few organizations recognize the long-term problems or take action to curtail it. A survey among Fortune companies reveals that HR professionals spend 14 percent of their time managing incivility incidents.

How to stop contagious rudeness

Let’s address what a business owner or manager can do to stop contagious rudeness before it spreads:

  • Make an effort to not be rude and model good behaviors
  • Be clear, beginning with recruiting and onboarding and continuing with current employees, that workplace civility is expected
  • Organizations need to teach civility on an ongoing basis. Role-playing and workshops can help
  • Reward civility by measuring and scoring the behavior in your workplace
  • Penalize bad behavior immediately, even if that means terminating the employee. Keep an open door policy for employees to report problems.

BCN Services can help you discuss how to create a policy about workplace rudeness and bullying and put it into practice. Contact us for assistance.

Sources: SHRM.or, Harvard Business Review, news reports.



Debbie Strahle, Partnership Manager

Expect respect: Encourage staff, listen to co-workers

Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves.–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Respect: Everybody needs it and wants it.
But what is respect? And, how is it demonstrated at work?

There are simple, yet powerful, ways to demonstrate respect in the workplace. The following ideas will help you avoid needless and insensitive approaches and can avoid problems when employees disrespect each other without having that intent.

  • Treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness.
  • Encourage co-workers to express opinions and ideas.
  • Listen to what others have to say before expressing your viewpoint. Never speak over, butt in, or cut off another person.
  • Use people’s ideas to change or improve work. Let employees know you used their idea, or, better yet, encourage the person with the idea to implement the idea.
  • Never insult people, name call, disparage or put down people or their ideas.
  • Do not nitpick, constantly criticize little things, belittle, judge, demean or patronize. A series of seemingly trivial actions, added up over time, constitutes bullying.
  • Treat people the same no matter their race, religion, gender, size, age, or country of origin. Implement policies and procedures consistently so people are treated fairly and equally. Such policies will ensure that they feel that way. Treating people differently can constitute harassment or a hostile work environment.
  • Include all co-workers in meetings, discussions, training, and events. While not every person can participate in every activity, do not marginalize, exclude or leave anyone out. Solicit volunteers and try to involve every volunteer.
  • Praise more frequently than you criticize. Encourage praise and recognition from employee-to-employee as well as from supervisors.
  • Remember that the golden rule does apply at work: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

There are many other ways to demonstrate respect at work, but these 10 constitute a solid foundation. If implemented consistently at work, these actions can help ensure a respectful, considerate, professional workplace.

Do you need advice on how to improve your workplace culture or environment? Contact the specialists at BCN to assist you, call us toll-free at 800-891-9911 or email



Lisandra Quinones, Human Resource Administrator

Getting through the summer vacation season

Everyone looks forward to time away from the office, but according to recent surveys, a remarkable number of Americans are not taking time off that is given to them. Paid time off, vacation and sick time are typically included in the benefits package that an employer offers and something that employees should be embracing.

The work-life balance is extremely important and there are tips and things to consider that will help everyone get through the summer months.

According to a Glassdoor study of 2,300 workers published in October 2014; only 51 percent of eligible PTO/Vacation time was used. The study went on to say that 61 percent of Americans work while they are on vacation. One in 4 employees are contacted by a colleague while on vacation, and 1 in 5 employees are contacted by their boss.

American workers receive an average of 10 paid work days off per year and 6 paid federal holidays, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. From these numbers, we can see that employees are not taking the time off that they can, and when they do, they do something work-related while on their time off.

Employers don’t want their staff to become burned out or overworked. Here are some suggestions for how to help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance:

  • Offer flexible working hours
  • Offer a PTO bank instead of traditional paid sick leave, personal days and vacation
  • Allow limited carry-over of PTO into another calendar year
  • As a manager or supervisor, be a model of work-life balance
  • Don’t contact other employees while they are away on vacation or personal time
  • Sponsor employee events to boost morale
  • Consider job sharing (one full-time position can be shared by two part-timers).

While it is important to encourage employees to take time off, it is also important to maintain productivity. Summer can sometimes be tough for businesses dealing with staff shortages during these prime vacation months.
Here are suggestions for how to keep the momentum going:

  • Put employee vacation schedules into one master schedule for the group to view
  • Outline with the group what needs to be done before and during each person’s time off
  • Have a coverage schedule arranged for each vacation
  • Balance the extra workload among multiple employees instead of just one or two\
  • Consider hiring summer interns to help with smaller tasks such as filing

Summer can be an exciting time but also a stressful time for employers. Preparation and good communication can turn it into a very productive working season.


Kari Stanley

Kari Stanley, HR Generalist

An employer brand can be a great recruitment strategy

As employers with open positions to fill, we often consider what we’re looking for in a candidate.

We assess knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform at an acceptable level in the position.  We think about the professional characteristics of employees who have been successful in the position in the past.  We visualize how we want the new hire to interact with our team. Then we advertise to reach out to potential candidates explaining what we’re looking for.

But how many of us consider what our ideal candidates want in a company and promote ourselves to them? Recruiting is as much marketing as it is a human resources and management venture.

What’s important to your target employee pool?

What attracts their attention?  What are they looking for in employment?  Consider what you can offer and what characteristics of your company will make them proud to be your employee.

Are there benefits, working arrangements, or opportunities for development and growth you offer that they will find of value?

These are all questions we should consider as we promote our company with every position we post.

Branding can promote to prospective employees

Creating an “employer brand” that appeals to your preferred candidates is a key component to effective recruiting.  You want to be sure the avenues you’re using to get the word out about your position reach candidates who are not only qualified, but who will also identify with your employer brand.  Be sure to sell the company to your potential candidates.

Your brand also shapes the message you’re communicating.  Many times employees aren’t just looking for work, but they want to know they will belong to an organization that they can be proud of, a company with practices they support, and one with philosophies that resonate with them.

Do you have a passion for supporting the community, empowering specific people groups, environmental responsibility, or sharing a love for your product with the world?  Sell that!

Communicate the things that make you a great employer. Maybe it’s your work environment, flexible work arrangements, or a culture of fun in the midst of productivity.

Then show what you have to offer candidates. It’s a great way to differentiate yourself as an employer and attract the candidates who will be most successful in your business.

Trisha Crigger, Human Resources Generalist


Back-to-school season benefits employees as well as kids

It’s that time of year.  The days are getting shorter and cooler.  We’re sending our kids back to school, but what about our employees?

September is not typically the time of year that companies start new initiatives or take on additional expenses, but there are many continuing education opportunities available to employees in the fall, and business owners would do well to take note.

Whether you want to have a new manager trained, certify your professional staff, or simply learn more about the latest and greatest trends in your field, there are training options out there for your employees and for you .

Community Colleges
Many colleges and universities offer targeted training opportunities.  Whether you or your employee are working toward a degree, a professional certification or simply have an interest in a specific topic, most colleges and universities accommodate working schedules including offering evening and weekend classes at convenient times.

Both professional associations and independent training academies offer a wide variety of both on-site seminars and on-line webinars.  Whether you want your Project Manager to improve his organizational skills or your Administrative Assistant to have a stronger Excel base, business seminars may be a cost-effective alternative to a collegiate classroom.

BCN University
Have a new manager – or a manager that needs to brush up on her people skills?  Consider BCN’s Learning Management System for self-study sessions on a variety of topics including “Conflict Management,”  “Be an Effective Manager” or “Dealing with Difficult Workplace Behaviors.”

Have a need for targeted safety training?  “Hazard Communication,”  “Forklift Safety,” “ Blood-borne Pathogens” and many others can be found in our safety library which is available to BCN Services clients at no additional cost.

As always, the BCN Services Human Resources team is available to discuss specific situations in your workplace and help guide you with any and all employee matters, including training. Contact us at 800-891-9911 or contact us here.




Sue Kester, HR Manager

Appreciation is key to motivating employees and improving work ethic

Too often employees feel like their efforts go unnoticed and that they can easily be replaced.

Recognizing employees regularly can help achieve a culture of appreciation within an organization. People who feel recognized and cared about produce more and better work.  A simple “thank you” can go a long way.

Showing appreciation to employees helps them to feel valued.  According to a recent survey by Glassdoor, more than half of employees surveyed admit they would stay longer at their jobs if their bosses showed more appreciation toward them. Appreciation should be genuine: It should be personalized to recognize each employee’s value and worth to the organization.

It may not come as a surprise that pay raises were ranked as the number one way to make people feel appreciated at work. However, there are several other ways to make employees feel appreciated:

  • Write a thank you note or tell an employee when they’ve done a good job
  • Sponsor a fun event or lunch for employees to boost team morale
  • Offer public acknowledgment by creating an “Employee of the Month” program or similar reward
  • Send a companywide email to recognize an individual employee for doing something exceptional
  • Let an employee go home an hour or two early on a Friday as a form of reward.

You have to look at the people you work with every day,” Walt Kurlin, a Disney facilitator for business programs was quoted saying on the Society for Human Resource Management website “They are your internal customers. How I treat my customers and how I treat my employees—I have to do both the same way.”

If we can assist you with ideas for employee motivation and programs, contact the Human Resources experts at BCN Services at 800-891-9911 or email We’re here to help.

Amanda Cline (200x184)

Amanda Cline, HR Generalist

Good employers find a way to manage across generations

The two main generations of today’s workers  – Boomers and Millennials – don’t always agree on the kinds of HR-related benefits that contribute to job satisfaction.  In fact, each group has different views on retirement packages, health care, flex work schedules, supervisor/peer feedback, career advice and other benefits which affect their job satisfaction.

Keep in mind that each generation brings its own mental map to the workplace, but it is the job of a manager to understand this, develop generational intelligence, and create a plan of action. A good example would be maintaining a broader scope of benefit offerings to accommodate workers’ varying preferences, without incurring additional costs for the organization.

In the realm of health care plans, many companies are incorporating health savings accounts and higher-deductible packages into their benefits offerings shifting more responsibility for costs and control to their employees.

Create dream jobs for prospective, rising stars

The key to recruiting and retaining the most valuable, young rising stars is going to be the ability for employers to create dream jobs for those superstars.  Such jobs are built on a longer-term understanding of tremendous work conditions, rewards and flexibility which begins with the interview process all the way through onboarding, or the process of welcoming a new hire into the fold.  This includes:

  • Training and mentoring
  • Setting clear objectives
  • Providing feedback often

Surprisingly, generational characteristics are based on little scientific research.  While there are certainly differences among how each of us approaches work, emerging research is starting to turn around traditional thinking about the generation gap.  When there are differences, it was observed, they are related more to age than generation.

All generations share top work motivators

In fact, studies conclude that all four generations share the same top work motivators of desire for continuous employment and opportunities for promotion.  All generations expect the following from their employers and their work experience:

  • Working on challenging projects
  • Receiving competitive compensation
  • Have opportunities for advancement and chances to learn and grow in their jobs
  • Be treated fairly
  • Have a good work-life balance

It is important for employers to maintain a balance and ensure that employee offerings accommodate the needs of all generations of workers.

BCN Services can help your organization develop a menu of benefits that will meet your organization’s needs and keep your employees motivated and satisfied in their jobs.

Sources:, Forbes, Time



Debbie Strahle, Partnership Manager

Walking the talk: The benefit of engaging your employees

Getting employees to feel connected and enthusiastic about their job is vital to the productivity of any organization.  The most important thing you can do as manager is to walk the talk.  How you behave says more about the truth of the company than what you say.

Engagement should begin at the interview process.  Emphasize how the company conducts business and why it matters. This helps interviewees understand what they are getting into if they are offered a position, or allow them to decide if the company’s culture is not a good fit.

When joining a company, employees should arrive with expectations that match the company’s and be able to engage in the company culture immediately.

Prospective employees will spot non-verbal cues

No matter what a manager says during the recruitment process, the interviewee will notice if there are non-verbal cues that don’t match up.  For example, if the culture is informal and collaborative, make sure the recruitment process reflects that.  Does your recruitment strategy reflect the kind of person the organization wants to attract?

If you are recruiting for an office position, make sure an office tour is part of the interview process.  This gives applicants the opportunity to experience the environment and the way in which workers interact with each other.  Additionally, create opportunities for candidates to speak with employees as well as managers so they can see for themselves your company is a great place to work.

Make sure you welcome them!  Think about what happens when you meet new people.  The experience of being introduced into a tight-knit group can be alienating.  The close bond and inside jokes can make you feel excluded.

An engaging workplace will help new staffers settle in

The same can happen within your organization.  The more engaging your workplace is, the more satisfying it will be for all employees.  New employees are more likely to feel left out, so be sure you help them settle in, join social outings and help them learn the culture as well as the practicalities of your company.

Make sure you personalize things and make connections.  Go to lunch.  Find out what matters to the employee and use that information to tailor how you manage and reward your employee.

Engagement can shift with workload, season and time of day, so don’t assume the way you managed and rewarded an employee when they start will work a year or two later.  Stay engaged with the process, and constantly looking for ways to update your approach.

Engaging employees can be time consuming.  As a manager, you will need to find the right balance.  What you will get back will be productive positive employee who sticks with you.

Also, an engaged employee is the most successful tool to retention and recruitment.  Employees who are fully engaged in your business are likely to work harder and to act as ambassadors for you.  This will become vital as the economy picks up.



Debbie Strahle, Partnership Manager