4 Screening Tests for Employees That Management Should Consider

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | 4 Screening Tests for Employees That Management Should ConsiderA company’s strategy towards employees typically requires managers to be vigilant about potential employee issues that happen unexpectedly but demand an immediate response. However, not leaving things to chance means being proactive and not just reactive to avoid potential issues becoming all too real.

To avoid management getting bogged down with interpersonal conflicts, security issues, or concerns over questionable conduct, here are four screening tests for employees that are worth considering.

Criminal Background Checks

While checking if someone has a criminal record that they’ve failed to disclose on a job application form avoids employing an ex-con, that shouldn’t be where the checks start and finish.

It’s necessary to run periodic employee background checks to verify that the information is still correct, and the situation hasn’t changed. For instance, an employee could have had a domestic violence complaint against them, or been charged with shoplifting, and the company would not necessarily know if they weren’t diligent enough to run a check on it.

Verifying that an employee doesn’t have a criminal conviction since the last time it was reviewed avoids continuing to employ someone who may be a danger to themselves or others. Also, issues with theft represent a significant new risk to assets and intellectual property rights too.

Financial Credit Check

A financial credit check is something that every employer should do for each employee or job applicant on a second or third interview for a position. For someone who’ll work in the finance department or handle confidential business information that the company wouldn’t want to be available to the highest bidder, a worrying credit score is a concern.

At a certain level of indebtedness, the employee could become a financial risk where money troubles could cause them to become compromised. At which point, they could do something seemingly out of character due to either being persuaded to by a third party or for pure financial motivation.

A Decline in Work Performance or Attendance

If an employee who has previously been an exemplary worker suddenly has a significant and sustained drop in performance, this should raise some eyebrows. It’s good to understand the reason(s) for this happening to ensure there’s nothing that the company should be overly concerned about.

Poor attendance is a cause for concern from a generate tardiness with a timekeeping standpoint. Also, additional sick days without a forthcoming sick note from a doctor is another area that raises some red flags. It’s beneficial to put some time into getting to the bottom of why this is happening. Check-in with the staff member to discuss the matter, determine the cause, and confirm what they’re doing to resolve it.

DMV Checks on Driving License Status

If you have employees who drive for the company, either with a company car or operating a van or long-haul truck, it’s necessary to check their driving license record each year. Doing so will clarify whether they’ve received any penalties on their license relating to new infractions. It will also confirm that they still have a driving license and are not driving a company vehicle without one.

By performing check-ins with the employee and screening tests, you’ll be able to confirm if there’s been a change in status that’s a potential conflict or cause for concern. These come in a variety of forms with the management having some degree of latitude on how they may respond to them. Not running certain screening tests both prior to hiring, and during employment periods, leaves the company in the dark.

9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can EnjoyIn theory, organizing team building activities is a perfect way to get your team to get to know each other outside the office and form a stronger bond within the office as a result. However, finding the right activity for everyone if you are running a company that has multiple departments can be a real challenge.If your workforce is very diverse, there’s a good chance that preferences are going to vary – especially if you have a workforce in which there are employees who are not all the same relative age. This is why you need to find a way to celebrate these differences by choose activities everyone feels comfortable participating in.

Here’s a list of fun team building exercises everyone can participate in and enjoy.

Scavenger Hunt

Purpose: Teamwork

A scavenger hunt is a classic team collaboration game. The rules are easy:

Split your team into equal sized groups and send them out with a list of fun things to find. You can choose whether you want to do this in the office or outside the office. Set a time limit for all groups and put together some fun clues or even riddles that will force your teams to get creative and use not just their eyes but their brains as well! Whichever team comes back with the most items once time has run out is the winner.


Purpose: Communication and problem solving

For this indoor game, you will need an empty room or hallway and a bunch of random office items. You can use office chairs, paper, boxes, anything you have around the office that isn’t too delicate or expensive to create obstacles in the empty space or “minefield.” Divide teams into pairs in which one of them must be blindfolded.

The other one must guide that person from start to finish without setting off any mines. That means they cannot step on any obstacles or venture outside the given boundaries. Their only guidance is the voice of their partner. You can change the number of pairs and obstacles depending on how difficult you want this game to be.

Three Truths and a Lie

Purpose: Getting to know each other

This is a really easy game. Before starting, give each team member four slips of paper where each of them can secretly write down three truths and one lie about themselves. It’s very important that the lie is believable. Instruct them not to reveal to anyone what they wrote down!

Then allow 15 minutes for conversation between the team members. This is the time when everyone should go around the room and talk about their written talking points in random order. The goal here is to convince others that your lie is a truth while you try to guess other people’s lies by asking them different questions. Remember- you should not reveal your truths or lies to other team members, even if everyone else has already guessed everything!

Say My Name

Purpose: Breaking stereotypes

Everyone should write down names (e.g. someone famous) or types of people (e.g. professor, doctor, wealthy, athletic) on name tags. Then put those tags on each team member’s back or forehead so they cannot see who they are but everyone else can.

Give people a few minutes to talk to each other and ask questions. The point is to treat everyone according to stereotypes related to the name on their tag. After each team member figures out who they are, they should exit the game and leave the rest of the people to continue playing. This game allows your employees to have fun and engage in conversation while confronting stereotypes at the same time.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy
Office Trivia

Purpose: Bonding

This is one of the easiest team building games to put together! All you have to do is come up with a series of questions about your office and then test your team’s knowledge. You can ask a variety of questions such as: “What brand of computer does a certain employee use?” “How many people are in the finance department” or “How many windows are there in the office?” or “Who takes their coffee with cream and sugar?”

Besides bonding people through conversation, this fun and easy team building activity is great for testing how observant people are and how much they know about their office, company and colleagues.

Community Service

Purpose: Enhance teamwork and collaboration

Find an activity that reflects your company values, get out of the office for a day and do something good for your community. This team building activity is not only excellent for getting your employees together and bonding through something that’s incredible positive, it’s also great for the overall image of your company in terms of local marketing.

When businesses go out into their communities and help people in need, the members of the community take notice and reward those businesses with loyalty.

Mural Painting

Purpose: Enhancing creativity

For this fun and creative team building activity you will need paint, brushes and something to paint on. It can be a canvas or a wall of your building/office. The point is to give each member of the team complete freedom to paint whatever they want. Give them a general theme and then let everyone create their own colorful masterpieces.

If you are giving an individual canvas to each employee, put them together and display them in your office as a mural once they are dry. Some people might refuse to paint at first because they don’t think they are talented, so make sure you explain to everyone that this is not a contest. This game’s purpose is to show that everyone has a creative side once they overcome their fears of showing it.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | 9 Team Building Activities Your Entire Staff Can Enjoy
Make Your Logo

Purpose: Problem solving

Start by asking everyone to empty their pockets, purses and wallets and gather all the coins you can find and then place the coins on a table in front of you. Each team member should create their own logo for the company or team using the coins in front of them in one minute.

You may also use pens, notebooks, paper and anything you else you have around the office to create the logo. The logo can represent the team members individually or you can work together to create a logo for the department or even the entire organization. It’s a fun and creative game that encourages resourcefulness.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Purpose: Communication skills

For this team building activity, you will need a small piece of paper for each employee and a list of well-known “couples” such as peanut butter and jelly, Romeo and Juliet, salt and pepper, and so on. Each team member should wear the name of one half of each pair on their backs.

Have everyone mingle and try to figure out the word on their backs while only asking each other “Yes or No” questions. Once they figure out their word, they have to find the other half of their pair. As they find each other, have them sit down while the rest of the team continues until everyone has connected with their pair.

About the Author

Tamara Luzajic is a web content writer and editor, currently working as a copywriter at Humanity, employee scheduling and workforce management software.

Nine Lies About Work – Is it more engaging to be a full-time worker, a part-time worker, a virtual worker, or a gig worker?

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | Nine Lies About Work - Is it more engaging to be a full-time worker, a part-time worker, a virtual worker, or a gig worker?Is it more engaging to be a full-time worker, a part-time worker, a virtual worker, or a gig worker?

According to the study, the most engaging work status is to have one full-time job and one part-time job.

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Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Excerpted from Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall. Copyright 2019 One Thing Productions, Inc. and Ashley Goodall. All rights reserved.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Marcus BuckinghamMarcus Buckingham is a bestselling author and global researcher focusing on all aspects of people and performance at work.  During his years at the Gallup Organization, he worked with Dr. Donald O. Clifton to develop the StrengthsFinder program, and coauthored the seminal business books First, Break All The Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths.  He designed the StandOut strengths assessment completed by over one million people to date, and authored the accompanying book, Standout: Find Your Edge, Win at Work.  He currently heads all people and performance research at the ADP Research Institute.  Nine Lies About Work is his ninth book.

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Ashley GoodallAshley Goodall is the Senior Vice President of Leadership and Team Intelligence at Cisco Systems.  In this role, he built a new organization focused entirely on serving teams and team leaders – an organization combining learning and talent management, people planning, organizational design, executive talent and succession planning, coaching, assessment, team development, research and analytics, and performance technology.  Prior to joining Cisco, he spent fourteen years at Deloitte, where he was responsible for Leader Development and Performance Management

In a Newly-Virtual World, Are Ride Alongs Still Important?

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | In a Newly-Virtual World, Are Ride Alongs Still Important?All managers and leaders recognize that one of their most critical tasks is to develop the skills and competencies of their people. They agree, too, that one of the very best ways to properly understand the level of skill and competency of their workforce is to observe them in real-time, real life, operational situations: cue the ride-along.

For those not familiar with the ride-along, or for those who underestimate their usefulness, imagine a professional football coach telling the club owner that, rather than watch the game unfold from the sideline, he’d much rather read all about it the following day in the sports pages. How long do you imagine that particular coach would last? In fact, all modern coaches not only watch the game from the sidelines, they also manage and attend the training sessions, the strategy sessions, help construct the playbooks, recruit the staff and players, etc: the same too of business leaders and senior managers, of course.

The best sales leaders recognize that spending time ‘in the field’ visiting customers with their team is a critical part of their job. The best customer service leaders are also extremely used to the desk-accompaniment listening to real-time, live calls with clients and prospects, and then spending time reviewing and coaching the particular operative. These ride-along scenarios have been standard operating procedure for most developmental companies for years. But, in these times of social-distancing, has dealing with COVID-19 and the almost world-wide mandatory working from home instruction, temporarily put ride alongs on-ice as it has so many other normal work behaviors? Not a bit.

Whichever sector, business, or business-cycle, managers and leaders should develop their people now more than ever.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that lots of companies are thriving, actually booming, in the current climate: food distribution, medical supplies, cleaning-product manufacturers, video-conferencing, and a host of many others. These companies now, more than ever, need to capitalize on their upward growth-curve to ensure that the growth is well-managed and the organization does not come apart at the seams as the company struggles to keep pace with the growing demands put upon it.  Managers and leaders should schedule more time than ever to ensure that quality-spills are minimized and that individuals are up to the increased task. Leaders are obliged to ensure that all opportunities are well managed, and that customers remain satisfied. How to do this? Highly structured and regular ‘virtual’ ride-alongs, of course.

Some companies are at a relatively steady-state of revenue – although still grappling with new methods of operating, processes, and people-management policies. Ride-alongs should be Standard Operating Procedure, and managers should ensure that. Just because the ride-along may now have to be supported by video-conferencing and other technological platforms, their usefulness is just as valid as ever. In fact, social distancing, and working from home practices now afford the manager even more opportunity to spend time with their people ‘in the field’ since the usual travel-time to and from the meeting is effectively removed. What a tremendous opportunity to spend more time increasing skills even more in this, our new normal.

For those businesses that are scrambling to pivot, or even survive, the next few weeks and months will be most telling. This is a critical time for many businesses ensuring that their supply-chain is as stable as possible, their customers are as well-communicated with as possible, and their sales and customer-service skills are as honed as possible. If there are fewer opportunities than ever before for these businesses, the importance of each opportunity increases proportionately, of course. This means that highly structured and regular role-plays, pre-call plans, and post-call reviews should now be mandatory.

Whatever business you are in, managers these days should be spending most of their time  supporting their people in the field with customers, prospects, suppliers, and staff with incredibly structured and organized ride alongs. Virtual is the new normal: and virtual ride alongs are the new way to ensure that businesses are as well managed as possible during the global pandemic.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Antonio GarridoAntonio Garrido is a charismatic and experienced trainer, speaker, and consultant. He runs a Sandler Training Center in Miami, FL. The author of THE 21ST CENTURY RIDE-ALONG: How Sales Leaders Can Develop Their Teams In Real-Time Sales Calls, Antonio works with highly-motivated entrepreneurs, business leaders, and companies who are ready to work smarter and commit their time, money, and energy to attract new clients, sell more, and generate more profits.

For more information, please visit https://www.Sandler.com/resources/sandler-books/21st-century-ride-along/.

Part Of The Team: Managing Employees Effectively During The Coronavirus

StrategyDriven Talent Management and Managing Your People Article |Coronavirus|Part Of The Team: Managing Employees Effectively During The CoronavirusIt is safe to say that many businesses have had to adapt really quickly to the current situation. Businesses that had no idea how to incorporate remote working have had to do it quickly. But while we’ve all discovered new ways of working we’ve had to figure out how to keep our employees motivated during this difficult time. While it might not be top of your priority list right now, happy employees will continue to be productive ones. But this also means that you’ve got to learn how to manage them. You may very well be concerned about the state of the business but what can we do to make sure that our employees feel part of the organization despite what is going on?

Avoid Ambiguity

If we are more transparent our employees will know where they stand. It can prove to be challenging, especially when we have numerous employees to liaise with. But if we can find blanket ways to keep our employees on the same page this will go to alleviate some fears. Now, the benefit of work tools like Slack and Zoom have come into their own, and if we can increase our platforms for communication, whether this is incorporating a Coronavirus text alert so our employees are as up-to-date as humanly possible or improving our communication tools, we can work better at managing their anxieties. As simple as it is, being transparent can prove difficult, especially if we are worried about how long this pandemic will last and if our business will survive. But it’s not just about communicating the good things; it’s about communicating the bad but incorporating action plans so our employees know what will happen should things get worse. Ambiguity will breed anxiety so let’s minimize it.

Checking In With Them On An Individual Basis

It’s not easy to check in with them on an individual basis but while you may very well be having daily briefings where you can see them all, sometimes employees feel they can’t speak out on such an open forum. When our employees have individual stresses it’s crucial to ensure that they are focused and happy. And checking in with them on a semi-regular basis isn’t just being a good leader but it’s being a good friend. And this is something that we have to relax right now. Running a business is always at the forefront of our minds but when our employees feel so worried that they can’t do their job properly we must figure out a way to lessen their worries by providing a sympathetic ear or a friendly shoulder. When we get into the habit of checking in on an individual basis, like a quick phone call, the more we do this the more our employees will feel that they can open up. Some employees will keep everything bottled up and feel that they can’t speak their fears because you are “the boss.” But now is the perfect opportunity to incorporate a culture of sympathy and support. What’s more, this should be the perfect time to make it last well beyond the end of this crisis.

Understand Your Individual Stresses

If you are a good boss you will do everything you can for your employees to minimize their fears. And while it’s fantastic that you are doing everything for them, are you neglecting your own needs? You may feel hell-bent on keeping the business afloat which means that you are working overtime. And while in one respect it’s a very useful distraction considering the current climate, you’ve also got to realize if you are working yourself to the bone.

Managing your employees during a crisis isn’t just about giving them everything they need but it’s about them recognizing that you are focused and professional. If they see that you look like you’re about to break, this won’t fill them with confidence, so you need to lead by example. And it’s a lesson that we all need to learn anyway. If you look after yourself you will look after everybody else much better. Take the opportunity every single day, not just to look at the company and employees, but also look at yourself and see if you are looking after yourself properly. One of the great benefits of working from home right now is that we can have more control over our diet and our downtime. Use this as the perfect opportunity to instill some better habits.

It’s a time of the precariousness but we can also so use this as an opportunity for some introspection. Your employees need your support and you have to give them what they need. And if you struggled to support them before, this can be the best opportunity to draw a line in the sand.