Marie Rudolph has been the Director of HR with Sensory Spectrum for the past five years, and she's learned a lot during that time. Rudolph didn't come to the role with any formal HR training or background, but she's since learned to navigate issues ranging from hiring, training and policy development to performance documentation and immigration requirements.
It's a role that has not been without its challenges. Rudolph needed to stay up to date with regulations impacting employee practices, including issues related to the Affordable Care Act, and felt frustrated with the time required to seek information and conduct research on her own. Managing the managers at Sensory Spectrum was also a challenge—Rudolph knew she needed them to be timely, precise and accurate when documenting employee issues, particularly when related to disciplinary or termination decisions. Those managers, while well intentioned, did not always have background or expertise in HR.
Sensory Spectrum is a globally recognized management consulting firm that specializes in understanding the sensory-consumer experience in industry, academia and government. With facilities in New Jersey and North Carolina, Sensory Spectrum's 200 employees serve clients representing Fortune 500 companies, major universities and government procurement agencies around the world. The firm recently took over a client's sensory lab in Michigan and now also has some employees in a facility there.
When hiring an intern, who required H1B sponsorship, to full-time employment, Rudolph turned to XpertHR for a template to help develop a policy. She customized and streamlined the policy to fit the company's needs and sent it to outside counsel for review. It was, she says, the first policy she did not spend days researching. And, with content written by more than 400 attorneys from 70 of the country's top employment law firms—and edited by an in-house team of legal editors and HR professionals—Rudolph was confident she was on the right track.
Sensory Spectrum has historically been very lenient regarding telecommuting or working from home. But with growth came issues related to the need for consistency and justification of decisions made. Rudolph realized that a formal policy would help to address managers' concerns and questions about when employees did, or did not, have a bona fide reason to work from home. Using XpertHR policy templates for both inclement weather and telecommuting, she created a draft to address issues related to manager clearance, different needs for different positions and a process for identifying which positions are appropriate for telecommuting.
Rudolph felt Sensory Spectrum's informal approach to performance review needed to be formalized. Without formal ratings, she knew there was no basis for comparison and, consequently, no tangible measure of employee or organizational performance. Through research on XpertHR she developed a process to track employee scores, year to year, and provide directors with the support and information they needed to create development plans. Both the forms and the process were easy to create, she says, using XpertHR resources.
Rudolph has learned a lot in the five years she's served in an HR role at Sensory Spectrum. Rapid growth has the tendency to test the mettle of even the most experienced practitioners, but Rudolph has been able to stay afloat. According to Rudolph, XpertHR has had a significant impact on her ability to do that—and to prepare for what's to come. Moving forward, she says, she will be looking for directors and managers to step up to address HR-related issues among their staff members. XpertHR will provide the resources for Sensory Spectrum to ensure it is meeting compliance requirements and that it has the tools and resources available for all to answer the tough HR questions that crop up on a regular basis. It offers:
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