(A post by Rick Dacri, January 5, 2017)
Some days it feels like you just can’t win. Our 4 year old (puppy?) golden retriever, Bailey, woke us up with his usual pre-5 AM whimper, reminding us that his stomach and other urges needed to be met. Our cat, Maggie, also decided to join the choir. It was raining, so we passed on the walk and let Bailey out into his pen. Mistake! You see, rain makes mud, which means Bailey’s earlier $60 spa treatment was now for naught. Spending your early, pre-coffee morning, cleaning up a muddy dog, and house, was not in the plan. Finally, semi-cleaned, it was time to sit and enjoy a nice cup of coffee—that is until Bailey decided to join me on my lap and the coffee was now airborne. And the day had not yet even begun.
Many employers are feeling the same way. Finding and keeping talent, post election uncertainties, opioids in the workplace are all flying at you, preventing you from running your business. And it isn’t likely to get any easier.
Here are just 4 huge issues you will be facing in 2017.
- Opioids epidemic: Drugs on the streets means drugs in the workplace. More employees are coming to work addicted. And many are using hard drugs. Yesterday’s street junkies are today’s nurses and executives. While this may shock you, our society is openly welcoming the legalization of medical marijuana and now recreational marijuana. Society’s drug problem is only going to get worse and now it is your problem to solve.
- Losing good people: Poaching is now an acceptable sport. Good people are leaving and heading to your competition. And it is just not the rank and file. Managers and executives are going just as fast. Why? 3%-4% merit just doesn’t it cut it anymore. Limited opportunities, I’m out of here; bad boss, well, you can “take this job and shove it.” When all employers are scrambling for help, employees look for greener pastures. Loyalty is dead.
- Hiring is impossible: Finding good talent is becoming harder and harder. And with experienced workers retiring out, shortages are growing. The numbers are just not working. It is going to get bad…very bad.
- Employment law chaos: You heard it (by me and others), the Fair Labor Standards Act updates are going to radically change how you need to pay your people, so get your systems updated before the implementation date. Ready? Never mind, it’s now on hold and may be permanently delayed. What? How in the world do you get that Jeanie back in the bottle? Finally figured out Obamacare? Hold! The new Congress and Administration are going to scrap it and start all over again—at least that’s what they claim. Your state has legalized medical marijuana or maybe even recreational use of marijuana. How do you handle that? Wait, the feds still say its illegal. Your state has just passed an increase in minimum wage, but you’re a multi-state employer and each state has a different rate…and the feds have a totally different one. Yikes! What can you do? Best bet, become an employment attorney, as you’ll have plenty of work. In the mean time, you’ll need to do some juggling to figure these out.
It is going to be a challenging 2017 and frankly, I could have addressed several other issues. While it seems to be going from bad to worse, as an employer, you need to address these issues and find solutions…and fast.
Let’s take a deep breath first. I’ve got to give Bailey a bath, but I need another coffee first. Maybe you should join me.
(Post written by Rick Dacri, March 28, 2016)
There are times when paying competitive wages is not enough. The General Manager of a public power utility called me recently. He was having difficulty in both recruiting and retaining electrical engineers and experienced line workers. The feedback he was receiving was that his pay program was out of line with other electrical utilities. I was ultimately engaged to conduct a market analysis of their wages. The results were startling to him and his board—their wages were competitive with other public utilities within their market. How could this be? They found this incredulous.
A new reality has entered the marketplace. In some situations, paying the market rate is insufficient. The unemployment rate is plummeting. It is Continue reading
(Post by Rick Dacri, November 29, 2015)
As a manager, you will be faced with several challenges in 2016 and workforce issues are right at the top. Recruiting and retaining qualified personnel, staff development, succession planning, employee morale, competitive compensation packages, and reducing employee health care costs will dominate your attention. Like a freight train screaming down the tracks, today’s manager must tackle these issues head-on. Let’s look at five of them:
- Aging workforce: We’re getting older. Baby boomers are beginning to exit the workplace in what some are calling the “silver tsunami” leaving both employment spots to fill and huge gaps in knowledge to replace. Most employers are ill prepared. Recommendation: Put in place succession plans which address replacements, skills gaps, and prepares the organization for an orderly transition of talent.
- Creating a performance based culture: Today’s workplace culture must reward performance and productivity and foster employee engagement resulting in worker retention and attracting the best external talent. Work rules that hamper productivity must be replaced with those that support flexibility and pay should be merit based and include performance incentives. There also must be an increased emphasis on setting priorities and goals, measuring productivity and monitoring performance. And your employees must be agile, customer centric, and willing to do whatever it takes for the organization. Recommendation: Put in place training programs to prepare both supervisors and employees. Add communication initiatives to demonstrate the need for and benefits of these required changes. Recruit only employees who can thrive in a changing environment.
- Managing a multidimensional and changing workforce: Today’s workforce is changing and different. As boomers age out, we are seeing a different look in the workplace then we have come to expect in the past. As the workforce becomes more diverse, managers must have the skills to lead this workplace. Engaging a younger generation, who will work along side older individuals who have different views and expectations of both their boss and work, will require significant adjustments, patience, tolerance and clear understanding. Recommendation: Multicultural, mutigenerational training should become a part of your training curriculum. Employee engagement/satisfaction surveys should be conducted annually.
- Recruitment, retention and rewarding: There is a new “3 R’s.” Work/life balance, flexibility, career development and telecommuting will be needed in order to attract and retain this new generation of worker. And to retain them, you will have to reward workers with cash (merit pay, incentives, benefits) and non-cash (opportunities, training, titles). Recommendation: Recruitment and retention programs should be put in place that include development of a recruitment brand and tool box; compensation market surveys should be conducted; and turnover analysis should be put in place.
- A strategic approach to managing: Managers must make decisions about the direction of their business utilizing a strategic framework. No longer can they simply move from crisis to crisis. A big picture, business approach will be needed, discarding “how we’ve always done it” approach and re-inventing your business to address today’s and tomorrow’s realities. There will be a greater reliance on technology, creativity, innovation, and best practices and benchmarking and these require a new kind of leader to manage a workforce that can thrive in this new world along with a workforce that can blossom amongst rapid change and have the skills to learn and adapt. Recommendation: Strategic plans should be updated to reflect the changing workforce and market place.
In 2016 and beyond we all must begin to think differently, have the skills to look around corners, while making bold decisions in addressing this changing workplace.
Other posts you may like:
- Aging Workforce: Few Employers Prepared
- Succession Plan in Municipalities Assure a Steady Flow of Talent
- How Unhealthy Cultures Stymie Progress
(Posted by Rick Dacri, June 2, 2014)
Walk into a Whole Foods, order shoes through Zappos, or spend a night at the Ritz and you’ll quickly see the value of a positive workplace culture. Whether its Zappos emphasis on delivering “WOW” through service (ask my wife), or Whole Foods’ friendly, smiling clerks (I love shopping there), and I can’t even describe the joy in staying at the Ritz–the emphasis on taking care of the customer is ingrained into the fabric of each company and embodied in its workforce.
Culture is not a squishy concepts best left to human resources. No, its the essence of a company, its personality. Culture is made up of a company’s core values, beliefs, goals, and traditions. It’s who they are and how leaders form and shape it determines whether the company will flourish or wither on the vine.
L.L. Bean hires employees who are Continue reading
Three workforce issues I wanted you to be aware of:
1. Medical Marijuana Laws: There is some confusion and uncertainty with the legalization of medical marijuana in Maine and Massachusetts, while federal law stills treats it as an illegal drug. Though I am not going to cover the regulations here (call me with questions), you should know that neither state requires employers to permit drug use in the workplace or tolerate employees who report to work under the influence. Again, call me regarding compliance, policies, drug testing rules and handling the conflicting requirements under state and federal laws.
2. Companies Picking Bad Managers: According to a Gallop study just released, companies fail to choose the right talent for manager positions 82% of the time. And, managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. Gallop notes that bad managers can generally be blamed for most low morale of workers. As you know, low morale and engagement are the determining factors in productivity, quality and retention levels. Call me if you need help assessing candidates for supervisory positions as well as training and coaching your existing supervisors and managers.
3. Warning Signs that An Employee Is Likely to Quit: According to a Utah State University Study, there are clear warning signs that an employee is likely to quit within months. Some of the warning signs include:
- Showing less interest in advancing in the organization
- Seeming less interest in pleasing their boss than before
- Acting more reluctant to commit to long-term projects
- Exhibiting less interest in training and development
- Offering fewer constructive contributions in meetings
- Suggesting fewer new ideas
- Doing the minimum amount of work needed
If you begin seeing this with one of your employees, you may have an employee who is preparing to quit. Give me a call and we can discuss how best to handle this.
(Post by Rick Dacri, May 6, 2014)
Retaining your best employees is critical. Here are 8 uncomplicated steps to holding them and keeping them engaged:
- Hire right every time: It all starts here. Hire stars. Otherwise expect problems.
- Develop a strong management team: Train your managers and supervisors. Unless you have strong front line supervisors, you are not going to be successful.
- Create a work environment that people love: Engaged employees don’t quit. It’s all about the culture.
- Integrate new employees into your workplace: Develop an effective on boarding program. Your new employees should be excited about their decision to join you.
- Understand and meet your employees’ needs: Star employees remain engaged when they are paid fairly, treated with respect, have the tools to do their job, are recognized for their good performance, know that you care about them, have growth opportunities and their opinions and ideas are valued.
- Be clear about your expectations: Employees want and need to know what you want them to do. When the company and itsmanager are clear about what is expected, employees rise up to meet them.
- Communicate: It’s basic, but many problems begin here. Provide frequent, timely, problem solving communications. And listen to your people.
- Take care of your employees: This isn’t a kumbaya thing. Understand your employee needs, meet them, and they’ll stick around. Employees want a manager who cares.
Retaining stars is not complicated, but it takes work.
I’ve helped many organizations retain their best employees. Many have seen their turnover reduced in half within a short time. Give me a call and we can discuss how we can make this happen at your company.
If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read:
- Recruitment: The 5 Pillars of a Strong Brand
- Management Training
- Management 101: Stop Coddling Losers and Ignoring Stars
(Posted by Rick Dacri on August 28, 2013)
The summer is nearly over and now it’s time to look forward to the fall. I wanted to check in with you and suggest a check-up on your operation. The economy continues to heat up and there’s a lot happening, so I wanted to take a moment to provide you a brief list of important items you should be focusing on to help you make managing your business a bit easier:
1. Turnover is Increasing: With an improving market, there is strong evidence that employees are feeling more confident and many, particularly coveted star performers, are beginning to look to make job changes. That’s not good for you.
Advice: Make sure your managers and supervisors are focused on employee retention. Implement a progressive retention program and initiate an annual employee satisfaction survey to take a pulse of your organization.
2. ACA Deadlines: Deadlines for the Affordable Care Act are upon us.
My Advice: Make sure your plan meets all the new requirements and plan to provide employee education programs. You may also want to change your new enrollments dates and your benefit eligibility requirements. Update your classifications for full-time and part-time employees and evaluate whether it makes sense to restructure your staffing to address “pay or play” thresholds.
3. Evaluate Your Hiring: As the economy expands, you may find the need to add staff. With an improving economy, finding good people is proving more difficult.
My Advice: Continue reading