Author Archives: Rick Dacri

About Rick Dacri

Rick Dacri is one of those rare individuals who can take difficult employee issues, sort through their complexities, and find solutions for employers that make sense. Dacri brings more than 25 years of experience in senior management, organizational development, and human resources, all in one package. He has consulted to a wide variety of industries, large and small, always brings to the table a practical approach, sound advice, and a sense of humor. Dacri is the president and founder of Dacri & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in helping business owners and managers improve the performance and productivity of their organization and workforce. Much of Rick’s success can be attributed to his ability to work with managers to get to the heart of their problems and provide them practical solutions with simple, straightforward steps for implementation. Rick is a recognized national speaker, speaking at conferences on leadership, organizational change and human resources. He is a prolific writer, authoring the book Uncomplicating Management and over 100 articles for a number of business publications. He is also a regular contributor to several industry associations’ journals and newsletters. He has been an adjunct professor at Clark University, Assumption College and Fitchburg State College, where he has taught courses in management, organizational behavior, and human resource management. Rick serves on a number of boards and has served as President of the Human Resource Association of Southern Maine, as the Massachusetts State Director for the Society for Human Resource Management as well as the President of the Human Resource Association of Central Massachusetts. Rick holds a MBA from Clark University and a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude from Assumption College. He lives on the coast of Maine where the sites, sounds and smells of the ocean give him inspiration and strength.

Operating Your Business Without an HR Department

(Post written by Rick Dacri, April 10, 2014)

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that many companies are choosing to operate their business without a human resource department. In 2007, in a published article I wrote, I discussed how many organizations I have worked with have successfully run their business without an HR pro on staff. I pointed out, that to do it well, while avoiding potential pitfalls, managers should do the following:

  1. Delegate HR responsibilities to their managers, after training them first
  2. Develop systems that promote consistency
  3. Know the law
  4. Use outside experts to handle thorny workplaces issues
  5. Address workforce issues immediately

Properly addressing compliance and workforce issues, while at the same time increasing productivity and employee performance, are the critical challenges facing many executives. With outside, professional expertise, many companies can operate well without an HR department.

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Body Odor: It’s a Problem Supervisors Must Address

This question came in from one of my HR HelpLine clients.

Question: I have a stellar employee with zero performance issues. My question is, how do I tactfully address her body odor? This is a recent thing and has never been a problem for her before? This is definitely not performance related, so I was just looking for some suggestions. She is fantastic and I don’t want to offend her…Help!!

Advice: This is always a problem that must be handled very tactfully. As the manager, it’s reasonable for you to set clear expectations for hygiene at work and to enforce those standards when people are falling short of them. You need to speak with her and this is going to be an awkward conversation. There’s no way around that. This is a business issue.

The best thing you can do is to simply be honest, direct, and compassionate. Meet privately with her. Say something like, “I want to mention something and I hope I don’t offend or embarrass you. You’ve had a noticeable odor lately. It has never been a problem in the past. This is the kind of thing that people often don’t realize about themselves, so I wanted to bring it to your attention and ask you to see what you can do about it.”

Be clear that it’s a problem and ask her to take care of it. If she doesn’t and you continue to notice the problem, then you would need to talk to her again and let her know that she’s expected to come to work showered and that you’re concerned that the problem has continued after your earlier conversation. But in most cases, a one-time conversation is going to take care of the problem and you won’t need to get into consequences or warnings.

This will be a tough task for you, but you can handle. Sensitivity is the key. She is likely to thank you.

If you would like to learn more about Dacri’s HR HelpLine service, where you can get all your workforce questions answered, click HR HelpLine.

Other posts you may want to read:


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4 Common & Expensive Wage & Hour Violations

images(This post was written by Rick Dacri, April 1, 2014)

McDonald’s is being investigated by state and federal authorities for alleged wage and hour violations. Specifically, allegations include forcing workers to clock out during times when the restaurants are slow, preventing workers from taking breaks, and failing to pay overtime. This case comes after similar claims were alleged against WalMart.

Big companies become big targets and generate front-page headlines. Yet, these practices are not confided to only these firms. All employers should be monitoring their pay practices, particularly those of supervisors, to minimize infractions and the resulting penalties. Too often I hear of budget conscious supervisors who implement operating practices, particularly “no overtime rules,” without fully understanding that hourly paid, nonexempt workers must be paid for all hours worked.

Here a 4 frequent wage and hour errors:

  1. Failing to pay for all time spent working. Hourly, non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked. This includes their actual time working, short rest breaks (not the 30 minute unpaid lunch breaks mandated under most state laws); time spent travelling on business (there are extensive rules around this); on-call time (when the employee is required to remain on company premises, or so close he or she cannot use the time effectively for his or her own purposes); and training time (unless the training is outside normal hours, is voluntary, is not job related, and no other work is performed). In addition, time spent running a quick errand on the way to or from work must be compensated and time spent checking and responding to email while at home, is also compensable.
  2. Permitting “off the clock” work. Employers are not permitted to ask or require a non-exempt employee to work “off the clock.” If an employee starts early or stays late, the time must be paid, even if an employee works overtime without prior authorization.
  3. Failing to pay for compensable breaks. As I pointed out above, you don’t have to pay workers for meal breaks that are at least 30 minutes long, but they must be completely relieved from work. If an employee is called back early, they must be paid. Also, some time and attendance systems automatically deduct time for meal breaks, even when employees perform duties. Finally, rest breaks of 5-20 minutes are compensable.
  4. Improperly computing overtime. Overtime is calculated at 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. The rate of pay includes shift differentials, nondiscretionary bonuses, commissions, on-call pay and other incentive payments.

There are many potential wage and hour errors, too numerous to list here. The regulations are complicated and the penalties are steep. Train your manager on the state and federal requirements. Regularly review all your pay practices.

And if you have questions or need some help, give me a call on the HR HELPLINE.

If this post was helpful, you may want to read these other posts:

  1. Off the Clock Work: Must I Pay?
  2. FLSA: Changes in law Means Employers Pay More
  3. Exempt Employees: Can You Dock Pay For Illness?


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Filed under Compensation, Compliance

New Offer: Supervisory Development Program

Dacri Book Logo 012610

Earlier this year I introduced the Accelerated Supervisory Development Program. Eleven individuals signed up and successfully completed it. Since then I have been asked when I was going to offer the program again. Well, mark your calendars. A second program is scheduled to begin on April 23, 2014.

This training program is specifically designed for small companies with only a few managers or companies that want to quickly provide training for a single manager or two. I call it

 Rick Dacri’s Uncomplicating Management

Accelerated Supervisory Development Program.


Here’s what some of the “graduates” said about this recent program:

Great class. Rick cleared up issues on employee problems.”

Chris Davidson, Supervisor, Paras Electric

“Just the chapter/lesson on legal issues of hiring and terminations and drug testing do’s and don’ts are worth its weight to the average employer who doesn’t deal with this on a regular basis. Lots of info packed into a very painless time frame.”

Mark Dufoe, Operations Manager, Kennebunk Light & Power District

In five short weeks, you or your supervisors will:

  • Enhance their skills as a manager
  • Increase their ability to motivate and engage their people to deliver outstanding results
  • Know how to attract, hire and retain exceptional talent
  • Delegate and make better decisions
  • Inspire, coach and mentor their people, creating enthusiasm, clarity and increased effectiveness
  • Listen and communicate better, resulting in open and honest dialogue
  • Confront problem employees, resolve tough issues, including attitude, performance and behavior
  • Provide honest feedback, praise and recognition
  • Understand and operate within the law, without fear of lawsuits

The program includes 5 regularly scheduled training sessions, one-on-one time with me, training materials, my book, and more.Uncomplicating Management

Interested? Click here and read all about it and register. With a starting date of April 23, this program is the perfect way to develop the skills and effectiveness of your management team!

To register, click Accelerated Online Supervisory Development Program

If you have questions, call Rick Dacri or email at


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Filed under careers, Management, training

Help Wanted Ad: General Manager, Public Power

help-wantedDacri & Associates, LLC has been exclusively retained by Littleton Electric Light & Water Departments (LELWD) to conduct a confidential search for a new General Manager/CEO. If you know of any qualified individuals who may be interested in the position, please refer them to me and feel free to forward this post.


Littleton (MA) Electric Light & Water Departments

Dacri & Associates, LLC has been exclusively retained by Littleton Electric Light & Water Departments (LELWD) to conduct a confidential search for a new General Manager/CEO. 

This search will replace the current General Manager who is retiring.

This is a unique opportunity for an experienced business oriented General Manager.  The right individual will be responsible for all aspects of leading this 38 employee department, serving over 6,500 residential and commercial customers in two communities, with electrical revenues in excess of $30 million and water revenues in excess of $1 million. To qualify, you must have strong financial, operational and management skills; understanding of public utilities; and the ability to work effectively and with transparency with town government, citizen groups, customers and employees.

This is a great moment for the career-minded manager who has a passion for leading. You will be responsible for developing and presenting an annual and capital budget, recommending utility rates, providing reliable delivery of electric power and water, ensuring a diversified energy portfolio including renewable energy sources, and developing short and long-term strategic plans. Operational oversight over all aspects of the business includes union negotiations, monitoring the power supply market and executing power supply purchases. Municipal experience is a critical. A Bachelors degree is required and a Masters degree is preferred.

Utilities today face many challenges. The perfect candidate will be experienced in working with regulatory agencies; addressing environmental issues; and formulating creative solutions, while maintaining a high level of service and low rates.

The next General Manager will enjoy the opportunity to work in an attractive community, with a supportive Board of Commissioners and town government as well as an experienced and engaged workforce. LELWD is a recognized leader in both the water and electric industries and remains focused on maintaining this position.

Littleton offers a very attractive salary and a comprehensive benefit package along with an opportunity to grow your career in a vibrant community. To learn more about this position, call Rick Dacri, Dacri & Associates Executive Search, at 207-967-0837 or send a resume and salary history, in confidence, to

LELWD is an Equal Opportunity Employer 

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Filed under careers, Help Wanted, Recruitment

FLSA: Change in Law Means Employers Pay More


(This post was written by Rick Dacri, March 15, 2014)

President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Labor to update the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require employers to pay more of their salaried employees overtime.  As you may know, under FLSA, employers must pay non-exempt employees (hourly) overtime pay at a rate of one and a half their regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40.  Exempt workers (usually salaried) are “exempt” from the overtime pay requirements as long as the individuals are employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales force capacity.  To qualify for this exemption, the employee must be paid at least $455 per week or $23,660 per year and meet certain other requirements under the FLSA.  

The President wants to significantly raise this pay threshold, making many exempt workers non-exempt and requiring employers to now pay them overtime.


While it is estimated that it will take the Department of Labor at least a year to finalize any changes, it is a good idea to begin reviewing all your exempt positions now. Positions should be “tested” to ensure they meet the current means test (paid at least $455 per week) and qualify under the duties test. This latter test is complicated, but that should not deter you. The penalties for misclassifications are significant.


If you need some assistance in testing your exempt positions, give me a call at 207-967-0837 or email me at


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Filed under Compliance

NFL: “Abusive and Unprofessional Behavior”

Richie Incognito & Jonathan Martin

Richie Incognito & Jonathan Martin

(This post was written by Rick Dacri and originally distribute in the Dacri Report on March 1, 2014)

Americans love football. I am not sure if it is our national pastime, many think its baseball, but Sundays, it seems, are reserved for church and football. We revere our teams and players.

Football has been dominating the news and not in a good way. The NFL came out with its long awaited report on the Miami Dolphins. They found that Miami player Richie Incognito and two other players engaged in a pattern of “abusive, unprofessional behavior”-bullying against player Jonathan Martin, another player and a trainer. Martin, an up and coming 2nd year player quit the team because he could no longer tolerate the taunts.

The behavior in the Dolphin locker room, according to the NFL report, included racial abuse directed toward Martin, who is African-American; vulgar remarks about his mother and sisterhomophobic taunts; and ethnic remarks against a Japan-born trainer. What makes this even more outrageous is the Dolphin’s leadership claiming they were unaware of any of this. Hard to believe.

Michael Sam was an All American defensive lineman from Missouri and Continue reading

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Filed under Compliance, Employee Relations, Leadership

First Job Interview & Helicopter Parents

photo posted on post-gazette.comThis post was written by a Dacri & Associates client and posted on March 13, 2014

I received this email below from one of my clients. She was obviously frustrated. I thought her message was valuable and asked if I could post it. She reluctantly agreed, but only if I did not reveal her name or company (a family of restaurants).  What do you think about what she has to say? Let us know in the comment section.

“You need to write something…blog it….shout it from the roof tops!  PARENTS….I know you love your children and want to help them…BUT PLEEEEEZ!!!!!!!  Teach them how to apply for a job….ALONE.  DO NOT CALL FOR THEM.  DO NOT ACCOMPANY THEM IN TO THE BUSINESS and ask for the application for them….while they stand timidly behind you.  Role play with them at home.  Practice filling out applications…you can find templates on the internet!  If you need to drive them to apply…WAIT IN THE CAR.

Please parents, do your children this favor and teach them to be independent!!  I personally would rather see someone applying for their first job be a bit nervous but independently trying, than to have a parent come in and do all the talking.  I definitely would not hire anyone who applies in this manner either!”


Filed under How to, Management, Recruitment

Bench Strength: 5 Steps to Building a Strong Bench


This article, written by Rick Dacri, was originally published in the York County Coast Star)

There is nothing more energizing to a company than growth. Increased sales, positive cash flow, an expanding customer base, outpacing your completion. It is very exhilarating for executives and employees.

But with this excitement comes challenges. Growing from a small company to a large one requires outstanding talent. Talent that can adapt, change, thrive and deliver. Growth brings newness, unpredictability, ambiguity, and often stress. Having equipment, capacity, sales and cash will only prove helpful if a strong team is ready and able to step up. In sports it is called bench strength.

Red Sox manager John Farrell enjoyed the upper hand over the St. Louis Cardinals in last year’s World Series. Farrell had one of baseball’s most productive benches. Being able to look down the bench, seeing the right player to send out on the field at a critical time in the game proved to be a significant advantage, propelling the Sox to the championship.

I recently spoke to a business owner who was looking at doubling his business in the next two to three years, expanding his facility, and opening his business to some new, promising markets. Yet, his excitement was tempered by the sober reality that his bench strength was weak—strong enough for today, but lacking in capability for what loomed ahead.

So what steps should an organization take to build bench strength?

  1. Know What You’ve Got: Evaluate your current staff. Their ability and willingness to change, adapt, and learn are essential traits. Ongoing assessment of your employees will allow you to know your current capacity and determine what your future needs will be. At the same time, through training and coaching, you can begin to raise skill and performance levels. All high performers should have a development plan in place to ensure future readiness. While growing your staff is a critical first step, sometimes individuals who performed in the past will be unable to help you in the future. Bench strength means having high potentials that are ready to step into new roles. Difficult decisions must be made. Continue reading

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Filed under Leadership

Medical Marijuana: Hospitality Issues

Posted by Rick Dacri, February 19, 2014

This question came in from one of our HR HelpLine clients in Maine.

Question: What accommodation, if any, do we need to make for guests staying in our hotels with a prescription for medical marijuana? All of the rooms in our hotels are non-smoking. But the last thing we want is someone smoking pot in a public area- on a patio or a front porch.  What are your thoughts?

Expert Advice: This is a pretty complex question. Maine has developed rules governing the use of medical marijuana. Smoking medical marijuana in a public place is clearly prohibited under the guidelines.

I recommend you now make all your operations smoke free, indiscriminate of tobacco or marijuana. This would include your parking lots, outdoor patios and grounds. Since your hotels are all smoke free, be consistent in your enforcement of your new policy. Inform your guests and employees, in writing. You may also want to review your new policies with your legal counsel.

As the use of medical marijuana expands, expect to have your policies challenged. Train your staff on how you want your policy administered. There is a fine balance between compliance and good customer service.

If you would like to lean more aboutDacri’s HR HelpLine service, where you can get all your workforce questions answered, click HR HelpLine. I provide expert operational advice and since I’m not a not lawyer, it will never be filled with legalese.

If you would like to learn more about Medical Marijuana, you may want to read these posts:

  1. Medical Marijuana: Stoned At Work
  2. Employers Left in Daze Over Medical Marijuana
  3. Medical Marijuana Law in Massachusetts



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Filed under Compliance