A New Decade, A New Year!

A New Decade, A New Year!

A new decade! What an opportunity to approach goals and intentions with a fresh outlook. A clean slate, a chance to really focus on making changes in countless facets of our lives. When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, we all start out with genuinely good intentions, but how many New Year’s resolutions have already faded away, even in the first week of the new year?

One of the primary reasons we are inclined to set new goals and start the year fresh in the first place is because we want to change a bad habit, start a new habit, or simply want to do something different. The majority of us set personal goals for improvement around this time of year, but how can you be your very best self in the workplace? What changes do you want to make to start this new decade off on the right foot?

When setting personal resolutions for yourself, consider applying one (or more) of these resolutions towards your professional goals for 2020:

  • Stagnation– It happens to be best of us. There are times when we get bored, but when it extends to a pattern of being content to be bored, that is an issue. If you are uninspired and unmotivated to perform, make it a point to challenge yourself to try new things, learn new tasks, and do what you can to keep busy and out of the slump that results in a lack of productivity.
  • Gossiping and Complaining – Enough is enough. Whining about small and insignificant things, engaging in office drama, and participating in talking behind someone’s back is not only unprofessional, but incredibly unproductive. Make it a resolution to not partake in office gossip and be the bigger person, simply walk away from toxic conversations whether that be gossiping about a fellow coworker or complaining about simple policy changes. Keep the negativity at bay.
  • Being Critical of Others – The same concept that applies to office gossip applies to criticizing others. As a manager, constructive criticism is sometimes necessary, but make it a point to keep unnecessary criticism to a minimum. If you are not a supervisor, it really isn’t your place to criticize the work of others. Having constructive conversations with colleagues is one thing; picking on and pointing out mistakes just for the sake of making yourself feel better is a bad workplace habit that we should all strive to break or avoid.
  • Poor Time Management – It is a habit that is far too easy to fall into. Mindlessly scrolling down social media news feeds when there is a lull in the work day. Procrastinating on a work project that isn’t “that” time sensitive. Focus on making the most out of every minute. When you really strive to find balance in your work duties, you’ll find that you won’t reach a point of burn out as a result of pushing everything off to the last minute, at which point you’re overwhelmed and overworked.

Take advantage of this fresh start to the new year, this new decade, and say goodbye to bad habits that may be hindering your chances at success and happiness in the workplace. Good workplace habits ensure productivity and can improve your professional image and reputation. Remember, you can develop good workplace routines at any time, not just at the start of new decade, a new year, a new week, or a new month. Always strive to do better, and be better.

November – The Month for Gratitude

November – The Month for Gratitude

Ahh November! That special month out of the year when we reflect on those people and things we are most grateful for. A time for being present and mindful, and appreciating the good. Mixing things up a bit from our regular HR-themed blog posts, I would like to take a moment to reflect on something I am personally thankful for: my amazing team at HRCentral.

For over 8 years I have been fortunate to call HRCentral my home away from home, all thanks to our fearless leader, David Noland. CEO of our company for nearly a decade, David is the epitome of what it means to be a great manager. Especially in the human resources field, we hear many “worst case scenarios” of examples of bad management, and provide extensive trainings on how to be a good manager and what not to do. David certainly practices what he preaches!

His unyielding trust, encouragement of my professional development, providing fair and constructive feedback, and always being there when I need any assistance has helped me grow in my knowledge and confidence in this position and field. I can truly say I would not be where I am today without his support and guidance, and I am so thankful that I can call David not only my leader, but my friend.

As we continue this month, lets all take the time to reflect on what we are personally thankful for, both in our personal and professional lives. Follow along in our next post as we discuss how to appropriately show your appreciation and gratitude in the workplace, whether you’re a manager or an employee, during this special time of the year.

Christina Varga, PHR
VP HR Specialist – HRCentral Corporation

2020 – The Big Change

2020 – The Big Change

As always, at the end of each year it is important to take a look at what the upcoming year will hold with regards to changes to employment and labor law, particularly those that will directly affect your organization and your employees. In 2020, there are a number of state and federal changes that will be taking place that the many employers will be impacted by.

The biggest change that will hit employers in virtually any industry or location, and will apply regardless of the size of the organization, is the long-awaited update to the federal exempt salary threshold for exempt employees. After years of debate on the topic, the Department of Labor released their final ruling on September 24, 2019, announcing an increase to the salary-level thresholds for white-collar exemptions.

Here are some things you need to know about this change:

  • Takes effect on January 1, 2020.
  • The salary threshold for professional, administrative, and executive exempts will raise from $455 per week ($23,660 annually) to $684 per week ($35,568 annually).
  • Also applies to those who fall under the “computer employee” exemption.
  • The DOL has elected to permit employers to use incentive bonuses, commissions, and non-discretionary bonuses to satisfy up to 10% of the salary threshold for these exemptions.
  • The threshold for highly compensated employees has been raised from $100,000 to $107,432 annually.
  • The duties test has remained the same from the requirements in recent years.

Employers are strongly encouraged to review the FLSA classifications of their employees prior to the end of the year and should be prepared to make any necessary changes to job descriptions, exempt classifications, and salaries as needed to ensure compliance with the new ruling.

HRCentral will contact our affected clients and colleagues to assist with any changes necessary for a smooth transition, in addition to discussing changes related to any state-specific updates that will hit at the start of the new year (e.g., changes to family and medical leaves, independent contractor statuses, and minimum wage increases).

Contact HRCentral today if you have any questions regarding this new rule, or if you need any assistance updating your policies or procedures accordingly for compliance, by email at office@hrcentral.com or by phone at 800.574.3282.

End of Year Review

End of Year Review

Even though we have roughly two and a half months left of 2019, adequately preparing for changes that are bound to hit your organization in advance can save you a lot of hassle as the end of the year starts to creep up on us. As we all work on tying up lose ends and prepare to close the door on 2019, it is time to look ahead to a new year (a new decade!) and determine what we can do to ensure that 2020 begins in the most efficient and productive manner possible:

  • Review Internal Policies and Procedures – Both HR and Management can participate in this annual review of what policies are outdated and need a refresh, and what procedures need some tweaking to match the culture and processes of the organization. Take stock of the last year and determine what worked and what didn’t, and plan to collaborate on how to effectively renew and implement these processes.
  • Review HR-Related Documents and Systems – Predominantly the role of HR, similarly to how you would review internal policies and procedures, take a look at forms and documents and HR systems (e.g. leave administration and tracking, EEO tracking and reporting, vacation scheduling, etc.) and see what tweaks can be made to ensure everything is working as seamlessly and proficiently as possibly, both for the employee and for HR and management on the back end.
  • Review Operational Functions – A task that generally requires the buy in from management and possibly from your employees (such as receiving feedback from a focus group), review operational functions and performance to determine what, if anything, needs to be modified to make certain your clients and customers receive the best service possible, and that everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.
  • Prepare for Goal Setting – As we complete our goals from the past year, take a look ahead and honestly think about what you want to accomplish in 2020. With a fresh start and a chance to work with a clean slate, be proactive in your goal setting preparation and being brainstorming your personal and professional objectives and what you need to do to get there.

In addition to all of these preemptive approaches to the new year, there are a number of employment and labor law changes that will hit at the federal and state level. Follow along in our next post as we address some of these changes (including the long overdue update to the exempt salary threshold) and provide you with tips on a smooth transition and implementation process.

Contact us today for assistance in any of these categories. HRCentral specializes in helping organizations streamline and update processes, policies, and procedures to ensure maximum benefit to the employee and employer.

Motivational Techniques that Work!

Motivational Techniques that Work!

Last week we discussed some of the various ways to help keep your employees motivated and engaged. We often work with employees who have personalities very different from our own, or have to deal with those who need a little extra push in the right direction when it comes to motivation.

As a manager it is imperative to learn what makes these employees tick to determine what encourages them to do a good job. Here are some factors that may be the key in making your unmotivated employees encouraged and engaged.

Attainment

Some employees are goal-oriented and enjoy challenges that will sharpen their skills. You can often load these people with several short and long-term goals simultaneously. Motivate them by constantly introducing new tasks that build upon the ones they are currently working on.

Power

These employees want influence and control, need to feel important, and like being in the spotlight.  They express an interest in leadership roles and are highly motivated by special privileges or perks. Treat these employees like in-house experts and frequently ask them for advice (within reason). They will instantly be motivated because they savor the chance to offer information.

Belonging

Easily motivated, this group wants to feel a sense of camaraderie. Allow them to build rapport with their coworkers. Create meetings where they can collaborate and share ideas, rather than just sit and listen to a lecture. If you satisfy their need for affiliation, they will give you a solid effort.

Independence

If you attempt to manage an employee who seeks autonomy and strongly values their independence too closely, you’ll kill their desire to excel. The best way to connect with what motivates these freedom seekers is to give them overriding goals and let them find the best way to get the results.

Respect

Some employees simply want a little respect. If you listen to them, they’ll feel more motivated.  You need to give them full attention while listening, or they will feel disrespected. They love to hear praise and feedback on their performance and have a deep need for esteem. Give it to them and they will be motivated.

Equity

Everyone likes a fair, unbiased boss, but some individuals see the world as either black or white. They weigh and measure everything to make sure everyone is treated the same. They will pick up on inconsistencies and decisions that appear to vary from previous occasions. Approach them as if you were a lawyer and give them objective evidence to prove that you are fair and equitable.

Always keep in mind that each employee is a unique individual and what may work for one person won’t necessarily work for the other. Be observant and learn what makes them tick. Some employees are motivated by power and praise, another may just want some respect and to have their voice heard. Take the time to learn what you can do to help each employee succeed and reap the rewards of more engaged, productive, and an overall happier team.