10 Elements that Take Your Internships from “Meh” to Brag Worthy

internship series

(This is Part 1 of our 3-part internship series. Once you’ve finished this post, keep an eye out for Part 2 and Part 3.)


Can you smell that freshness in the air? Ah, spring!

For many HR teams, this means we’re only a couple months from interns arriving for their first day.

As you prepare for your interns to arrive, it’s helpful to think about your internships as a program rather than just an annual season.

Of course, when we say “internship program,” we’re not talking about something just for the Googles and Facebooks of the world. Yours could be as simple as a few specific guidelines for the one or two summer interns or as large as a dedicated team managing hundreds of interns.

No matter the scale of your internships, without purpose and a designed experience, over time they can erode into just a yearly ritual. If you want them to drive your organization forward, then there are a few specific factors to think about.


Start with the purpose

There are plenty of benefits to having interns, from building a pipeline of future talent to supporting students. Do you know which one will help accomplish your company’s overall mission and goals?

Your internship program’s purpose could include several of the following:

  • Create a pipeline of talented engineering candidates
  • Find and test potential talent
  • Have eager talent to contribute to a big project
  • Increase employee retention
  • Support students with educational experience
  • Evangelize company culture and branding
  • Gain knowledge from students still in college

Starting with purpose and reevaluating it every year will help keep your internship program on track to making a real impact on your company’s mission and goals.


Design the experience, not just job responsibilities

Design your internship experience with the end in mind. Here’s where many organizations skip right over and move on to the where and what. Well-planned job descriptions are important, too, but most underestimate how vital experience is.

Intern experience means more than providing a few bullet points to add on a resume. Don’t get us wrong, those are great. For the moment we’re talking about those essential culture moments that move the way your employees think and feel about your company from “like” to “love.”

When focusing on interns specifically, there are a few questions you can ask knowing their time as an intern is limited:

  • How do you want them to feel about your company? Love?
  • Which element of your culture and values do you want them to engage with?
  • How do you want them to feel about themselves? Accomplished? One of the team?

Asking key leaders these questions will shape the way your internship program looks and feels. And they should be directly tied to your organization’s goals for internships.

If you struggle with this part, surveying former or future interns for the kind of experience they want is a good place to start.


Connect with the student community

Let’s say your goal is to create a pipeline of talented software engineers. How do you get a stream of intern applicants who also fit your company culture? Go to the source!

It may sound simple or a little naïve, but committing to consistently attending career fairs – both fall and spring – will help with this goal, as well as connecting with specific university departments. UCLA is just one example of a university that hosts career fairs specifically for certain skills.

We’ll talk more about attracting interns in Part 2 of this series, but it’s worth noting here that if internships are important to your company, it’s well worth the effort to be part of the community your future talent comes from.



Stepping into the arena

Imagine walking into a crowded stadium for the first time. There are people everywhere, you don’t know where your seat or the nearest bathroom is, and everyone seems to be following some unspoken social order. That’s a bit like the first day at a new internship.

How do you move your interns from that moment to the experience you want them to leave with? Here are 10 ideas:

1. On your interns’ first day, show them the ropes

Have a scheduled orientation and make sure they’re announced and welcomed by key team members on the first day.


2. Work with their direct manager to plan their first week

How many times has a new hire sat around the first few days on the job because their team and manager didn’t prepare work for them ahead of time? Ask their assigned team to prepare work for them before their first day.


3. Check-ins and 1:1s

As the internships continue, regular check-ins with department heads and interns are an easy way to measure whether their experience is meeting your program purpose.


4. Plan activities allowing them to bond with other interns, co-workers, and execs

You don’t need a ton of these to create strong bonds. One or two within the span of the internship could be just fine. Think back to the kind of experience you want your interns to leave with.


5. Schedule a session with the CEO or another senior executive

We get it, all CEOs are busy and time is money. But a Q&A session or lunch with a senior leader can go a long way toward interns feeling valued, especially if finding future talent is one of your goals. It’s a small investment if it helps the best interns return to you when they leave school.


6. Give them real responsibility

That isn’t to suggest you put a mission-critical task in their hands that could cripple your company, but it does mean letting them try real tasks rather than trivial “projects.”


7. Teach them more than just their specific vocation

Many undergrad students won’t have the experience of working with multiple departments or in matrix organizations to complete projects. Showing them how the company works outside of their department gives them a broader perspective of real work.


8. Give them a mentor

Depending on the size of your business, you can assign each intern someone they can go to with questions, will demonstrate your company culture, help develop soft skills, and make them feel included. However, this responsibility shouldn’t be assigned. It should be someone on their team or from HR who actively wants to be a mentor.


9. Let them show off what they’ve learned

Few things are as empowering for interns as the ability to show their fellow interns, co-workers, and senior leaders what they’ve accomplished or gained. This can range from surveys to writing interns blog posts to letting them give a presentation to their new peers. The key is getting them to think about their time with your company.


10. Give them an edge in their future job search

Pair interns up with a recruiter who can help them craft their resume with achievements and metrics. On top of giving them a leg up, they’ll have a direct contact who is a recruiter. Who do you think they’ll reach out to when they start their job search?


A side effect of great internship programs

No matter what your goals are, there’s one side effect every company wants: referrals.

When a student’s internship experience is great, they’re going to tell their classmates and peers. The opposite is also true. Don’t underestimate the impact your internships can have.


Over to you

There’s plenty more that can go into making a great internship program. What marks a great internship to you? Let us know in the comments below.






Dave Bakkeby Joins TargetCW After Capping Off the Best Year Yet


San Diego, CA  –  Capping off a record 2016 for TargetCW, Dave Bakkeby has joined the company to lead the growth of national and global accounts. Dave’s experience spans nearly 20 years in the recruiting industry as a business development leader.

He spent over 18 years in business development with Orion International, a leading provider of best-in-class Military Talent Programs, where he designed and implemented Strategic Military Talent Programs. He then became SVP of Business Development at Novotus, a leading provider of Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and Recruiting Services, after it was acquired by Orion International. Prior to his tenure at Orion International, Dave spent 6 years as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, for which we are grateful for his service.

Dave joins TargetCW at the end of a record revenue year as the Senior Vice President of Business Development to build upon the company’s success providing contingent workforce solutions to a growing number of top companies in the United States and Europe.


“TargetCW is truly something special. I am honored to be able to become a part of this team and join in on the journey. I look forward to grabbing an oar and start rowing alongside each and every one the team!”


Samer Khouli, TargetCW’s Founder and CEO, said, “Dave brings the highest levels of performance and client service as both a veteran of our industry and veteran of our armed services. Our constant pursuit of being a leader in the Contingent Workforce industry led us to look for a seasoned business development leader who complements our culture and the level of care for our clients and their workers. There’s no doubt Dave will push us forward in developing processes and solutions to better serve them.”


About TargetCW

TargetCW provides a comprehensive, worldwide payroll solution that allows organizations to mitigate the liability of their contingent workforce, including workers’ compensation, unemployment claims, ACA-compliant health care benefits, paperless onboarding, on-line time-keeping, and all tax withholdings and reporting. Using our on-line software, including our contingent workforce platform, StaffingNation, our clients have regained control and turned their contingent worker programs into efficient, turn-key solutions for their entire organization. In 2016, TargetCW ranked #2080 on the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing private companies and was named one of the Top Workplaces in San Diego. For more information, visit http://www.targetcw.com.



Nick Godwin

The HR Director’s 2017 Employment Law Update

It’s the time of the year when every human resources VP and manager should review and implement the new employment rules and regulations taking effect this month. After all, if you’re not paying attention to these rule changes, not only is your entire organization is at risk for fines and legal repercussions, but it’s a surefire way to lose the trust of your workforce.

For 2017, here’s your state-by-state guide to employment laws taking effect early this year.

Click on any state to go directly to its updates.




Amended constitution to include an existing law regarding the right to work state, meaning employees cannot be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. Here’s the full Alabama constitutional amendment: AL HB 37.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Alaska Statewide $9.80 1/1/17



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Arizona Statewide $10.00 1/1/17



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Arkansas Statewide $8.50 1/1/17



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Cupertino, CA $12.00 1/1/17
Los Altos, CA $12.00 1/1/17
Mountain View, CA $13.00 1/1/17
Oakland, CA $12.86 1/1/17
Palo Alto, CA $12.00 1/1/17
Richmond, CA $12.30 1/1/17
San Diego, CA $11.50 1/1/17
San Jose, CA $10.40 1/1/17
San Mateo, CA $12.00 1/1/17
Santa Clara $11.10 1/1/17
Sunnyvale $13.00 1/1/17
California Statewide $10.50 1/1/17



New overtime exemption rates for computer software employees and licensed physicians
Effective January 1, 2017
Computer software employees rates are now $42.39 per hour, $7,359.88 per month, $88,318.55 per year, while licensed physicians and surgeons rates have increased to $77.23 per hour.

Equal Pay Legislation
Effective January 1, 2017
California also made amendments to is Labor Code toward greater equality with its Equal Pay Legislation. The first amendment prevents pay disparity with regard to race and ethnicity, which prohibits an employer from paying employees less wages than that of another race for substantially similar work. The second amendment decrees that prior salary cannot, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation.

Single-User Toilet Facilities Must Be All-Gender
Effective March 1, 2017
Workplace facilities teams will need to make all their single-user toilet facilities identify as all-gender toilet facilities starting March 1, 2017 (it includes all business establishments, places of public accommodation, or government agencies).

The Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program
Effective January 1, 2017
Last fall Gov. Brown signed into law a state-run retirement program that automatically enrolls employees who do not have employer-provided retirement plans. The Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program enrolls workers at 3%. Employers with 100 or more eligible employees have 12 months after the board opens the program for enrollment to have a payroll deposit retirement savings arrangement. Employees can change contribution levels at any time, or choose not to participate. If you want more info about this, you can read the press release.

Unfair Immigration Related Practices
Effective January 1, 2017
As of now, employers cannot request additional or different information for identification purposes than those that federal law requires. Additionally, there are a few conditions of documentation employers cannot refuse. See the full California Senate Bill for all the rules: Senate Bill No. 1001.

Use of criminal history information
Effective January 1, 2017
This new law prohibits employers from asking about juvenile criminal history on a job application, and prevents them from using it as a condition for determining employment.

Employment Contracts: Choice of Law and Forum
Effective January 1, 2017
Employers are now prohibited from requiring an employee who lives and works primarily in CA to agree to provisions that either require the employee to adjudicate outside of California a claim arising in California, or deprives the employee of the substantive protection of California law with respect to a controversy arising in California.

Crime Victim Protections
Effective January 1, 2017, but not enforced until Labor Commissioner publishes notice
Under this law, any employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking and takes time off from work for any of reasons given in the amendment cannot be discharged, discriminated, or retaliated against. These rights are now requirements at hire and upon request.

Employees’ Periods of Rest
In a California Supreme Court ruling, employees must be relieved of all duties during rest periods, just like meal periods. For more information about what this means for employers see this analysis.



Santa Monica Sick Leave
Effective January 1, 2017
Employees working in the city of Santa Monica, CA will receive additional sick leave entitlements.

San Francisco Paid Parental Leave
Effective January 1, 2017
Starting this year, employers with 50+ employees must pay 45% of employee income for 6 weeks while on maternity leave. The employee must have worked 180 days with the employer prior to the start of the leave period.

Los Angeles Ban the Box
Effective January 22, 2017
Beginning in January, Los Angeles employers cannot ask about criminal history during the application process (including the interview). For many employers, this will require updating application forms and reviewing interview processes.

San Jose Opportunity to Work
Effective March 13, 2017
This ordinance requires San Jose employers to offer additional work hours to existing qualified part-time employees before hiring new employees, including subcontractors or use of temporary staffing services.

Emeryville Fair Workweek
Effective July 1, 2017
Emeryville is the third city in the U.S. to pass an ordinance like this which sets scheduling requirements for retail firms with 56+ global employees and fast food firms with 56+ global employees with at least 20 in the city of Emeryville. See the full ordinance and its rules here.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Colorado Statewide $9.30 1/1/17



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Connecticut Statewide $10.10 1/1/17


Expansion of Connecticut’s FMLA
Currently in effect
In addition to the reasons currently listed in the CTFMLA, eligible employees may take leave due to a qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, son, daughter or parent of the employee is on active duty, or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty.



Employment discrimination
Currently in effect
Delaware passed several anti-discrimination employment laws which are now in effect. The first prevents discrimination due to familial responsibilities, stating that employees cannot be discriminated against due to family caregiving responsibilities. The second law decrees that employees cannot be discriminated against due to reproductive health choices. The third prohibits employers from forcing employees to keep their wage a secret.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Florida Statewide $8.10 1/1/17



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Hawaii Statewide $9.25 1/1/17



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Chicago, IL $11.00 1/1/17

Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act
Effective January 1, 2017
Drawing a line between personal and professional is an increasingly difficult line to see. This act helps clarify for employers where that line rests, at lease when it comes to what the employer can and cannot require. It prohibits employers from requesting personal account login information, including anti-retaliation provision for employees refusing to grant employers access to personal accounts.

Income Withholding and Reporting
Effective January 1, 2017
Several changes were made to Illinois Withholding Income Tax for tax year 2017. Among those changes, all withholding taxpayers will be assigned to pay withholding income tax on a monthly or semiweekly schedule, and they are required to file quarterly returns on Form IL-941. Here is the full list of changes and rules.



Documentation of Age For Purposes Of Obtaining A Child Labor Permit
Currently in effect
A driver’s permit can be used as proof of age for purposes of obtaining a child labor permit.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Louisville, KY $7.25 1/1/17
Lexington, KY $7.25 1/1/17

Minimum Wage Ordinance Overturned
Currently in effect
On October 20, 2016, Kentucky’s Supreme Court struck down Louisville’s minimum wage ordinance. For more info about this, read the full decision.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Portland, ME $10.68 1/1/17
Maine Statewide $9.00 1/1/17

Legalization of marijuana
Effective 30 days after signed by Maine Governor, or 30 days after December 31, 2016
Under this law, employers cannot refuse to employ or penalize a person 21+ based solely on marijuana use, so long as it is outside of the employer’s property.

Severance Pay Protections
This act updates state law to match WARN Act protections and applies to companies that layoff 100+ workers in a 12-month period. It states that employers must provide 60-day notice, and give one week pay per year worked in severance.

Increase In Minimum Salary For Exempt Employees
Effective January 7, 2017
Under this referendum, the minimum wage for exempt employees was increased to 519.24/week.



Expansion of Equal Pay Act
Currently in effect
Under this provision, equal pay is now prevented from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

Immigration Status
Currently in effect
Employers are prohibited from threatening or using an employee’s immigration information for extortion.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Massachusetts Statewide $11.00 1/1/17

Job Creation and Workforce Development
Currently in effect
While this law provides many different economic-boosting parts, it amends laws to allow warehouses and delivery centers to be open on Sundays and holidays.

Gender Identity Discrimination Act
Currently in effect
This law expands former protections for ‘transgender’ to include all gender identity, and prevents employers from denying employees access to the restroom that corresponds to the employee’s gender identity.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Michigan Statewide $8.90 1/1/17



Human Rights Act Amendment
Currently in effect
Under this amendment, specific requirements for disability discrimination claims related to architectural barriers were established. Additionally, certain notices in building inspection reports are required.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Kansas City, MO $9.82 1/1/17
St. Louis, MO $10.00 1/1/17
Missouri Statewide $7.70 1/1/17

Victims of Crime
Currently in effect
Under this legislation, employers are prohibited from discharging or disciplining any witness, victim, or member of a victim’s immediate family for honoring a subpoena to testify in a criminal proceeding, attending a criminal proceeding, or for participating in the preparation of a criminal proceeding.

Ban the Box for State Employers
Currently in effect
State employers are required to remove questions relating to an individual’s criminal history unless a criminal history would render an applicant ineligible for the position.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Montana Statewide $8.15 1/1/17

Discrimination Protection for State Employment Contracts
Currently in effect
Under this anti-discrimination law, state employers and contracts are prohibited from discrimination based on any of the categories: race, color, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, political or religious affiliation or ideas, culture, creed, social origin or condition, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, military service or veteran status, or marital status.



Workplace Privacy Act
Currently in effect
This act prohibits Nebraska employers from requiring or requesting an employee or applicant provide or disclose any user name or password or any other related account information in order to gain access to the employee’s or applicant’s social networking site profile or account by way of an electronic communication device

Equal Pay Act Amendment
Currently in effect
Nebraska laws protecting employees from wage discrimination now apply to employers with two or more employees. Previously, the law only applied to employers with fifteen or more employees.


New Hampshire

Gender Identity Discrimination Protection
Currently in effect
This order expanded the current anti-discrimination rules for state agencies to include gender identity and gender expression.


New Jersey

Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
New Jersey Statewide $8.44 1/1/17


New York

Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
NYC, NY $11.00 12/31/16
Nassau, NY $10.00 12/31/16
Suffolk, NY $10.00 12/31/16
Westchester Counties, NY $10.00 12/31/16
New York Statewide $9.70 12/31/16

New Regulations for Methods Of Paying Wages,
Effective March 7, 2017
Starting in March, employers cannot use payroll cards unless there is local access to one or more ATMs that offer withdrawals at no cost to the employee, and there is at least one method to withdraw up to the total amount of wages for each pay period or balance remaining on the payroll debit card without the employee incurring a fee.

NYDHR Regulations/Protections for Transgender Employees
Currently in effect
This law clarified how gender identity discrimination may constitute either sex or disability discrimination under the Human Rights Law and establish protections for transgender employees.

Increased Salary For White Collar Exempt Workers
Effective December 31, 2016
Large employers (those with eleven or more employees) in New York City:

  • $825 per week effective December 31, 2016
  • $975 per week effective December 31, 2017

Small employers (those with ten or fewer employees) in New York City:

  • $787.50 per week effective December 31, 2016
  • $900 per week effective December 31, 2017

Employers in Long Island and Westchester:

  • $750 per week effective December 31, 2016
  • $825 per week effective December 31, 2017

Employers in the remainder of New York State (outside of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester):

  • $727.50 per week effective December 31, 2016
  • $780 per week effective December 31, 2017

For the full list of exemptions, see this amended Minimum Wage Order.


North Carolina

Right to Sue for Wrongful Discharge
Currently in effect
This law restored the right to sue for wrongful termination is state courts but limits the statute of limitations from three years to one.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Ohio Statewide $8.15 1/1/17

Sealed Criminal Records Restriction
Effective November 1, 2016
Employers, educational institutions, state and local government agencies, officials, and employees may not, in any application or interview or otherwise, require an applicant to disclose any information contained in sealed records.

Cities are Prohibited from Establishing Their Own Minimum Wages
Effective March 21, 2017
Among the many parts of this law is the restriction on cities from establishing minimum wage rates different from the rate required by state law.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Oregon – Portland Urban Boundary $11.25 1/1/17
Oregon – Non-urban $10.00 1/1/17
Oregon Statewide $10.25 1/1/17

Portland Ban the Box
Currently in effect
All Portland employers may not gather, obtain, or use an applicant’s criminal history before making a conditional offer of employment.



Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy
Effective January 1, 2017
Voluntary policy for hiring, promoting, or retaining a veteran, a spouse of a disabled veteran, or a surviving spouse over another qualified applicant or employee.

Philadelphia – Unlawful Credit Screening Practices in Employment
Currently in effect
Under this legislation, employers are prohibited from using credit information in employment decisions, including any connection with hiring, discharge, tenure, promotion, discipline or consideration of any other term, condition or privilege of employment with respect to such employee or applicant.

Portland Ban the Box
Effective 120 days from Mayor’s signature
This ordinance prohibits employers from inquiring about salary history in the hiring process.


Rhode Island

Prohibits Unauthorized Deductions from Wages
Currently in effect
Employers are prohibited from making unauthorized deductions from employee wages. Employers must have an employee’s written or electronic consent.

Recovery Of Unpaid Wages
Currently in effect
Employees are given several new avenues to collect unpaid wages from nonpaying employers.


South Carolina

New Income Withholding and Reporting
Effective January 31, 2017
The official announcement and tables available here.


South Dakota

Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
South Dakota Statewide $8.65 1/1/17

Wage Garnishment Restrictions
Currently in effect
This law revised provisions related to garnishment of debts and property, with specific updates to employee wage garnishments which with must be lesser of:

  • 20 percent of disposable earnings for that week, or
  • The amount by which your weekly disposable earnings exceed 40 times the federal hourly minimum wage, less $25 per week for each dependent family member who resides with you

For more info about this law, read the full details.



Austin Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance
Currently in effect
Under this law, Austin employers are restricted in their use of criminal background information for hiring.



Post-Employment Restrictions Act
Currently in effect
Limits post-employment restrictive agreements for longer than 1 year, but excludes reasonable severance agreements.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Vermont Statewide $10.00 1/1/17

Vermont Sick Leave
Effective January 1, 2017
Vermont employees will be able to accrue and use up to 24 hours of paid sick leave annually. Employers with 6 or fewer employees will need to comply by 1/1/2018.



Wage Theft Policy and Requesting Employment Records
Currently in effect
Employers must provide (upon request) all records required under federal or state law, including name, hourly rate, hours worked, wages due, additions or deductions per pay period and reasons, and pay period and pay date.



Minimum Wage Updates

Location New Hourly Rate Effective Date
Seattle, WA $15.00 1/1/17
SeaTac, WA $15.35 1/1/17
Tacoma, WA $11.15 1/1/17
Washington Statewide $11.00 1/1/17

Seattle Secure Scheduling Ordinance
Effective July 1, 2017
Seattle retail and food service establishments with 500+ employees worldwide and full-service restaurants with 500 or more employees and 40 or more locations must give a 14-day advance schedule, reporting time pay, estimated hours provided at hire, 1.5x pay for shifts with less than 10 hours between them, allow staff access to additional hours before hiring new staff, and are given on-call pay requirements. See specific regulations here.

Spokane Sick Leave
Effective January 1, 2017
Employees working in the city of Spokane, WA are eligible to accrue and use paid sick leave.


Can’t find what you’re looking for or have a specific question? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!


Step out of your cluttered headspace to do better work

What national yoga month should mean for your work life

September is National Yoga Month! But don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you have to spend the month trying to perfect your One-Handed Tree pose (seriously, don’t try this one alone!). However, it can mean intentionally doing a small behavior in your workday to make the rest of it better.

There are some aspects of yoga that you can fit into your work day that help relieve stress and counter the effects of so much time spent sitting at a desk. Here are just a few.

Breathing: Slow down stress and anxiety

Have you ever felt light-headed before a presentation or on edge trying to meet a deadline? During periods of stress or anxiety, we tend to feel short of breath or breathe quicker. Sometimes we may even feel like we might snap at any minute.

Focusing on targeted breathing exercises in yoga has been shown to alleviate anxiety and lower stress levels, among other health benefits.

Simply taking a minute or two to sit quietly and connect with your breath can help calm your body and focus your mind.

You can do this easily at your desk several times a day by closing your eyes and breathing in slowly through your nose, expanding your stomach, and then breathing out through your mouth, with your throat contracted as though you are saying the word, “Ha.”

Mindfulness: Focus on the present

Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment. It sounds simple but is difficult to maintain when our minds are often focused on the big picture and the future, all that needs to get done in a day, worrying about an upcoming meeting, or angrily anticipating the traffic on our commutes home.

By focusing on breathing and concentrating on how we feel physically and emotionally in a moment without judging those feelings, we can begin to be mindful.

Mindfulness not only helps calm the body and gives the mind a break, it can also bring a new perspective to the tasks at hand. We all get stressed about what needs to be done tomorrow. Instead, focus all your energy on what you are doing in the present moment.

Focused energy is infinitely more powerful than scattered energy.

Like the sun’s ability to light a piece of paper on fire when its energy is focused through a magnifying glass, your ability to succeed at each task is increasingly stronger the more focused you are on that task.

Asanas: Postures for a healthier workday

Is sitting the new smoking, as many articles have suggested?

When looking at research on the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the answer might be yes. Sitting hunched over a keyboard for several hours a day has been connected with back pain, unhealthy posture, leg tightness, and more serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and a shorter life span.

Adding more movement to the work day helps both employees and employers by reducing health-related absences from the office, reducing health care costs, and improving employee morale and performance. Try standing while you talk on the phone or walking over to a co-worker’s desk to discuss an email.

You can also try these few yoga postures (asanas) in your office or at home to increase circulation, stretch your limbs, and create more energy in your body. Here are a few basic postures to try:

Downward-Facing Dog
This pose stretches and strengthens many parts of the body, including those most affected by sitting at a desk. Bring life back to your shoulders, neck, legs, wrists, and brain by coming into an upside-down ‘V’ shape. With hands outstretched in front of you and feet grounded at about hips-width apart, heels on the floor, raise your hips into the air as though a string is lifting them straight up to the sky.

Ground all fingers into the floor and point them forward, making sure your weight is balanced equally between your hands and feet and pressing your chest back toward your legs. Hanging out in this position is a great place to practice focused breathing and mindfulness as you take note of how each part of your body is feeling.

Mountain Pose
To counteract the all the hours of desk-hunching, try stretching your back and opening your chest by standing with your feet hips-width apart. Raise your hands over your head with palms facing each other. Make sure your shoulders are not tensed up and bend backwards as far as is comfortable while pressing your chest forward.

Forward Fold
This is a simple pose that can be done easily next to your desk and can help decompress your upper body. Stand up with your feet hips-width apart and bend forward from your hips, keeping your back straight as long as you can until you fold over with your head facing down. Let your arms and neck hang and sway gently from side to side.

Happy Baby Pose
This is a fun pose to help stretch your hip joints and roll out your back muscles. It also might make you laugh to be rolling around like a baby. Lie flat on your back and pull your knees into your chest. Grab the outside of your feet and pull them down toward you so that your knees fall to either side of your upper body. Gently roll from side to side and smile!

Feeling inspired? Visit the Yoga Health Foundation to see what events are in your area or to sign up for a free week of classes at a yoga studio near you.

Here’s to a happy and healthy workday!

5 Interview Do’s (and Don’ts) to Keep Your Company from Legal Woes


There are a lot of rules to protect employees. A whole lot!

In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor enforces more than 180 laws covering everything from wages to worker’s compensation and everything in between. And those are just the federal ones.

But what about before an employee signs an offer letter?

Some of the most forgotten legal protections for employees begin well before their hire date. Any candidate that participates in your company’s recruitment process has anti-discrimination rights guaranteed under both state and federal law.

How do you know if your recruitment process is abiding by these laws? Here are a few things you should and shouldn’t do during an interview.

Avoid these interview gaffes

1. Ask about protected characteristics
That means, race, color, national origin, age, gender (including pregnancy and sexual orientation), physical ability, religion, and marital status.

While most employers already know these questions are off-limits, be careful of indirect questions with the same results. These usually sound like these:

  • What year did you graduate high school?
  • Do you have any kids?
  • What’s your home life like?

2. Ask about arrests
Many cities and states, including California, have passed legislation that limits when an employer can ask about criminal background history and what they can ask about.

Arrests that do not result in convictions should not disqualify a candidate, and convictions that do not relate to the job at hand should be considered carefully.

3. Discuss drug or alcohol use
It’s tempting for managers to ask about drug and alcohol use. But you’ll want to stay away from asking if a candidate used illegal drugs in the past. However, you can ask if that candidate currently uses any illegal drugs. Walk this line carefully, though.

4. Ask about politics, groups, or social organizations, unless relevant to the position
Instead, ask about specific professional associations, if relevant. Avoid discussing the candidate’s involvement in church, parent-teacher associations, or political affiliations.

5. Wing it!
While some interviews will need to be less scripted, you should be thinking out your questions and the requirements of the position thoroughly before the interview. Taking time to organize will help keep you objective and fair.

What to do instead

1. Keep questions consistent between candidates (per position)
Core questions related to the position itself shouldn’t change much from interview to interview. Of course, follow-up questions can vary and will be more specific to each candidate’s ability to perform the job.

To help keep questions consistent it’s a good idea to agree to a list of questions ahead of time and distribute them to anyone participating in the interview process.

2. Link your decisions to objective criteria wherever possible
First impressions are subjective, which is part of why interviews are difficult.

When considering your candidate, try to get beyond your initial reactions and really understand why you think the candidate may not fit. If the candidate’s experience doesn’t mesh with your company culture, which aspect of your culture, specifically?

3. Take detailed notes
If you’re ever in a situation where a candidate claims they were not hired due to a discriminatory reason, having detailed notes of why you made your decision will be crucial. Remember, the burden is on the employer to disprove this allegation, and if your only answer is “they just were not a good fit,” you won’t get very far.

On the flipside, having detailed notes about what you do like about a candidate can be crucial for deciding between two (or more) qualified candidates. Relying on memory alone when it’s a close call opens the door for subjectivity and bias.

4. Identify the essential functions and requirements of the position BEFORE the interview
Have you ever been in an interview where the recruiter speaks in vague generalities about the position? Or interviewed for a job that didn’t have a description at all?

Why is this a problem? An employee’s performance is tied to job expectations. Without clearly defined job requirements set from the beginning, there’s little accountability or direction for potential candidates. Bad for the company. Bad for the employee.

5. Have specific intent for each question asked
These last two points go hand in hand. Take some time to really think about what this position actually requires. What skills, education, and experience are you looking for, and why?

While the interview portion of the recruitment process is all about narrowing down your selections and ultimately disqualifying certain candidates, employers should take extra care to ensure their decisions are objective and consistent with job necessity.

Have questions about job interviews? Ask in the comments below and we’ll find an answer.

TargetCW Services Highlight: International Payroll

International Terminal Business Travel Transportation Concept

Did you know that TargetCW can aid in your company’s International Contingent Workforce payroll? Through various partnerships and fully owned subsidiaries, we offer a one stop-solution for all your international employment needs. We take on the standard employment burdens for various countries, just like we do in the United States.

We currently have legal operating entities in Canada and the United Kingdom. In addition, we have business partnerships in over 45 countries!

Our program has a variety of unique benefits that make payrolling international workers simple:

  • Currency conversion built into the mark up rate
  • We handle all GST/VAT according to country law
  • You can pay your invoice in US dollars
  • Offer letters/employment contracts are created and managed by TargetCW
  • Time and expense tracking through our online systems for all workers US and abroad
  • Benefits for various countries are administered by the appropriate office

Our team of international professionals and HR experts know the intricate employment laws of each country and the standard business practices to make sure your candidate is comfortable with their assignment. We look forward to working with you!


Did you Know? 2016 Mandatory Changes to State Labor Law Posters

Did you know there have been almost 100 mandatory state posting changes? Make sure your company has the most updated poster displayed. In addition, the following states have mandatory changes that are now in effect.

  • California – Notice to Employees—Injuries Caused by Work (workers’ compensation), effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Colorado – Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Florida – Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Kentucky –Safety and Health on the Job, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Louisiana – Earned Income Credit, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Massachusetts — Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Michigan – Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Missouri – Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • New York –Minimum Wage, effective Dec. 31, 2015
  • Ohio – Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Oregon – Minimum Wage, Family Leave Act, and Sick Time Law, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Rhode Island – Minimum Wage, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Virginia — Job Safety and Health Protection, Feb. 11, 2016

Motivating Your Contingent Workforce

The contingent workforce is growing and it’s critical for companies to be aware of the unique needs of contingent workers. Because the needs of contingent workers are different, employers need to approach contingent workforce employee engagement differently, too.

In terms of motivation, temporary workers require more attention. Because the jobs are temporary, there is usually no chance of raises, promotions, or paid time off, which are all the typical sources of motivation that employers depend on. Below are some tips to keep contingent workers motivated:

  • Make them feel welcome. Many times contingent workers are treated differently than full time employees. Include them in social events, training, and company outings. An open company culture will increase your employee retention.
  • Stay connected. Don’t forget about your temporary worker or put them on the back burner. Keep constant communication and give them the guidance they need.
  • Reward them. Give your contingent workers the recognition they deserve. If they go above and beyond, incentivizing will help improve engagement.
  • Have next actions prepared. Unlike full time employees, a temporary worker has to constantly consider how they will pay their bills. Giving them early notice of future work or lack of work will greatly influence whether they come back for another project.

The Interns are Coming!


Interns make ideal workers — hungry to learn, eager to make a good impression, and willing to perform a wide range of tasks. The relatively small amount of money employers spend on intern wages and benefits is a good investment, because it often produces dedicated future long-term employees.


  • Year round source of highly motivated pre-professionals
  • Students bring new perspectives to old problems
  • Visibility of your organization is increased on campus
  • Quality candidates for temporary or seasonal positions and projects
  • Freedom for professional staff to pursue more creative projects
  • Flexible, cost-effective work force not requiring a long-term employer commitment
  • Proven, cost-effective way to recruit and evaluate potential employees
  • Your image in the community is enhanced as you contribute your expertise to the educational enterprise


  • Administrative burden on HR Department
  • Increased Employer Liability risks

Unpaid Interns are Ancient History

The U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which applies to all companies that have at least two employees, are directly engaged in interstate commerce, or have annual sales of at least $500,000, severely restricts an employer’s ability to use unpaid interns or trainees. It does not limit an employer’s ability to hire paid interns. Even if a student is working through a school program for which he or she is being “paid” in college credits, the student still has the right under the FLSA to be paid, unless the employer is not deriving any immediate advantage by using him/her. Also, workers’ compensation boards have found that interns contribute enough to a company to make them employees. It’s wise to cover interns under a workers’ compensation policy in case of on the job injuries.

For obvious reasons, unpaid internships are financially attractive to smaller, growing companies — but they also run the risk of noncompliance with the law. That aside, compensating your interns can actually affect your company in positive ways. Paying students motivates them to do good work. Managers tend to underutilize or devalue unpaid interns. Will an unpaid intern remain motivated enough to do their best work? Probably not.

Here’s how to manage your internship program so it’s mutually beneficial and rewarding:

  • Lawyer Up: Treating interns like slaves isn’t just unethical, it’s against the law. The Department of Labor is really cracking down on unpaid internships, so it wouldn’t hurt to discuss your program with your attorney to ensure it’s in compliance with the law. Make sure your interns are earning college credit in exchange for their time. Be sure to keep their hours reasonable, keep their tasks educational, and keep giving them feedback on their performance. Don’t forget to prepare standard paperwork like nondisclosure agreements.
  • It’s All About Them: In the not so exact words of John F. Kennedy, don’t ask what your intern can do for your agency, ask what your agency can do for your intern. At the beginning of the internship period, sit down with the intern and discuss his or her goals. What are they trying to accomplish? What skills do they want to develop or grow? How do they like to be managed? How will they be evaluated at the end of the internship? Clarify these expectations early on.
  • Have a Point Person: Taking direction from multiple employees is going to get confusing, especially when it comes to prioritizing projects. It’s best to have an internship coordinator to act as the main contact at the agency, who the intern can report to. An internship coordinator can really help with streamlining projects, and supervise the completion. This is also a great opportunity to maybe give a junior staffer some management experience.
  • Give Them a Project: It’s easy to delegate random and ad-hoc tasks to interns, but consider actually giving your intern a project to work on throughout the summer. Maybe they can work on building a new media list or do some research on a potential client. What about a draft marketing plan? Not only will something constant help avoid downtime, at the end of the term they’ll have something tangible for a portfolio.
  • Involve Them: Being an intern isn’t just about learning how to develop work products, it’s also about learning how to function in an office environment. Help your interns understand what’s expected professionally by involving them in meetings, new business pitches, and team building activities. Also, ask for their opinions. It will help them gain confidence speaking in meetings and articulating their ideas. And you never know what you can learn from them.