Immigration & You

April 28, 2006

Recently, I had the greatest experience with INS—while conducting a routine Criminal Background check, I discovered the social security card provided by newly hired employee actually belonged to someone else. The new employee also …provideed an immigrations card as proof of employment rights.

So, I called INS and found out that….the social security card and the immigration's card were frauds.  The INS investigator came out, not with any intend in hurting the company but in the role of an educator and learn I did…

 I-9 documents must be provided within 3 days of hire…

If you hire immigrants, that's great – but keep in mind that the I-9 requires you see two forms of approved ID and the ID must be original, not photocopies…

The person validating the documents, must sign and date the I-9 form…

Certain forms of ID have expiration dates, immigration cards (green cards) for one, you must keep track of the renewal dates and re-verify…

I-9's are not filed in the personnel file, they must be kept in a separate file or notebook…

If you keep copies of the documents, keep those separate as well…

To the degree you can, watch addresses, in the incident described above, the new employee that presented us with fraudulent documents, lived at an address where several other immigrants lived, the INS gentleman verified that every piece of documentation we had on 5 employees were fraudulent—I wiped out a full labor pool in one feel swoop!! 

The good news, INS helped us and commented on our process and record-keeping and that the documents were excellent copies and that few of us would known they were frauds.


The Non-Profit Elevator Pitch

April 27, 2006

elevator I freely (and often) admit I’m an old bleeding heart do-gooder and yet, many non-profits pitches leave me – well – both unmoved and un-bleeding (if that’s a word). So, when I ran across this post, The Nonprofit Elevator Speech, it really resonated with me.

Here are her key points:

1. Don’t just repeat your mission statement. Mission statements are often “pie in the sky” or full of buzzwords that don’t actually say what you do.

2. Tell us what you do and who you do it for. Donors want to know how their support makes a difference on the ground.

3. Share a quantitative result. How many people did you help last year? How many acres did you save? Whatever it is you measure, throw in a stat about your accomplishments.

(Personally, I like the small card Habitat for Humanity sends out that shows what my contribution will buy – $10 for a box of nails and so on.)

4. Provide some perspective. Put your work in context, in one sentence. Why is what you do so important? What’s the scale of the problem?

5. Spell out the opportunity. Complete this sentence: “With some additional resources, we could . . .”

I’d add: Don’t get too obsessive about making your pitch short. (The ol’ “seven words or less” and “bumper sticker” ideas that float around.) No, you don’t want to read ’em a book, but you do want to tell them enough to get their interest. Maybe they’ll even ride along another floor to find out more (then, you’ve got ’em!)


Why aren’t there more women bloggers?

April 25, 2006

Trevor Gay over at Synergy recently interviewed me about this topic, since I think blogging is a great tool for both business and life.

There are more of us out there than first appears. Unfortunately, some of the most popular femme bloggers, such as Michelle Malkin, set a terrible example. Bad writing, irresponsible posts and a complete lack of common courtesy. Popular isn’t always a good thing.

For more about women bloggers, here’s the interview.

Tags: ,

Rediscovering Excellence

April 25, 2006

Tom Peters has rediscovered “excellence” and in Siberia of all places. Seems the Excellence guru got just as sick of the word as we did over the years. Now, he’s gotten back to the core of the meaning. And, his post about Siberia reminds me that, despite all the doom and gloom in the headlines, there are good people doing good work all over the globe.

One of the best trips of my life was to the old USSR, back in the days of the so-called Evil Empire. Turns out that empire was full of people with hopes, fears, and joys. And, most were very friendly and eager to learn. Too bad more of us can’t travel overseas; it’s a real eye-opener, in both business and life.


Small Biz Scams

April 18, 2006

This week’s issue of Business Week is full of good information for entrepreneurs.

One article that caught my eye is “Would I Lie to You? Five Cons Still Kicking.”

Among others is the age-old “stuff envelopes at home.” (I’d bet they had some version of this back before they even had envelopes! “Make papyrus at home!”) Of course, there are now web variations “work in your pajamas” and such. But, just about all of them are – sadly – scams, often with some variation of pyramid schemes.

And, even if it’s not an outright con, it’s so easy to get taken when you’re in start-up mode. You’re optimistic, fired up and ready to roll! So, when a marketing agency, PR firm, business consultant or web site promises you great things quickly – you write the check.

It’s not exaggerating (much) to say I could retire if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard something like, “I paid the PR firm $150 an hour and got nothing.” or “He charged $2,000 for the business plan and I can’t get an investor to look at it.” I always feel badly because by the time I’m talking to the person, it’s almost always too late for me to help.

So, as with anything else, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.


Are you making it difficult?

April 18, 2006

So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.
– Peter Drucker

Sure, sometimes we think we’re helping but we’re really preventing the other person from learning, growing and – um – doing their job. I know how hard it is to step back and give people room to work (and possibly fail) – been there, done that.

But, ultimately your team has to fly on its own, if they’re ever really going to be a team. This means they have to work out conflicts, solve problems without coming to you first. And, you’ve gotta get out of their way and let them do it.

Anyway, that’s my food for thought for this Monday.