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A New Approach to Service Awards

Many of us know that employee recognition and workplace culture have become critical components in retention, especially given the ongoing challenge of a tight labor market. To that end, perhaps you’ve designed a dynamic performance management and goal setting system for your employees. Or maybe you offer some great benefits for a flexible work/life balance. And we all know scheduling fun events – holiday parties, summer picnics, social outings – can go a long way to create a welcoming and positive workplace. Among all these efforts, though, sometimes employers lose sight of a long-standing piece of employee recognition: service awards. Length-of-service awards, also called achieve

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What is an employee’s regular rate of pay? Is it just what they make per hour of work?

Not exactly. An employee’s “regular rate of pay” is the amount used to calculate their overtime rate for a given time period. You might think of it as an average, of sorts. An employee’s regular rate is determined by adding up the amount paid for their work, as well as earnings from non-discretionary bonuses (such as those tied to performance or retention), then dividing that amount by the total hours worked.    For example, let’s say Anna earns $10/hour for inside sales work and $15/hour for bookkeeping work. This week, she worked 24 hours in inside sales and 20 hours as a bookkeeper. She also received $50 in commissions that are attributable to this workweek. H

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HR Tip of the Month

The importance of documenting performance problems as they occur cannot be overstated. Although this requires meeting with the employee and discussing the issue, which will almost certainly be uncomfortable, it’s your best defense to a wrongful termination claim should the employee feel litigious after termination. Too many employers rely on the concept of employment at-will to protect them, when the reach of this concept is actually quite limited. The problem is that if an employer has little to no documentation and relies on at-will employment—and the theory that legally no reason is required—the terminated employee, their attorney, and possibly a jury of their peers will fill the

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Four Keys to Improving Your Culture

In the previous articles of the series on workplace culture, we showed you how to identify and evaluate your culture by examining the rules that govern behavior, the traditions that facilitate interactions, and people you employ. We turn now to the final topic in this series: how to improve your culture. There’s no easy formula to fixing all cultural problems because each workplace is unique. The rules and traditions that lead one team to success might bring a different team to ruin. Some teams will thrive in a highly centralized environment, while others will reach new heights through delegated decision-making. Much depends on individual situations and circumstances. Nevertheless, succ

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How to Evaluate Your Culture (part 3 of 4)

This article is the third part of our series on workplace culture. In the first installment, we explained that every organization has a culture, and every culture has three components—the organization’s rules, traditions, and people. In the second article, we showed you how to identify the culture that you have so you’re able to assess whether it’s the culture that you want. Both articles are linked below. We turn now to the question of evaluating your culture. The specifics of a good culture vary from company to company, but there are a few general qualities of a good culture that you should aim for whatever your industry and mission. A good culture should be: Well-defined a

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We have an employee who is joining the Army Reserves. What are our responsibilities as their employer?

In short, your responsibilities are to not discriminate because of their service and to offer them their job back after military-related absences.  The rights of applicants and employees who serve in the uniformed military services are protected by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA). Under this act, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate in hiring, reemployment, retention, promotion, pay, or any benefit of employment due to a person’s military service or intent to apply for military service.  You should allow the employee to take unpaid leave to attend deployments, scheduled drills, and annual training. When the employee returns, they s

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How to Handle: Misconduct Allegations Against a Former Employee

An employee who recently quit made several allegations about the general manager, including an instance of sexual harassment. How should we respond to these complaints since the employee no longer works here? Even though the employee has left the organization, I recommend conducting an investigation into the allegations and taking disciplinary action against the alleged harasser if appropriate. Failing to look into these concerns can invite risk, especially if there are later complaints against the same individual. When an employee resigns, it's not uncommon for them to share an assortment of complaints on their way out the door. You should sift through and determine whether any of them

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Do you know what the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) means for your business?

Congress enacted the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in 1935 to protect the rights of employees and employers, to encourage collective bargaining, and to limit certain labor and management practices that can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses, and the U.S. economy. Although a good portion of the NLRA deals with unionization, Section 7 provides protections for all non-supervisory employees, even those not involved with a union. Some supervisors may even be protected by the Act, if they do not have sufficient authority and discretion. Specifically, Section 7 defines and protects concerted activity by employees. Generally, protected concerted activity takes place when employ

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Do I Have to Keep My OSHA 300 Logs Up-to-date During the Retention Period?

Employers must retain all OSHA Forms for Recording Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (300, 301, and 300A) for a period of five years following the end of the calendar year the records pertain to. OSHA also requires that employers update their stored 300 Logs during this five-year period if changes occur. Changes include newly discovered recordable injuries or illnesses and any changes that have occurred in the classification of previously recorded injuries and illnesses. If the description or outcome of a case changes, you should remove or strikethrough the original entry and enter the new information. There is no requirement to update the 301 or 300A, though we recommend that all recor

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Did You Know?

In order to be exempt from overtime, your managers need to do more than have “Manager” in their job title. In fact, the act of managing alone is not even enough. When classifying a manager as an exempt employee, you’re usually using what’s called the White Collar Executive Exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act. To use this classification correctly, you must ensure that your employee passes all three parts of the following duties test: Their primary duty is the management of the enterprise or a customarily recognized department or subdivision; and They customarily and regularly direct the work of two or more full-time employees or equivalent (e.g., two 40-hour per week

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