What to do when employees lie

There’s no way to hire right without putting in time, effort, and money. The task often requires coordination (anyone who’s ever arranged a panel interview knows this only too well!), organization, and perseverance. Despite the fact that many job seekers secure positions through the hidden job market, highly qualified candidates don’t just fall out of the sky.

So you put in the work, and your shiny new employee joined the team last month. Yippee! Unfortunately, your good feelings of accomplishment were short lived, because you just found out that this man/woman lied on the resume.

Consider this: A recent CareerBuilder study found that 75% of HR managers have caught a lie on a resume. Common lies include fudging dates to cover gaps in employment, claiming accomplishments that actually belong to others, and faking degrees and other credentials. Yes, the job market is tough, and more than one employer has been accused of searching for that “purple squirrel,” but even a little lie (or two) on a resume can signal big problems. That’s why ignoring your discovery isn’t an option. However, rushing into action could complicate the situation even more.

Here then, is our best list of “My Employee Lied on His Resume” Do’s and Don’ts.

DO Verify the Information

Perhaps you heard through your network that XYZ employee didn’t really earn that MBA or that she was fired from her last job and not laid off. Now’s the time to move beyond rumor to fact.

It’s become standard practice to receive consent for and perform background checks on candidates during the hiring process, but things can get a little trickier for current employees. According to the EEOC, while such searches are permitted, employers must still remain mindful of employees’ rights. For example, if the employee’s original consent doesn’t extend to a background check for the purposes of retention, promotion, or reassignment, it’s probably not wise to do the search without letting the employee know what’s happening first. 

DO Confront the Employee

Tell the employee what you learned (“Stan, I met your former boss at a workshop and she told me she’d fired you for cause and that you weren’t restructured out of a job. Is that true?” or “Mary, it’s come to our attention that you didn’t graduate with a BA, although your resume states you did. Can we talk about this?”) and give him or her a chance to clear the record. Be reasonable, be respectful, and remain calm. Tell the employee if you intend to perform a background check at this time and what the potential consequences are likely to be if he or she lied.  

DO Consult Legal Counsel

While most states are “at will,” there are plenty of exceptions to the law, and you don’t want to violate any. Before you take employment action based on the information you’ve received, make sure that you’ve assessed the potential risks. And along those lines… 

DON’T Let Your Emotions Get the Better of You

It’s normal to feel disappointed, exasperated, or even angry after discovering that an employee lied and that that lie may have significant consequences for you. However, don’t permit your temper to overcome you. It’s a mistake to take your employee’s alleged dishonesty personal. 

Do Weigh Your Options Carefully

When someone lies on the resume, the employer basically has two choices: (1) fire the employee or (2) not fire the employee. Depending on the scope of the deception and the performance/potential of the employee, retention – and not termination – might make sense. On the other hand, termination might be the only wise option. The point is, a careful weighing of the facts is needed before moving forward. Knee-jerk reactions are not recommended.

Lying on the resume can seem like a terrible abuse of trust, and perhaps it is. Still, smart employers will proceed carefully with the news, which is the only way to ensure that any decision promotes the company’s long- and short-term interests.




Leadership vs Management - the differences and how to be good at both

Leadership vs Management - the differences and how to be good at both

Life as a Cat Herder! Leadership vs. Management – The Differences and How to Be Good at Both

Running a successful business can be a lot like herding cats. You need a plan for how to get it done, and you need to know what you will be doing with all those cats! You don’t want to corral them all in one place and then wonder, “What now?”

Before the fur flies, it helps to have a good idea of what your leadership style is.  Here at the Omnia Group, we recognize 17 distinct styles, and each of them motivate in different ways. You can’t make your team work as a unit if you don’t understand who you naturally are as a leader. Are you more of a “lead from the trenches” type, waving a squeaky toy in front of the furry hordes, or a “big picture” person who manages from the back with a laser pointer? Are you more empathetic or more logical? Do you seek to build consensus or require a more structured system for getting things done?

Knowing who you are as a leader will help you be a cat whisperer, able to set goals effectively and motivate your team to work toward those goals. That, in turn, will increase your brand recognition and make your company more successful.

Now that you have the attention of all those cats and are communicating well with them, how do you keep them together long enough to finish the job without losing focus and wandering off?

Maybe some in your pride are assertive and want to explore the outdoors, while others are happier sitting on a windowsill providing support. Perhaps others need significant guidance because they are so focused on perfection. Still more may be inclined to make great leaps, knowing that if they fail they can shake it off and try again.

This is all about your management style: not only being able to apply what you know about yourself as a leader, but also your knowledge of the people on your team. Getting them to work together efficiently and harmoniously may sometimes seem like you’re trying to keep the cats off the counter. But, once you understand who they are and what motivates them ─ Personal performance incentives? Perks? Constant challenge? ─ and are able to identify the right approach, it becomes a lot easier.

Understanding how to guide each employee separately as well as help them acclimate to your culture and positively interact with each other can make or break your success.

Leadership and management are often presented as being in conflict, two positions with different outlooks and goals for the future. “Leaders have followers” and “managers have subordinates,” are the classic lines of division. However, these lines don’t really fit into today’s business culture where the roles are now intermingled. Examining each separately and evaluating what they bring to the big picture is important, of course. But so is being able to see how leadership and management traits blend, so you can use both to become better at herding your own particular group of cats.

Leadership and management aren’t scratching and clawing at each other for survival. They are essential pieces needed for success. Leadership is about the ability to influence while management oversees the operations and processes. You need them both, and those roles need each other to become the best that they can be. You can have processes in place, but if the people aren’t motivated it doesn’t matter. Conversely, you can have motivated people ready and eager to work, but if there is no clear direction nothing will get accomplished. Leadership and management are locked together, in purpose and intent.

It doesn’t matter if you are literally herding cats or if it just feels like it some days: self-awareness is a strong starting point for building upon your leadership and management skills. Understanding and utilizing the aspects of who you are as both a manager and a leader will make you more efficient in all your roles. It helps you understand what you need from your team and helps you know what your team will need from you and one another.

The Omnia Leadership Report helps you find clear, cogent answers to the question of what kind of leader and manager you are. With this tool, you can identify the style of leadership best suited to you and manage your team most effectively. Knowing your strengths, potential weaknesses, and how they will manifest themselves in your leadership role is crucial. It’s like catnip for your success.

Hurricane Irma

September 8, 2017
Hurricane Irma

Hurricane IrmaDue to the severity and unpredictability of Hurricane Irma, our office may be half-staffed or closed for business on Monday, 9.11.2017.

Our instant Reports, such as the Target, Leadership, Professional Development, Sales, and Collections Style will all process as usual. However, our custom written Selection and Retention Profile Reports may not be available as quickly as usual. We anticipate being able to process all Profile requests, but we may not meet our usual 3 hour turn-around times on Monday and Tuesday.

Wishing the best for everyone in Irma’s path…stay safe!

Everything You Need to Know about Hiring You Learned from a Shape Sorter

Close your eyes, and think back to when you were a toddler.  Back to when toys weren’t just for fun but were also there to teach you important lessons and help with your development.

For me, one of those toys was a shape sorter.  Pretty much everyone who manufactures toys for children has at least one of them. They have different names and shapes, but the principle of the toy is the same: there is a central structure (a ball or a box) with holes of different shapes, and you put the matching shape pieces into those holes.

Mine was a red and blue ball with bright yellow shape pieces.  Apparently, I used to play with it quite a bit, trying to figure out its mysteries and continuing to practice so that I could not only solve it once but continue to solve it every time.

Of course, there was trial and error. That’s part of learning any new thing – trying to put a triangle into a rectangle slot and not understanding why it won’t fit. Eventually, you figure it out and move on to bigger lessons. But those early toys, and what they teach you, are foundations for everything to come.

The adage “You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole” is literally part of that foundational lesson. It teaches kids to recognize different shapes and start to reason out basic problem solving.

Those problem-solving skills are necessary in our adult life, too.

Close your eyes again, and think about where you are now in your organization.

Think about your corporate culture, those central ideas and values you want to instill in every person who walks through those doors to represent your company. Sometimes, that culture is painstakingly crafted, while for others, it develops over time by your choices of who is hired and what they bring to the table. Part of figuring out where you are going is taking a moment to see where you are, and who you are, as a company.

Knowing who you are as a company and developing your corporate culture can be extremely useful in figuring out what kind of people you want to bring on your team in the future.

But much like with the shape sorters, there is a learning curve with an important lesson – a lesson that can often get overlooked: “You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole.”

Let’s say you’re hiring for a sales position. Sales are king, and the people you want in those seats will aggressively seek out new opportunities and aren’t going to take rejection personally. They pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get right back to the next chance to close. For those kinds of positions, you want someone who is driven by the need to compete and may be looking for a commission-based pay structure.

Your corporate culture may be focused on what your salespeople are doing and everything revolves around making sure that sales happen. Your reward systems are focused on driving revenue totals and celebrating those who excel. The shape of that person is easy to recognize and a good fit in the box you’ve created.

Yet, you don’t want those traits in someone you would hire for a job in your accounting department. In this case, you need someone who wants to be a part of a cooperative team, who likes stability and dealing with things at a slower pace. You want someone with an eye for detail who will take their time to pour over each and every line to make sure everything adds up properly.

Similarly, you don’t want to place someone who needs more structure in a job where there is a lot to “figure out as you go” or someone who needs to be multitasking in a position with repetitive work.

These people are going to need to be motivated and celebrated in different ways than your business development staff. They’re an important part of the team, but how do you make sure they all feel like a good fit and that you find the right candidates for any given position?

All of these different types of people can exist within the same culture. Each department in your company and every position within that department has unique responsibilities that call for different strengths. They have their own subcultures and their own requirements. You can’t force a peg to go into a hole of a different shape, no matter how badly you want it to. This means, when you are hiring, it is the job itself that should be the focus rather than the overall corporate culture.

This is where an assessment tool, like the Omnia Profile, comes in handy. With this tool, you’ll be able to discuss the needs of your open positions, how they fit into the culture, and set up a benchmark for your ideal candidate.

The Omnia Profile is your work resource shape sorter. It is a tool that helps you learn about your potential candidates, getting the most out of your current employees and organization, and about yourself. It helps you match the shapes to their proper fit.

Matching the inherent strengths of those candidates to your needs is crucial for finding someone perfect for your company and also in retaining them. Understanding who they are and how they fit also gives you the tools you need to help them grow in their roles and in the company as a whole.

Now, keep your eyes open. You have all the tools in front of you to practice those good decision-making skills. Pick up your shape sorter, and find the people who fit just right for your company with the Omnia Profile!

You heard it when you were a kid. You probably don’t remember when you heard it for the first time, nor do you recall the first time you passed it along to someone else.  It’s one of those old cheesy pun-filled knock-knock jokes that made you laugh, even if it wasn’t all that funny.

“Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Banana who?

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

The joke is old, but the sentiment remains evergreen. Breaking the expected repetition is what makes the joke work.  It’s that same breaking of a repetition that is happening in the insurance industry, and needs to continue to develop. Thinking in the same old patterns gives you the same old results and that includes your hiring practices.

One area that the insurance industry has done a great deal of work in improving over the past few decades is gender equality. Insurance is continuing to push forward with more opportunities for women in senior management positions. Women have transformed the industry and helped make a road map for others to follow in terms of how to create the next generation of pioneers bringing new ideas and insights into the process.  Looking to the lessons learned by the increased involvement of women in the industry provides a unique opportunity to leverage what is already known to continue to develop further diversity.

I talk to industry clients on a daily basis who want to know how to find, and keep, the best producers and customer service representatives. They want to know where to look and what questions to ask. They want to be able to tell the difference between someone who looks good on paper and someone who will deliver once they are actually on the job. They are dealing with the everyday stresses of keeping things afloat while looking ahead to bringing the next generation into the fold.

It’s easy to look at studies into the need for the industry to diversify and attract young minority professionals into the field. But how does that become a reality? If you find yourself staring at another stack of virtually the same applications, the solution is to change where you are looking.

Here are concrete steps you can take to get a little more orange and less banana in your stack of applications:

  1. Go to local colleges and universities for fresh young talent. Speak with the dean’s office about regularly scheduled talent and job fairs. Consider setting up an internship program. Your company will serve as a role model to help cultivate their interest. This personalizes the process by showing an active interest in their future.
  2. Be active in your community, especially among minority populations. Talk to groups and professional organizations who might have future leads.
  3. Embrace the new. It’s not easy to adapt in a world that feels like it is changing every time you turn around, but being able to connect with a younger generation and an increasingly diverse population means that you need to be able to break from the old patterns. Being able to adapt to changes and turn them into opportunities is a standard good business practice that doesn’t change just because we are talking about recruiting.

The most important part of finding “the next great employee” is about going out to find where they are right now, and getting them excited about the opportunities of the insurance industry. These relationships are the pipelines that will not only bring in fresh new faces and ideas, but also future clients and revenue.

Where does diversity fit into the framework of your organization’s culture? It’s one of the first big questions asked when people start discussing “diversity”. How it is prioritized makes a huge difference in how effective your efforts will be. On the corporate level there is often a dedicated Chief Diversity Officer who implements strategies to help with outreach and recruiting among underrepresented populations.  For smaller companies, having a human resources leader who is able to devote their time and efforts to the task is vital.  If you are running your own independent agency though, that task might be yet another one that is resting on your shoulders.

Diversity is one of those trendy words that gets thrown around as a catch-all for “not the same”. But it’s not just multi-culturalism, or having an age and gender balance, or inclusion of LGBQTA+ people, although those are all important.  It’s about finding the best people from different backgrounds, and bringing their experiences together to help your company continue to grow and prosper. It is about being open to everyone bringing their “whole self” to work; building and maintaining an environment where every voice is important and people feel like they have a stake in the process. When recruiting the next generation of insurance professionals, this is a baseline of what they expect when entering the workforce.  It is not just “doing a job”: they want to feel like they are a part of something special, and they want to work somewhere that respects them for who they are.

Which is why, for those with the interest, the insurance industry is so full of rich possibilities for personal fulfillment. There is a lot of room right now for a young professional who is willing to work hard, to advance quickly in many independent agencies, to become a part of something greater than themselves, something they can believe in.

When speaking to potential producers, that opportunity is a definite selling point.  These are the self-starters, the ones who are driven by a competitive spirit and who are motivated by the idea that their salary is tied directly to their ability to make the sales. They want to be around people and have that spark to get other people interested in what they have to offer.

The industry is exciting in a different way for the potential customer service reps. Insurance is the bedrock of achievement. It does for innovation what a parachute does for skydiving. It makes it possible for people to take calculated risks without fear of catastrophe. The people who want these positions are the ones motivated by stability and being able to count on when their next check is going to come. They excel at being a part of a team and to them, the details are the part of the engine that makes everything run.

These are two very different kinds of people, who want very different things, bringing their own skillsets to the table. Bringing in a new generation, and allowing them to be their best, truest, whole selves in the process is a challenge. But figuring out where each individual would best fit within the diverse tapestry of your organization doesn’t have to be one.

That’s where a behavioral assessment tool, like the Omnia Profile, comes in handy. The Profile breaks down the mysteries around the 17 behavioral types, helping you understand more about your candidate and how to help them unlock their potential.

Your dedication to expanding diversity in the workplace, and finding the best and the brightest of the new generation regardless of background helps to continue to grow the potential of your business. It gets the best applicants to your doorstep. The Omnia Profile helps you determine which of those candidates will be the best fit with your existing organization and how to develop their long-term potential. It helps you break out of the same old hiring mistakes and find that orange in a world full of bananas.