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Actively Engaged Employees Transform Companies – part 2

…continued from Actively Engaged Employees Transform Companies – part 1

The discussion continues with Earl Bell, Island Crest Consulting LLC, on strategies to build your employee team to achieve the best results, both for your employees and for your organization…

What does actively engaged employees look like?:

  1. Support their co-workers and increase overall happiness in the workplace.
  2. Have high job and career satisfaction.
  3. Directly and indirectly reduce employee turnover.
  4. Produce awesome customer experiences.
  5. Increase productivity and profits.

By the way, the inverse is true too!

____________________

For my CFO readers, I encourage you to step away from spreadsheets for a moment and think about an extremely valuable asset not on the balance sheet – which is company culture. To increase company value, start investing time to partner with your executive team and HR department to develop an action plan for assembling teams of actively engaged employees. The CEO, board of directors, shareholders, customers and your fellow employees will appreciate your collaborative effort and focus on a critical element necessary to achieve sustainable and long-term business success.

A Seattle Times front page headline on September 1, 2013 reads, “Bosses’ challenge: Keep top workers from leaving.” The byline reads, “With the local jobless rate now below 5 percent, employers are offering better pay and perks like free yoga sessions to get and keep key employees.” I believe that is barely scratching the surface of what is needed.

Give Forte Human Resources a call to help you strategize and build your best employee team. 720-497-0200

 

Republication permission: Earl Bell, Island Crest Consulting LLC. www.earlbell.com
© Copyright 2013-2017. All rights reserved

Actively Engaged Employees Transform Companies – part 1

This month we hear from Earl Bell, Island Crest Consulting LLC, on strategies to build your employee team to achieve the best results, both for your employees and for your organization…

Assembling a team of actively engaged employees is mandatory if you want to consistently Win in the Game of Business. Key to accomplishing this objective is to proactively retain top employees while shedding actively disengaged employees. If this makes sense, what is your plan for building a super-team at work this year?

Before getting started, below are a couple of ideas to consider:

  1. Studies have shown that the cost of replacing an actively engaged employee is at least 1.5X his or her base compensation.
  2. The cost of retaining an actively disengaged employee is probably a much larger number, when taking into consideration the recurring impact of lost revenue and profits from damaged customer relationships along with dysfunction in the workplace resulting from keeping such an employee on the payroll while he or she goes about wreaking havoc like a tornado throughout the office.

To Be Continued…

Give Forte Human Resources a call to help you strategize and build your best employee team. 720-497-0200

 

Republication permission: Earl Bell, Island Crest Consulting LLC. www.earlbell.com
© Copyright 2013-2017. All rights reserved

Mergers and Acquisitions from the Employee’s Perspective – part 2

… continued from

Mergers and Acquisitions from the Employee’s Perspective – part 1

The “what about me” question is always the number one question. Under stress this is what people are concerned about. The sooner you can answer these questions, the better:

  • Will my job function or title change?
  • Will there be layoffs?
  • Who will I report to?
  • Who is paying my paycheck?
  • Who do I go to with questions?
  • I already have time off approved. Will it be honored? Will I be paid for it?
  • Will my pay structure stay the same? What about my current bonus and commission structure?
  • Will my work hours stay the same?
  • Will my benefits change?
  • Will my 401(k) change? Will there be matching funds for the 401(k) contributions?
  • Will my paid time off accruals (PTO)/vacation/sick time remain the same?
  • Why are we acquiring/merging with ______?
  • How do our customers benefit?
  • Should we keep moving forward on current commitments? Or are we pausing?
  • How should I communicate this change to our vendors and customers?
  • Who are their leaders?
  • Are we moving?

Every business owner should take seriously the impact to employees of any merger or acquisition. The amount of stress on an individual level should not be underestimated.

HR people can help. Call us if we can be of assistance. 720-497-0200

Mergers and Acquisitions from the Employee’s Perspective – part 1

What do you get when the economy is good, interest rates are low, and a whole bunch of baby boomer business owners are retiring? You guessed it. You get a lot of Mergers and Acquisitions. We have had three clients go through this process in just the last couple of months.

Of course, this is the natural evolution of small business and if done correctly, is a very good thing. Succession planning is the responsibility of every good business owner.

Because of the nature of these transactions, they are almost always conducted confidentially and out of sight from employees until they are finalized. When finally announced, the transaction can appear rushed and somewhat chaotic. This can cause real stress on the workforce.

Every business owner should take seriously the impact to employees of any merger or acquisition. The amount of stress on an individual level should not be underestimated. Next time, we’ll look at some of the questions that employees may have during a mergers and acquisitions.

HR people can help. Call us if we can be of assistance. 720-497-0200

HR Holiday Myth Busters (Part 2)

Here are a few more fun and entertaining questions that we have heard during the holiday season:

Q. How much holiday pay should a part-time employee receive?
A. Holiday pay for part-time employees is not required (but if you do, paying the normally scheduled hours or a proration based on number of hours typically worked are options.)

Q. Can we require employees to complete an introductory period before becoming eligible for holiday pay?
A. Yes. A well written employee handbook would normally address issues like this.  However, you would not refer to this as an “introductory” or “trial” period. 

Q. Are Christmas bonuses from the company taxable?
A. The IRS is more like Scrooge than Santa Claus. Yes, bonuses are considered compensation and taxed just like regular income. Sorry!

Q. If an employee “volunteers” to stay late to decorate the office or buy the office gifts on his own time, do I have to pay him for that time?
A. If the employee is a non-exempt employee, he must be paid for all hours worked, and yes, this would include time spent decorating the office and buying “office” gifts.

Q. We have mandatory religious activities such as prayer and singing “Silent Night” at the Christmas party. Is this ok?
A. Mixing religion and work can get complicated. Most HR people would advise using extreme caution particularly when an employer makes participation “mandatory.” Holiday lights, gift exchanges, parties, even wishing people “Merry Christmas” are all good. Forcing people to pray or sing a particular song is probably crossing a line that most HR people find troublesome.

Q. We have a Christmas tree and a Nativity scene in our office lobby. Isn’t this prohibited like it is in the public schools?
A. No, public schools are just that – “Public”. A private enterprise is not regulated by the rules regarding the separation of church and state.

Like many things in HR, simple questions often require complex answers. The rules dealing with pay can be confusing. If in doubt, ask an experienced HR person or your employment attorney.

If you need further assistance on these any other Human Resource issues, call on Forté Human Resources.

HR Holiday Myth Busters (Part 1)

An “oldie but a goodie” for this time of year—
here are a few fun and entertaining questions that we have heard during the holiday season:

Q. My employer is open for business on every holiday, some of which I have to work. Isn’t this against the law?
A. Many businesses are open during the holidays. It is not against the law.

Q. As an employer do we have to provide paid holidays?
A. No, employers are not required to provide paid holidays. Many employers do, but it is considered a benefit.

Q. Can we require employees to work on holidays?
A. Yes, employers can require employees to work on a holiday.

Q. Do we owe non-exempt employees overtime if they work on a holiday?
A. Employers must pay non-exempt employees for all hours worked, but the pay does not have to be at an overtime rate – unless the actual work hours are in excess of 40 in the workweek. (Note: some states treat overtime requirements differently.)

Q. If an employee works 40 hours in a week and then takes a paid holiday, do we owe him overtime?
A. The law requires that employers pay for actual hours worked. Paid holidays are not considered actual hours worked, so they can be paid at straight time rates. Conceivably the employee could be paid for 48 hours of straight time. Some company policies may treat these holiday hours differently, but this would be considered an employee benefit.

Q. What if an employee is on FMLA, PTO, Sick, Vacation or Personal leave when a holiday occurs? Should she receive holiday pay?
A. There is no law that requires holiday pay while someone is on a leave of absence. Some company policies might address this issue differently.

Q. How do we handle holiday pay for non-exempt employees who work a compressed workweek – working four days a week, ten hours a day?
A. This would be set by company policy. For example, some employers would pay the employee only if the holiday occurred on a day that the employee would normally work.  The alternative Work Schedule Agreement will dictate how the employer handles this.

To Be Continued… More Holiday Myth Busters coming.

If you need further assistance on this or any other Human Resource issue, call on Forté Human Resources.

The Changing Role of Employee Benefits – part 1

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., a national insurance broker, recently hosted a seminar titled Innovation in Total Rewards. The seminar was very well done and showcased what top performing employers provide as benefits to their employees.

In the room were Human Resource Managers each trying to better understand the needs and desires of today’s work force. As you might imagine, the reaction to the presentation was mixed. Some HR Managers are looking for the competitive edge asking “What is the latest and greatest new benefit that I can provide to recruit and retain my workforce?” Others sat in bewilderment asking “How am I possibly going to afford these new and expensive benefits – much less have the time to administer them?” Still others simply noted how far we have come from the day where simply providing a regular paycheck and a week of vacation was pretty good.

The term “Total Rewards” refers to the idea that when we look at an employee’s compensation we need to look well beyond the basic paycheck. Total Compensation includes all cash and non-cash benefits. This may include salary, bonus, stock, stock options, health benefits, retirement benefits, wellness programs, EAP, life and disability insurance and paid time off. The list however goes on and can be extremely creative with such things as free gourmet meals, onsite massage, gym memberships, car washes, onsite yoga, oil changes, concierge services, pet care, day care, loaner automobiles, concert tickets, sabbaticals, clothing allowance, education and tuition benefits, financial planning, transportation and parking reimbursement.

What seems most remarkable is how far this has all progressed. There has been a significant evolution in the role of the workplace in American life. Employees are expecting, and employers are providing, services that would be unimaginable to our grandparents. This workplace cultural evolution is similar to what our schools have been experiencing for years. The days have long since passed when schools limited their activities to classroom learning. Today’s schools provide a whole host of other services including breakfast and lunch, health and social services, before and after school childcare. Today’s families are complex, and teachers often comment that they are part social worker as well as teacher. Children and families in general are looking for more from their local school.

Like the classroom, the workplace has certainly been redefined in today’s society. Students and workers have learned to see the school and the workplace as something beyond places to learn and work.

HR Managers and CEOs, like teachers and school leaders, must adapt to this new reality. Employees see the workplace as an extension of their personal lives, more than just a place of work. HR undoubtedly finds itself taking a much bigger role in helping the organization meet the broad expectations of employees.

If you need further assistance on this or any other Human Resource issue, call on Forté Human Resources.

Key Steps of an Effective Workplace Investigation – part 2

…continued from

Key Steps of an Effective Workplace Investigation – part 1

Key Steps of a Workplace Investigation

5. Conduct Interviews and Examine Documents and Evidence.

Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Remember the issues you identified and stay focused on those items. Note any additional issues that arise and consult with management whether those issues should be added to the investigation or will be handled in a different way or by different people.

6. Document Your Work.

You don’t get credit for the homework you don’t turn in. By the same token, an investigation loses much of its value if the employer does not have a tool to remember the steps it took, the information learned and the findings reached. The level of formality in a summary of the investigation will vary with the employer’s management style, urgency and budget, complexity of the allegations, sensitivity of information at issue and other factors. It may be as simple as a short email or result in a lengthy typed report, but some sort of record of the investigation should be preserved.

7. Separate the Investigation from the Response.

In some cases, the same individuals will investigate as decide whether and how to respond to an employee complaint. Even when the same person or group serves these dual roles, separate the steps wherever possible so that the decision is based on fact rather than prejudgment and the investigation retains its impartiality.

8. Acknowledge and Respect Emotions.

Remember that this is an unusual and stressful event for everyone involved in a workplace investigation, from the employee with the complaint to the accused person to the coworkers who worry about the repercussions for them. Throughout the process, treat everyone with sensitivity, which can take many forms: timing interviews to avoid overlap with work deadlines; providing updates on your progress or anticipated completion when possible; conducting interviews in a discreet location. Showing consideration for people’s fears goes a long way toward earning buy-in and confidence in the process.

Contact Forté Human Resources to find out how we can help.

Key Steps of an Effective Workplace Investigation – part 1

The EEOC’s Guidance on Vicarious Liability for Unlawful Harassment by Supervisors sets three high-level standards by which investigations will be measured: investigations should be prompt, impartial and thorough. Consider those standards and the following guidelines whenever you are faced with a new employee complaint.

Key Steps of a Workplace Investigation

1. Consider Interim Measures.

Depending on the severity of the allegations and the particular circumstances of the workplace and the individuals involved, are there steps you should take to prevent continuation of the alleged conduct while you investigate and determine how to respond? For example, could one employee be moved to a different shift or a different work station? Should one employee be placed on an administrative leave? Is a report to law enforcement or a referral to your EAP or a mental health provider appropriate? Is there any evidence that must be collected immediately to prevent loss or destruction, such as security recordings or text messages?

2. Select an Investigator.

Sometimes a company’s internal Human Resources department can conduct the investigation and is well situated to do so because of easy access to witnesses and documents and background knowledge to serve as context. On other occasions, the senior level of the individuals involved, severity of allegations, potential or actual litigation threats, or the need for specialized skills will make it more appropriate to select an outside investigator who will infuse the investigation with neutrality and offer the option of protecting the investigation with attorney-client privilege.

3. Identify the Issues.

Don’t let a relatively small employee complaint become the Investigation from the Black Lagoon! Too often, investigations grow in size and scope beyond what is needed to be “thorough.” The content and depth of the investigation will vary depending on the allegations. Sometimes, the “investigation” will be no more than one or two informal conversations. Keep it in perspective.

4. Identify Witnesses, Documents and Other Evidence.

The investigation may evolve as you learn new information, but at the outset, identify the sources — people, documents and things — that will provide information relevant to the inquiry, and plan a logical order to gather the information.

To be continued…

Workplace Investigations 101

Your Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination policy must be working, because an employee has notified Human Resources about his belief that a colleague is creating a hostile work environment for another employee . . . Now what?

When the alleged offender is a coworker, as opposed to a manager who has the power to take or recommend tangible actions affecting the employee, investigating and responding appropriately to the complaint can provide an employer a complete defense to any claims of discrimination. A prompt investigation will also build employee morale by reinforcing your organization’s commitment to equal employment opportunity.

What are the features of an effective investigation? The EEOC’s Guidance on Vicarious Liability for Unlawful Harassment by Supervisors sets three high-level standards by which investigations will be measured: investigations should be prompt, impartial and thorough. Consider those standards and the following guidelines whenever you are faced with a new employee complaint. See the guidelines for performing effective workplace investigations