Archive for the Performance Management Category

Infographic: 13 Personality Traits of a Disengaged Employee

13 Personality Traits Of A Disengaged EmployeeThis infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee engagement platform that helps managers see the ROI of company culture while making employees happier and more motivated at work.

HBR asks: Are “High Potential” Programs an Anachronism?

In a blog post on the Harvard Business Review website, Tammy Erikson examines whether “high potential” programs designed to identify and coach employees who are destined to rise in the organization are out of step with the workforce that is coming of age today. Flatter, less hierarchical organizations might benefit more from recognizing “lateral career paths” (ie, cross training to keep employees interested and engaged in the organization).

Erikson writes:

Singling out a few people for development doesn’t work for corporations because the practice doesn’t recognize the shifting nature of its employee population, the work being done, and the future leadership needs.

And as the target for hi-po programs shifts to members of Gen X or Gen Y, I find these programs don’t do much for the people selected either. Being labeled “high potential” works with Boomers. We may not like it, but the truth is, if we’re selected, it’s one more sign that we’re winning in our over-populated, competitive world. And if we’re not, it’s a powerful incentive to try harder next year.

But all this competitive ranking and rating falls flat with many X’ers and Y’s. It’s not even that they don’t like it — they don’t get it. It doesn’t seem relevant. For many, it assumes a set of career goals and a path to get there that they don’t necessarily share.

Given the mercurial nature of employment relationships (today’s employer is just a launching pad for tomorrow’s employer) and the research pointing to the importance of employee engagement, developing peer leadership in the lower levels of the organization may be a better talent management and retention strategy than selecting a few “high-performers” (whose selections often have less to do with merit and more with political acumen), even if such a strategy is harder to plot on an org chart.

Read Erikson’s article on the Harvard Business Review website.

“Analysis Paralysis – A Case of Terminological Inexactitude”

Winston Churchill “coined the expression “terminological inexactitude”— a play on words alluding to the misapplication of labels and, by extension, the damage that can be done by engaging in this practice,” says Lon Roberts in this very interesting article published in the current issue of Defense AT&L.

The term “analysis paralysis,” says Lon, is an example of this condition. By understanding the specifics of the different kinds of analysis paralysis, managers can better guide projects through the analysis quagmire.

 


 

 

We’ve all encountered (or been the victim of) analysis paralysis, the inability to make a decision because of seemingly never-ending sources of information to be analyzed. Roberts breaks analysis paralysis into three kinds of paralysis:

  1. Analysis Process Paralysis
  2. Decision Precision Paralysis
  3. Risk Uncertainty Paralysis

In the article, he briefly examines each (apparently being cautious not to fall into his own analysis paralysis trap) and provides suggestions for managers for dealing with each in their own teams.

This is an insightful article (and at times I thought perhaps my past decision-making efforts were part of his case study) and at only three pages of text, a very direct and interesting read.

Last year, I produced a podcast with Lon before he spoke to the Fort Worth Human Resources Management Association about multitasking. You might want to listen to that podcast, as well.

Here’s the link to Lon’s current article:

http://www.dau.mil/pubscats/ATL%20Docs/Jan-Feb/robersts_jan-feb10.pdf

Discussing HR Metrics and Analytics with Dr. George Benson

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Dr. George BensonLike every other department, human resources managers are being asked to measure the effectiveness of their activities and report their impact on the organization’s bottom line.

Most HR professionals are familiar with measurements like cost per hire and HR expense as percentage of company revenue. But do those kinds of measurements really reflect HR’s contribution? How do you really measure HR – particularly as HR moves from a strictly transactional function to a consultative business partner?

Our guest today on The Imperative Podcast is Dr. George Benson. Dr. Benson is an Associate Professor of Management at the University of Texas at Arlington. He is also an affiliated researcher with the Center for Effective Organizations at USC. Dr. Benson has a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from USC. Dr. Benson’s research and writing has focused on a variety of HR issues.


Most notably, however, Dr. Benson will be the speaker at the Mid-Cities Human Resources Association’s March 4th luncheon meeting. He will be discussing his research into HR Metrics and Analytics.

To register for the luncheon, please visit MCHRA’s website at www.mchra.org.

We hope you enjoy the podcast!

Three ways to listen to the podcast:

1. You can listen using our java-enabled player at the top of this post.

2. Or you can listen to the podcast in your computer’s mp3 program by clicking the “Play mp3″ button below (or right-click on the button and select “save target as…” to save the mp3 to your computer).

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3. Or you can download the podcast and subscribe to future podcasts via iTunes.

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Imperative Information Group is a Fort Worth, Texas-based background investigations and business due diligence firm dedicated to clients who can’t afford a cheap background check. For more information about Imperative Information Group’s services, please contact Micah Taylor at 877-HR-FACTS (877-473-2287) or visit us online at http://www.imperativeinfo.com.

Multitasking Mania with Lon Roberts

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Lon RobertsIn this episode of The Imperative Podcast, Mike interviews Dr. Lon Roberts on the subject of his February 19th presentation to the Fort Worth Human Resources Management Association. The title of his presentation is “Mastering the Art of Multitasting.” As Lon points out, multitasking is on the rise in our never-ending quest to “do more with less.” While acknowledging that multitasking is here to stay, Lon makes it clear that there is a sane and “insane” way of going about it.

Lon is a Principal Partner with the Texas-based training and consulting firm, Roberts & Roberts Associates. He is the author of four books and numerous articles, including several dealing with multitasking. From his research he also developed a training program on this topic that has been delivered to the U.S. Army and private sector companies.

Lon recently wrote an article for Defense AT&Lmagazine. The article is titled “Too Busy To Think: Cost, Consequences, and Causes of Multitasking Mania,” and you can download a copy of the article below.

Download a copy of “Too Busy To Think”

You can register for the February 19th presentation online at www.fwhrma.org.

For more information about Roberts & Roberts Associates, visit their website at www.R2assoc.com. Or contact Lon at (972) 596-2956.

We hope you enjoy the podcast!

Three ways to listen to the podcast:

1. You can listen using our java-enabled player at the top of this post.

2. Or you can listen to the podcast in your computer’s mp3 program by clicking the “Play mp3″ button below (or right-click on the button and select “save target as…” to save the mp3 to your computer).

Download_button

3. Or you can download the podcast and subscribe to future podcasts via iTunes.

Subscribe_button

Imperative Information Group is a Fort Worth, Texas-based background investigations and business due diligence firm dedicated to clients who can’t afford a cheap background check. For more information about Imperative Information Group’s services, please contact Micah Taylor at 877-HR-FACTS (877-473-2287) or visit us online at http://www.imperativeinfo.com.

The Imperative Podcast: The Art of Adherence with Dr. Lee Colan

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Lee ColanIn this episode of The Imperative Podcast, Mike interviews Dr. Lee Colan, a researcher and business consultant, and author of nine books including 7 Moments That Define Excellent Leaders and Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees: How to Ignite Passionate Performance for Better Business Results.

His best selling book is entitled Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence, which will be the topic of his presentation at the February 4th Mid-Cities HR Association luncheon meeting.


For more information about Dr. Colan, visit his website at www.thelgroup.com.

Also note that during the month of January, Imperative is hosting the first Imperative Podcast Listener Contest. The winner of the contest will receive a new iPod nano. For details on how to enter, please click here.

We hope you enjoy the podcast!

Three ways to listen to the podcast:

1. You can listen using our java-enabled player at the top of this post.

2. Or you can listen to the podcast in your computer’s mp3 program by clicking the “Play mp3″ button below (or right-click on the button and select “save target as…” to save the mp3 to your computer).

Download_button

3. Or you can download the podcast and subscribe to future podcasts via iTunes.

Subscribe_button

Imperative Information Group is a Fort Worth, Texas-based background investigations and business due diligence firm dedicated to clients who can’t afford a cheap background check. For more information about Imperative Information Group’s services, please contact Micah Taylor at 877-HR-FACTS (877-473-2287) or visit us online at http://www.imperativeinfo.com.

HR & Social Media

Yesterday, I saw an outstanding presentation on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) by online marketing expert Shama Hyder of Click To Client. I’m convinced that social media is going to be a big player in both recruiting and employee communications in the near future and HR pros need to get up to speed on this. Following is an article on Shama’s blog related to this issue. (Note my cautionary comment following the article, though.)

How to Hire Star Talent Using Social Media Sites

Also, over at one of my favorite blogs, Fistful of Talent, Jessica Lee ponders the balance between using social media to recruit and then limiting employees’ use of the same during working hours. (Note my crotchity old HR guy comment there, as well.)

So You Recruited Me from Facebook, But I’m Not Allowed to Play with Facebook at Work?

The Imperative Podcast: Separation Anxiety with Brad Smith

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DBM LogoIn this episode of The Imperative Podcast, Mike interviews Brad Smith, Vice President of Business Development with DBM, Inc., a global transition firm specializing in individual and organization transition. Brad says that the most dangerous conversation a manager can have with an employee is the one that takes place during separation.

Brad will be a speaker at the January 15th Fort Worth Human Resource Management Association luncheon. For more information about the luncheon, visit www.fwhrma.org.

In this Imperative Podcast, Mike and Brad discuss the process for terminating employees. Brad describes how to notify employees about the loss of their jobs in a safe and respectful manner.


For more information about DBM, Inc., visit their website at www.dbm.com. Or contact Brad at (817) 657-4011.

Also note that during the month of January, Imperative is hosting the first Imperative Podcast Listener Contest. The winner of the contest will receive a new iPod nano. For details on how to enter, please click here.

We hope you enjoy the podcast!

Three ways to listen to the podcast:

1. You can listen using our java-enabled player at the top of this post.

2. Or you can listen to the podcast in your computer’s mp3 program by clicking the “Play mp3″ button below (or right-click on the button and select “save target as…” to save the mp3 to your computer).

Download_button

3. Or you can download the podcast and subscribe to future podcasts via iTunes.

Subscribe_button

Imperative Information Group is a Fort Worth, Texas-based background investigations and business due diligence firm dedicated to clients who can’t afford a cheap background check. For more information about Imperative Information Group’s services, please contact Micah Taylor at 877-HR-FACTS (877-473-2287) or visit us online at http://www.imperativeinfo.com.

   

The transcript for this post now follows:

Mike Coffey: Thanks for listening to The Imperative Podcast. I’m Mike Coffey, President of Imperative Information Group. As an employment background screening firm we are most often involved in the high point of the employer/employee relationship. When a new hire comes in the door, expectations are high and it’s all wine and roses. Things don’t always work out as expected though and my guest today is an expert in the other end of the employment cycle; that is, terminating employment. Brad Smith is the Vice-President of Business Development for DBM, a global outplacement firm. I’ve had the privilege for knowing Brad for the better part of the last fifteen years. In fact, we first met when I was responsible for coordinating a layoff for a previous employer. Brad is a well-respected thought leader in the north Texas HR community and a great supporter of the Ft. Worth Human Resource Management Association. In fact, he’ll be the speaker at Ft. Worth HR’s January 15 luncheon meeting. Thanks for joining us today Brad.

Brad Smith: Thank you Mike.

Mike: Separating an employee is something that every HR professional has to do at some point and many frontline managers have to deal with as well. Nobody ever gets where they enjoy it but how do you know at the end of the process whether you even did a good job? How do you know your separation meeting with this employee was successful?

Brad: Well there are a number of different ways. I think first of all I’d like to say that the most dangerous conversation a manager ever has with an employee is the one that takes place during the termination interview and there’s an acid test that I like to challenge my companies, client companies, on and that is two things. Are we being fair and equitable and is this the way we’d want to be treated. So I think at the end of the termination, whether it be one person or a group of people, have we treated the person fairly, have we communicated properly, and have we helped them maintain their dignity as they exit. Most lawsuits as a result of termination come from as a result of the way the person was notified and how that person exited the property. So I think another way of determining whether it was a successful conversation is does the individual sign their waiver or their separation agreement and if they don’t sue, which is always a big concern when you notify someone that they’re no longer with the company.

Mike: From the employee’s point of view, what are the objectives of them to walk away with at the end of the separation meeting? This is obviously something that they probably don’t want to happen so what do you give them so that when they’re walking away they feel like they were treated fair and equitably?

Brad: Well I think first of all you need to be clear and concise in how the message is delivered and typically it’s the person’s immediate supervisor that delivers the message and their job is to legally notify the employee that they’re no longer with the company. These conversations should take about from 5-10 minutes and HR is there as a witness to go over the packet. As the employee leaves, especially if it comes as a shock, there needs to be some structure involved so that employee knows what to do, what the next steps are, and how they exit the building. Most people could count before they could read so they want to know how much and it’s important that the severance packet be gone over fairly quickly and fairly concisely and then allow that person to call back with any questions. Typically this should be done at the end of a work day so that the person can either exit or go home or make arrangements with human resources to come back and get their belongings and their personal stuff. But for the employee, it needs to be clear and concise that they heard the message.

Mike: What about the old line about Friday afternoons being the right time to terminate an employee?

Brad: Well we think that that is the worst time to terminate an employee, especially an employee that you’re gonna provide outplacement services to. The reason for that is if it’s done earlier in the week, they can accomplish something towards their next job, either updating their resume or filing for unemployment compensation, whatever it is. But on Friday afternoon, they have the whole weekend to stew over it quite frankly and the anxiety builds and the stress level builds. If we can see them, for instance, after they have been notified, if it’s on a Monday or a Tuesday, a lot of times they can have a resume going into the weekend, which is the first hump they need to get over looking forward. You want an employee who has been notified, or has been separated, to start looking forward to their next position instead of looking back and allowing emotion to build. It’s not good for the employee. It’s not good for the employee’s family and it’s certainly not good for the company.

Mike: You mentioned working with DBM. Do ya’ll primarily work with employees who’ve been laid off or do you also work with employees who just weren’t performing at a level the company needed them to or just weren’t good fits for the job or things like that?

Brad: Yeah, the typical reasons for someone being released from the company, and there are a number, but essentially it’s either a business downturn and we usually see that in multiple notifications, for performance, they didn’t meet their performance goals set out the year before, for chemistry, the just don’t get along with their boss and we see a lot of people that have been a good performer but they get a new boss and it just doesn’t work out for them, for cause, or for skill sets issues. We see a lot of companies that are in growth mode that will call us and say, “We just need – we’re gonna release Tom on Monday and the reason is that he just – we don’t believe he has the skill sets going forward that we need to make the changes that we need.” I know when in 2001 when the economy, 2002-2003 we had a lot of calls from companies saying that, “We’re going in a different direction and this person doesn’t have the skill sets to take us there.” So there’s a number of different reasons.

Mike: Is that separation meeting different significantly whether you’re laying off because of a business downturn versus when it’s something specific to the employee’s performance or skill set?

Brad: Yeah, yeah it is difficult. I think it is more difficult when it’s a performance or a skill set issue because of the self-esteem that goes along with it and on one-off situations like that there’s a lot of shock involved and sometimes there’s a lot of anger involved too. In a business downturn, the rumor mill is usually keen and when somebody is notified it’s, “Well I knew it was coming. I just didn’t know it was going to be me.” So the company’s telegraphing they don’t want to but they do just because not too many people can keep a secret. Most employees especially in a smaller company can see a little and figure a lot. But when you call someone in their office and say, “Look this isn’t working out,” the message really needs to be clear and a lot of times on that regard the pushback can be a little more intense.

Mike: Well, okay so say you’re going to terminate an employee for cause or for layoff reasons or whatever. What are some basic things that the manager should do before they call that employee in their office? How should they be prepared for that?

Brad: Well there’s a number of things they should do. They need to think about the time and location. Typically it should be earlier in the week, later in the day. There should be a witness, hopefully a human resources professional. The severance package should already be put together, whatever the severance policy is, that’s where human resources – I’d like to say one thing right here. If human resources is the hub of these types of conversations, they go fairly smoothly. But the biggest problem, the biggest problem, is when and where the company is most legally liable, is when the notifying manager opens his or her mouth. That’s why it’s really important that a script is prepared and the manager practices the scripts. I always have my notifying managers practice the script out loud. They need to hear themselves say it. They need to hear their own voice. Reading it from a piece of paper and hearing yourself say it is – I mean, it’s monumental. It’s extremely important. So basically the three rules are stick to the script, stick to the script, stick to the script. You deliver the message and then you anticipate the reaction. Silence is okay. You don’t have to fill every void. The quickest that you can, a notifying manager, can pass off the employee to human resources the better off it’s going to be for the employee, for human resources, and for the company. You also need to anticipate any security or medical issues that could happen. In other words, an extreme case is the person, are they diabetic, do they have a heart condition, are they basically an angry person, do they have any other stressors in their life; it’s not necessarily the loss of the job, it’s the loss of the job and the other stressor, a sick child, a bad marriage, sick parent, whatever it might be. Then, to map out the next steps, what happens when the individual leaves the notifying office and I always recommend that you bring the person into the manager’s office and all the details are handled right there. If you have an outplacement consultant on site then we should come into that office. You shouldn’t bring the person and kind of troupe them all over the place. Just keep it in one centralized location and then give them a choice, if they want to pick up their stuff and leave, say goodbye to a few people, or whether they would rather make arrangements to come back and pick up their personal items. As a manager you need to prepare for your own emotional preparation. This isn’t easy but it does come with the territory. People who can’t do it shouldn’t be with the company. People who enjoy doing it shouldn’t be with the company either. It’s one of those things that comes with the territory.

Mike: What about the remaining employees, those people that are left behind after this has happened, whether it’s a big layoff or just the really popular guy in the office that wasn’t performing and had to be let go? What can a manager do about those folks?

Brad: Well I think in either situation the manager should meet with their direct reports immediately and/or that person’s peers, tell them that Tom is no longer with the company and here’s what’s gonna happen with his work assignments, who’s gonna be taking over his work assignments. Then after that, manage by wandering for a day. If people have questions they need to come in and talk to you. This usually doesn’t happen as much with an individual notification as it does with a business downturn where there are a number of people being released on that morning. The second phase of this is how do you manage that change. I’ve seen companies do it very well and I’ve seen companies do it very poorly. What happens when they do it very poorly is they don’t reach the minimum acceptable level for production or for their employees and then they start losing the people they don’t want to lose because they haven’t managed the change and the transition to whatever the new company is going to look like. As a matter of fact if it’s handled very poorly, after about 60 days it’s not really true who the true winners and losers were, the people who are left are the people that stayed. There’s so much anxiety built up about the notifications that after a notification day for lack of better terms it’s suddenly realized, the company realizes, “Hey we have business to take care of. We have to open the doors and turn the lights on again and do business and we need the remaining people to help us do that and if they’re not on board, not gonna happen.” More importantly if the managers aren’t on board it’s never gonna happen.

Mike: Sometimes especially during terminations for cause the company rumor mill begins to buzz with incorrect information about the reason why someone was terminated. That fire is often stoked by the terminated employee or by his friends who are still working for that employer. What advice would you give a manager facing that situation?

Brad: I would stick to the script and when you’re explaining you’re losing. You tell the reason they were asked to leave and that’s the reason and that is exactly what you say over and over and over again.

Mike: So you just share even with peers and co-workers terminated for performance and just move on.

Brad: Absolutely, absolutely. I wouldn’t get into details. You need to be at peace with what you can and cannot control. You need to be at peace with what people are going to say. You are as a manager the one that is going to notify the person that they’re no longer with the company and that’s why it’s so important to have a script and so important to stick with the script even after the person left. You can’t control what they’re going to say. When we meet with people that have left in a situation like this we always remind them that all the good work that they’ve done can be wiped out by how they behave after they leave, today and going forward. The other fact is that the released employee is going to need this company as a reference. So you need to be very careful and you really need to think through that. sometimes we’ll call them, depending on the circumstances, once we meet with them we’ll call them later that evening, see how they’re feeling, what they’re doing, and remind them again of the facts that I just stated.

Mike: Well Brad thanks for taking the time today. We appreciate it and we look forward to your presentation on January 15 at the Ft. Worth Human Resources Management Association.

Brad: Thanks Mike, I appreciate you asking.

Mike: And thank you for listening to The Imperative Podcast. In January we’re going to be giving away an IPod to a luck listener. To enter the contest, just go to our website. That’s ImperativeInfo.com and click on the listener contest graphic wherever you see it. To enter the contest you’re going to need an entry code, so here it is: FWHRMA. Okay, just type FWHRMA in the entry code box and you’ll be entered in the contest to win an IPod nano. The winner will be announced on February 2 so be sure to enter soon. While you’re on our website you can hear all of our previous podcasts or read our HR related blog items. You can also learn more about background checks and the other services we offer. Finally, in today’s economic climate it’s critical to get every hiring decision right. Do you really have the time or budget to recruit, hire, train, manage, and then terminate a bad hire? A good background check needs to be a critical piece of your employee selection process. If you don’t absolutely love your current background screening partner, please give me a call at toll-free 877-473-2287. I’m Mike Coffey, President of Imperative Information Group. Thanks and have a great 2009.

Performance Management-NHL Style

 Kathy Rapp, a contributor to one of my favorite HR blogs, Fistful of Talent, questions whether the Dallas Star’s indefinite suspension of Sean Avery was appropriate, using the incident as a jumping off point in a broader discussion of performance management. She writes:

Punishments SHOULD fit the crimes – in and outside of corporate America.  Did Sean Avery deserve to be suspended indefinitely and then cut from the team for talking trash about ex-girlfriends….or did he need to face off with his buddies on the ice and let the chips fall where they may?

I don’t know if Avery’s punishment fit the crime. I suspect however that, as with most performance management issues in more traditional workplaces, Sean Avery’s final offense wasn’t the whole story.


The guy was reportedly a wreck in the locker room. His relationship with his teammates was apparently negative and in a highly-coordinated team effort like hockey (or most businesses), that is poison to the team’s performance (though he is hardly the sole reason for the Star’s lackluster performance this year). His own performance on the ice has been mediocre this season. He’d also been previously warned by the leadership of both the Dallas Stars and the NHL to clean up his public behavior.

Mouthing off about his NHL peers’ relationships with his former girlfriends probably wasn’t the single (or even primary) reason for his exile. It was, however, the reason that was easiest to understand.

This is common in most other workplaces. Typically, employment terminations are about more than a single incident, regardless of what is documented in the termination paperwork

As in Avery’s case, relationships with peers, customers, and management, job performance, and attitude are always present, if unspoken, considerations.  The reason cited for termination is really the “final straw” in a long line of bad behavior or poor performance that management failed to effectively confront.

It is easier to wait for a single, easy-to-understand and communicate reason to cut them from the team. In the meantime, the entire team suffers.

Imperative Information Group is a Fort Worth, Texas-based background investigations and business due diligence firm dedicated to clients who can’t afford a cheap background check. For more information about Imperative Information Group’s services, please contact Micah Taylor at 877-HR-FACTS (877-473-2287) or visit us online at http://www.imperativeinfo.com.

Investment Meltdown: A Similar Fate for HR Professionals?

Freddiemae_2Investment banks are dropping like flies.  The government has taken over the two largest mortgage loan and loan guarantee companies.  Private-mortgage companies are collapsing.  Overall, the financial weather is pretty dang lousy. 

So what lesson can HR professionals take away from this situation?


According to Peter Cappelli, the director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of Business, the lesson is that employers should seriously question whether rewards for individual performance are an effective substitute for good employee management.

In an article he wrote for Human Resource Executive Online Cappelli states, “What I saw in many of the finance jobs, especially in the investment-banking positions, was extraordinarily callous and inept management: Feedback on jobs was extremely rare, formal appraisals were even more unusual and junior analysts were in the office 90 hours a week (much of it waiting around for assignments) with no thought to work/life balance because there was no discipline or management to work assignments.”

He later explains that management problems were ignored, and instead individual performances were rewarded with huge bonus offers, pressuring employees to do whatever it took to hit their targets.  “Taking risks to achieve one’s individuals targets,” Cappelli explained,”even if it puts others or the organization as a whole in danger, seems acceptable, and covering up failures becomes the norm.”

Read Cappelli’s full article at Human Resource Executive Online

Imperative Information Group is a Fort Worth, Texas-based background investigations and business due diligence firm dedicated to clients who can’t afford a cheap background check. For more information about Imperative Information Group’s services, please contact Micah Taylor at 877-HR-FACTS (877-473-2287) or visit us online at http://www.imperativeinfo.com.