Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Astronology - Religious Accommodation....Keeping the Balance


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Volume XIII

Issue 11

November 27, 2012

Dear Andrew,

Astron Solutions provides high-quality, low-cost, innovative human resources consulting services to organizations like yours. Call us for advice, innovative program design, and user-friendly Web/PC based software.


Religious Accommodation...Keeping the Balance

For many, religion is a private and sacred part of their lives. Still, this delicate subject impacts an employee's professional life and his / her organization. Many organizations are quite conscious of the sensitivity needed when addressing employees' requests for religious accommodation. However, some organizations are not aware of how to keep a balance between satisfying their employees and keeping the organization productive. This edition of Astronology takes a closer look into the topic......
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Copyright 2012, Astron Solutions, LLC

ISSN Number 1549-0467

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Guest Post: 6 Reasons to Conduct an Exit Interview

We've been talking a lot about attracting and keeping employees--but what if you have to say good-bye? This next guest post tackles that and the reasons to conduct an exit interview. The author, Steven Burrell, has been writing about human resources and business solutions for many years. Click here for more information on aptitude tests and other tools for maintaining a successful workplace.

Exit interviews are something that many business owners and managers do not think to do. Many think that since the employee is leaving that there is no value in a final interview. However, these interviews can provide valuable information about your business and allow you to get a good look at how things are really working on the employee level.

Learning Why People Quit 

When an employee is doing an exit interview he or she will almost always be more candid and honest because there is nothing to lose. They are leaving anyway and will tell you why. You may learn some things about your supervisors, other current employees and how your employees view their working conditions and hours. This will allow you to make the changes necessary to prevent turnover at work and to help you keep the employees that you value the most.

You May Avoid a Lawsuit 

An employee may be leaving over issues that he or she finds sue-worthy, such as sexual harassment or unfair labor practices. During an exit interview you will have the opportunity to get this information and try to rectify the situation. For example, you have a rather shy employee that is leaving. Perhaps he or she felt that she could not come to you with his or her concerns over another employee acting inappropriately. This employee is leaving rather than coming to you for a solution. If you can provide a solution, you may be able to actually keep this employee, or at least provide him or her with enough closure and satisfaction to not file a lawsuit over the situation.

Get a Look at Your Competition 

When someone is willingly leaving an employer, they almost always have another job prospect lined up and ready to go. Ask them why they are choosing to leave you and head over to the competition. Do not ask for details, but just some general reasons. This will help you improve some things and keep your other employees from fleeing down the road to the competition.

Learn What Programs Employees Want 

Some employees may leave because they do not get adequate vacation time or medical benefits. In today's world, these things are critically important to have. If they can find a similar job that offers these things, they have no reason not to go work there. Do not be afraid to ask if perks and benefits influenced the employees decision during the exit interview.

Learn What is Working 

During the exit interviews, do not just ask about what the employee didn't like, but also ask about the things that they did like about your company. Even little things like the hour lunch break you offer or the nice holiday parties can leave a really good impression and help to show that you appreciate your employees. Make note of these good things and keep them in mind when you are recruiting. This could help you land more valuable employees in the future, as well as retain the ones that you already have.

Learn Better Training Strategies 

If an employee does not feel that he or she was properly trained to do the job, they may decide to go to another company that offers more comprehensive training. In a nutshell, if there job is far too difficult to do, why should they stay to do it? Create a full training program that not only shows the basics of the job, but other things too, such as how to solve problems that crop up, who they should consult for specific questions and most of all, that you will support them whenever they need help or have questions.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest Post: 5 Benefits that can Attract Young Workers

Our guest posts continue with this post from Nadia Jones on benefits you can put in place to attract young workers. Nadia Jones is an education blogger for onlinecollege.org. She enjoys writing on topics of education reform, education news, and online learning platforms. Outside of the blogging world, Nadia volunteers her time at an after school program for a local middle school and plays pitcher for her adult softball team. She welcomes your comments and questions at nadia.jones5@gmail.com.

What's Happening 

A culture clash is almost always certain to occur between generations, but such episodes usually play out within families. Consider this stereotypical scene: grandparents disapprove of the younger generation's attitude and music, and younger generations find their elders stuffy and preoccupied with standards of the past. Today, America's workforce is undergoing a unique transition. The Baby Boomers are retiring, and the Echo Boomers are filling the gaps; and offices around the country have become stages for generational conflict as the two age groups are forced together.

Why Businesses Should Care 

Experts have reported that these two headstrong generations have had difficulty finding common ground, but such clashes are being resolved as the priorities of the Millennial generation are becoming more clear. Much attention has been paid to this particular generation as it is estimated that by 2025 Generation Y will account for 75% of the global workforce. For forward-thinking companies that hope to prepare for the future, understanding this generation is a key to long-term success.

Millennials Seek Work-Life Balance 

The most resounding value of the Millennial generation is an increased need for work-life balance. Younger workers are willing to invest time and energy into their companies, but they also expect benefits that support healthy lifestyles and personal fulfillment. While this might sound like an impossible or inappropriate expectation, such balance can be offered to all workers, and it begins with benefits.

1. Health Insurance -- Millennials are approaching entry-level positions pragmatically and are paying close attention to details other than salary. In some cases, a job without adequate benefits is a deal breaker. Younger workers understand the financial implications of living without health insurance, and they view affordable medical treatment as an essential element of a well-balanced life. A company that wishes to recruit Millennials simply must offer a comprehensive and affordable benefits package.

2. Retirement Plan – You may not expect a worker in his 20s to be adamant about a 401K or IRA, but coinciding with an increasingly pragmatic viewpoint, the younger generations are looking ahead. With government programs like Social Security and Medicare in a bind, these young workers are planning for increased financial independence during retirement. Offering such a benefit is not only a great way to recruit Millennials, but to retain them as well.

3. Paid Time Off-- Whether it's for a doctor's appointment or to take a weekend road trip, Millennials are seeking more PTO to manage health and to fulfill personal goals outside of work. Studies show that many workers, not just Millennials, would opt for a lower salary in lieu of more time off. This priority represents a shifting demand in lifestyle support from personal income to personal time.

4. Flexibility -- Millennials are willing to make major investments in their work, but they would like the freedom to tackle projects on their own time and in an environment of their choosing. Companies that are in sync with these work habits are flexible with start and end times and allow employees to work from home when feasible.

5. Opportunities to Learn -- Whether it's an in-company training program or a certified online course, members of Generation Y seek professional development through learning new skills. But learning doesn't have to come from a formal source. Younger workers naturally crave feedback and advice from more experienced co-workers and superiors. Companies should never overlook mentorships as learning opportunities for new workers, and if additional learning programs are within the budget, workers of all ages should be encouraged to learn new skills to increase competitiveness.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Guest Post: 3 Unlikely Degrees that Can Benefit a Human Resource Department

We have a series of great guest posts for the blog. The first comes from Samantha Gray who is a freelance writer/researcher for www.BachelorsDegreeOnline.com. Her articles cover issues related to both online and traditional education, as well as student lifestyle, parenting and careers. Please send any questions or comments her way at SamanthaGray024@gmail.com. Without further ado, here is what Samantha had to say about degrees that can benefit an HR department


Although a degree is not necessary to work in the human resources field, most employers still prefer to hire people with a bachelor’s degree. Often, these employers look for job seekers who have graduated with business or management degrees, but there are many other subjects that can prepare someone for a career in human resources. Because human resource managers handle a variety of tasks, a staff that is educated in a variety of subjects will produce the best results. What other degrees can benefit a human resource department? Check out the following three below. 


A degree in communications prepares graduates for careers in all sorts of industries and positions. The basic tenets of the subject require students to study several arts and science topics, including psychology, sociology, political science, economics and marketing. Each of these topics is taught in short form, as professors display how they each play a role in the news media, politics and business. In addition, students study the anthropological history of mass communication and learn various techniques for disseminating information, such as speech writing, writing for news and public relations, public speaking and marketing campaign planning. Although most graduates go on to work in public relations, journalism, political campaign consulting or marketing, the degree also teaches skills that are valuable for work in the human resources field. As a human resource administrator, it is necessary to know how to effectively communicate with the employees you are responsible for helping. Job seekers with communication degrees are educated on a wide range of social science theories and methods, which are valuable for handling an array of human resource-related issues and social conflicts.


Psychology is the study of human mental functions and behaviors. Although most psychology students are interested in becoming researchers or clinical psychologists, a degree in this subject provides an education that can be applied to several fields. Psychology is an ongoing scientific study that has a goal of understanding individual and social thought and behavior. Students are required to learn how to conduct clinical studies and how to provide counsel to those experiencing personal and relational conflicts. Although human resource administrators aren’t counselors, an understanding of psychology can certainly prepare them for dealing with the personal and relational problems that employees experience in the workplace and are required to report to the human resource department.


Sociology is a scientific subject that deals with the study of human social activity. The goal of sociology is to produce and prove theories that can be applied to political policy and social organization. Students study how culture, deviance, law, religion and social class or stratification affects the plight of human welfare. In addition to studying the subject’s theories, students also study anthropological history and how it relates to the various theories. Like psychology, a degree in sociology can provide human resource administrators with an education that helps them better understand social interaction and human behavior in groups. Again, this knowledge can benefit administrators when they have to work through employee conflict in the workplace.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A Request for Help and Post-Hurricaine Wishes

We wanted to extend our wishes here at Astron Solutions to those effected by Hurricane Sandy. Our employees are mostly located in the New York Metro area and have seen the devastation from this storm to peoples homes, businesses, and, most sadly, with some people's lives as well. We hope that all your loved ones and those close to you are safe and sheltered and our thoughts go out to everyone during this tough time.

On another note, we have this from Jennifer: "I'm working on a column for the Work Style Magazine (from Europe) and need your help! With the US Presidential election just a week away, individuals around the world are watching what happens here in America. Individuals outside the US with an interest in Human Resources want to know what it is like to be employed by one of America's "super wealthy," an organization whose founder or leader supports Governor Mitt Romney in the election. How do the "super wealthy" act with their employees? What do they think about the people that work for them? What is the organizational culture like? I'm specifically looking to talk with people who work for any of these companies: Las Vegas Sands, PayPal, Univision, Citadel, GoDaddy.com, Public Storage, Marriott, New Balance, Penske Trucking, Limited Group (retail stores), and Charles Schwab. Thanks in advance for any referrals you can provide over the next couple of days!"

If you can help, please e-mail here at jcloftus@astronsolutions.com and let her know. Thanks!

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