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New I-9 Forms

The New I-9 Forms Are Out

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department has released a new I-9 form, which requires employers to attest that the documentation presented by a new employee appears to be genuine and in order.  The employee is also required to attest that they were legally entitled to work in the United States. The new form is dated 03/08/2013 and must be put into use by employers effective May 7. You can confirm which version of the form you are using since the date of the version number is printed in the lower left corner of each page of the form.

 

The New I-9 Form        

As before, employers are required to execute the process for all new U.S. hires, but now the form has grown to nine pages.  Section 1 (page 1) is to be filled out by the employer, Section 2 (page 2) is to be filled out by the employee and page 3 contains a list of acceptable documentation that an employee can present.

 

The other 6 pages contain instructions and explanations which now contain updated and expanded requirements specifically relating to expanded criteria in handling job applicants with disabilities and the while not specifically mentioned, there is the issue of how to process the so called “Dreamers” with Deferred prosecution Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

 

Notable changes:

  1. Expanded instructions to the employee as to how to fill out the form even if undocumented but with work authorization.
  2. Expanded instructions to the employers representative
  3. Addition of (optional) employee e-mail address and phone number
  4. Separation of the sections for the employee and employer onto separate pages.
  5. More emphasis is now placed on the onus of the employer to examine the employment eligibility and identity documents each new employee presents and record the information on the form. Employers are expected to determine and attest under the penalty of perjury whether the documents (1) reasonably appear to be genuine and (2) relate to the employee. The list of acceptable documents is printed on the last page of the form. UCIS has published and informational handbook on How to fill out Form I-9.
  6. The form is available in English and Spanish however the Spanish version is only approved for use only in Puerto Rico, so U.S. employers must use the English version, even if a new hire speaks only Spanish.
  7. Definition of “Disabled” is given broader interpretation, which is outlined in the I-9 instructions pages.

 

Notes:

 

  1. The creation of a class of applicant – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that is authorized to work in the US is something that needs to be understood and handled correctly.  The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services (DCIS) has published an informational handbook on DACA on their website.  Note that the instructions specifically refer to the fact that refusing to accept unexpired work authorization documents could be classed as discrimination and an unfair employment practice, and goes so far as to give contact phone numbers and web sites in this regard.
  2. In 2008, President Obama signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). The act’s purpose is to enable the definition of “disability” to cover a broader range of individuals without the need for extensive analysis.  Be aware that some of the changes to the ADA make fairly significant adjustments in the way disability is determined and how employers must treat individuals when they are hired, fired, promoted or given raises, to avoid discrimination. For instance, the prohibition against discrimination now extends, not only to employees themselves, but also to anyone who has a close family member that is disabled (for example, employers cannot discriminate against the parent of a disabled child).

 

When in doubt, it would be money well spent to contact an HR specialist to help guide you through the legal minefield.

 

 

What Do Customers Actually Buy From You?

I attended a great sales workshop where the attendees were asked to make a list the factors that set them apart from their competitors. As you are probably doing as you read this, most people listed Quality and Service high amongst the main reasons. In effect this means that Quality and Service is the core of their Unique Value Proposition (UVP).

The scenario was then put forward that the owner of the company had won the lottery and decided to retire with immediate effect, leaving the company in the hands of his only son, who never really liked you – so you find yourself looking for alternative employment with immediate effect. The competition recognizes and appreciates your talents and within a matter of days, you find yourself on the other side of the fence.

As someone who feels you have built a loyal customer base, you find yourself approaching your old customers wearing a different hat, selling the same exact stuff. So the question is now how are you going to sell your competitors products and services? Quality and Service – Right… it’s just that they seem to have heard that somewhere before. But you do manage to get a few of them to cross the floor and life goes on!

So the question was then posed what was the real basis for the sales and how is it possible to compete since everyone felt that customers bought from them based on the same criteria – nothing unique there?

So that brings us to the question of what customers really “buy”? Many sales people feel the answer then must be – them! Perhaps, but this is probably a little arrogant and definitely more complex than it first appears. I believe the correct answer is – your promises.

That might seem to be the same thing but in reality there is a lot going on in the background. This is where we break out the TQM argument:

Let’s ask a few leading questions to frame the context:

  1. If you have a Geo Metro and a Cadillac in front of you – which one is better quality?
  2. Pick one and explain why?
  3. OK so now you are on a reality show undercover as the lead Quality Inspector for GM on the Metro line. Would you sign off on a Metro rolling off the production line as good quality?
  4. Why or why not?

OK so I am betting 99% of you answered Q1 by saying the Cadillac is better quality. Q2’s answer would then essentially be – because it is more luxurious. Having answered Q1 and Q2 the way most people do, Q3 is a really tough one. The answer I generally get to Q3 is that you would sign off on the Metro. And Q4 is you would have to sign because it has been properly manufactured according to the Geo Metro specifications.

So if I was in the Market for a Geo, and your company delivered a Cadillac, would I be happy? Quite possibly not because I was looking for a Metro for a reason – I may not be able to afford the insurance, the gas or the maintenance? And if I wanted a Cadillac and a Metro was delivered, would I be happy?

These are extreme examples to demonstrate a point, but the answer to the burning question is really customers buy what they are expecting to get. The order is fulfilled based on the expectations you set (or possibly do not dispel) and the specifications you relayed to your company. If anything does not line up with the picture your customer has of what they are getting and how and when it will be received and how it will perform, then the game is on.

So back to TQM or Total Quality Management, this says that anything that does not meet the customer’s expectation is a quality problem. In reality under this definition, a rude phone call can be a quality problem as can any number of operations and production errors. For this reason, most sales people feel that quality is someone else’s problem: production, operations or service.

Most sales people fail to understand that quality is principally a sales problem!

Why do I say this? As we saw from the questions, the traditional concept of quality is conformance to specifications.

The customer’s definition of quality is conformance to expectations!

As I pointed out, expectations are squarely in the realm of sales. So do you have SEP sales people? Time for some more questions to find out:

  1. How many sales people do you know that only get paid only when the company gets paid and then only based on the final margin?
  2. Do your sales people use discounting as their prime tactic to overcoming resistance in the sales process?
  3. Would the bulk of your sales people have a huge problem operating on this basis?
  4. Do most of your sales people not get involved in the fulfillment process, keep the customer informed and iron out bumps in the road?
  5. Do most of your sales people feel that they are paid to sell and it is not a good use of their time to collect checks or payment?
  6. Do your sales people have a problem with taking a significant cut in commission when they discount your product by 5%?

If the answer to any of the questions 2 through 6, you have SEP sales people! SEP stands for “Someone Else’s Problem”.

As the first and probably prime point of contact with the customer, the salesperson sets, sells and should actively manage the expectations. A good sales person does this, where a poor salesman does the usual act of show up, throw up and run like hell to collect the commission check. Question 2 is my personal hot button because it shows a very specific disregard for their actual job or worse still fundamental lack of understanding of the product costs and margins as well as the commercial imperatives.

The bottom line is that having a bumpy road in fulfilling the order and getting paid makes everyone look bad and makes the sales person look especially bad since they are the face of the company and it was their promises that were broken – TQM.

Achieving Proper Balance and Focus

As a small business owner, you have to wear a number of different hats. In the mad scramble that characterizes most small business owners day, days become weeks and weeks become months. With the best intentions in the world, strategy and planning are often pushed out to deal with immediate and seemingly more pressing issues.

Mastermind groups are a proven way to bring together business leaders from diverse sectors who are committed to growing their businesses. Our groups form a powerful business executive advisory board that will assist you to test and refine your business strategy, provide invaluable support and perspective and above all the accountability that we crave but find so elusive.

With CEO Focus, executive coaching is facilitated through the 1-1 strategy sessions where you can gain advice and insight into best business practices that are right for your industry, Arizona and the current economic climate. We have the skills and resources to provide the full range of support, training and development that your company needs at every level and in every stream. Together we will develop practical sales, marketing, financial and operating strategies that are tailored to your business and geared to driving your business forward.

Why Do I Need a Business Coach?

All the best sports stars have coaches.  They know that in order to continue to win, they have to continually work hard and strive to improve their game.  It has been proven time and again that these stars have coaches because the hardest things to do are: to keep them on track and to get out of their own way.

Even business owners who aren’t seemingly doing anything wrong can benefit tremendously from outside guidance, opinions and accountability.  An experienced business coach will highlight your strengths and weaknesses and be the key to helping you to assess what needs to be done to make your business stronger.

Our coaches are able to help with everything from sales and marketing initiatives to building your organization the way you want it to be.  We help CEO’s  win back the time to do the things they should be doing. We supplement their efforts in key areas to  help them run their  business in the most  efficient way possible.

The benefit of working with CEO Focus as part of a round table advisory group is that you have access to a powerful network of  top notch, motivated and experienced group of true peers.  CEO’s who face the same challenges you do but in diverse industries which allows them to bring true objectivity to the table.