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10 Effective Ways to Train a New Employee

effective-ways-how-to-train-new-employees
Training a new employee the right way matters in many more ways than just having them start to be productive. The costs of not training your employees can add up quickly; from poor morale to lack of production to employee turnover, not setting up your new employee (or newly promoted employee) for success has consequences.

You also will want to consider the costs and the time required to train your new employee. You will want your new employee to track their training time (and what tasks they spent what amount of time learning), as well as you will want to know how many hours it took away from a manager or team to train the new person. This kind of training data will be invaluable to you in order to grow your business, increase your employees’ production, and improve employee retention from continually improving your training programs.

We will discuss the following 10 ways to train a new employee:

  • Way #1: On the Job Training (aka OJT)
  • Way #2: Mentoring Program
  • Way #3: Employee Coaching
  • Way #4: Culture Training
  • Way #5: Job Shadowing
  • Way #6: Webinars & Online Resources
  • Way #7: Mobile Training Apps
  • Way #8: Third Party Training
  • Way #9: Gamification
  • Way #10: Use Social Media

Before we start, let’s also talk about the various ways and the commitment and amount of time they take in an easy table:

Let’s start with the most important way to train the vast majority of employees, from a waiter to a real estate agent to a lawyer:

Way #1: On The Job Training (OJT)

What It Is: OJT is a hands-on method of learning that uses existing equipment, tools, and resources to teach job specific duties and competencies. Training takes place within the job environment so that the employee can learn by seeing how the work is performed. This is especially important for roles that clock in and clock out; one of the first OJT training duties should be teaching your new employee how to clock in and clock out effectively and in alignment with company policy using your OnTheClock system. After all, this small function is where businesses lose thousands… to millions… of dollars!

Why It Works: OJT is considered to be one of the most effective training options because it is normally performed internally by those who already understand the job and the company’s values. It’s like having a real life training manual, where the current employee can also teach the new employee the idiosyncrasies of policies and systems, as well as caution them about company policies. On the other side, it is also time consuming and requires an actual person to be training the trainee.

How You Can Try It: Let’s take a quick look at how OJT works. A retail store cashier is an excellent example of a role where OJT is very relevant. Let’s take a step by step approach at Sam’s Hardware Shop and how OJT might be used for “New Hire Nelly” with long time “Employee Eric”.

Step 1: Nelly comes in for work on her first day. Eric is assigned to be her trainer (or sometimes, companies call this a “buddy” to promote camaraderie). Eric greets Nelly when she arrives and, once she fills out her paperwork (i.e. tax forms, etc… which Eric might do, or someone from HR might do), Eric brings Nelly onto the floor.

Step 2: Eric walks Nelly through a typical start of the day, where he shows her how to clock in, and shows her how to do it (as well as she should do it so she can be paid for today!).

Step 3: Eric then shows Nelly where his register is and starts the day. He counts down the drawer and ensures that it matches the night prior’s totals, and then asks her to try it.

Step 4: Eric then opens his register and lets Nelly watch him take care of actual transactions and customers while she takes notes. This should go on for an hour or two. Then, Eric could let Nelly try to do some transactions while he watches and provides feedback.

Step 5: Eric should then debrief with Nelly at the end of her day, help answer any questions, and help her to clock out.

The steps should then repeat until Nelly starts to be able to do all of the actions on her own. As Nelly becomes more functional, Eric’s time with her will decrease, likely each day, and eventually will likely be only for unique questions like a price check or a rebate.

Next, let’s look at mentoring, which can be a large component of On The Job Training.

Way #2: Mentoring Program

What It Is: Mentoring is a form of training that involves pairing a senior, experienced employee with a new, less experienced employee in order for the new hire to adapt quickly to their role. It is very similar to OJT, but usually takes the relationship to the next level (i.e. think of a senior level attorney being paired with a junior associate).

Tip: You might want to consider using a specific amount of mentoring each week, or even each month, for team members to get the most out of this time. 

Why It Works: Establishing a mentor relationship has been shown to enhance the speed that a new employee learns their new role and adapts to company culture because of the one on one interaction. It also has numerous other positive benefits such as increased positivity at the workplace and higher retention rates because it builds both social and professional bonds.

How You Can Try It: No need to reinvent the wheel: some of the top Fortune 500 companies and successful small businesses implement great mentoring programs. Here are a few of their stories:

General Electric

  • Newly hired graduates go into their Experienced Commercial Leadership Program where they will complete 8 months rotating within areas of their particular business.

Google

  • For the past 9 years, Google has offered a global program featuring stipends for student developers. Summer of Code pairs students with mentors to gain real-world software development experience and has boasted over 8,500 successful participants.

4 Point Consulting

  • 4 Point Consulting offers its associates and staff consultants the opportunity to trade ideas, request trainings and learn from senior management with monthly “Coffee n Convo” hours, dedicated entirely to the development of its employees. Group mentorship allows for camaraderie and the building of essential communication skills.

Caterpillar

  • Caterpillar devotes the first 2-3 years of a college graduate’s employment to professional development by implementing a rotation program wherein the new hire can gain exposure to all aspects of the business, from building basic technical skills to engaging with senior management.

Mentoring in a less formal sense, and when usually done by the direct manager of a new employee, is usually called:

Way #3: Employee Coaching

What It Is: Coaching is used to provide guidance to employees so they can work through challenges and strengthen their skills. Coaching is also usually somewhat less formal than mentoring, and can take less time (and thus cost less money, inhibit employee production less) than mentoring. However, both can have value when some structure is in place around them, and employee coaching can be formally structured (for example, in a weekly 1 on 1 with an employee’s manager).

Why It Works: Coaching is effective because it empowers employees to take their training into their own hands and encourages high performance in a setting and pace that helps personal and professional development. It also can serve as the basis for performance management and documentation of performance, which can be important in promotional and termination decisions, as well as in performance reviews.

How You Can Try It: This method can be effective when you have an employee who could benefit from performance improvement because it helps guide them towards solving problems and improving skills. It can also be great for management or senior employees to consult a business coach who can help provide guidance, focus, goal-setting, accountability, personal development, and business profitability.

Way #4: Culture Training

What It Is: Company Culture is the personality of an organization and it describes what values and goals a company has. Training new employees on company culture is equally important as training for skills because it puts emphasis on being part of the team.

Why It Works: Studies show that employees who are in alignment with their company’s culture and mission are more dedicated to the success of the organization. Teaching your company’s culture and values can also drastically reduce the chances employees will inadvertently engage in discrimination or harassment. It also promotes increased communication and promotes positivity. Howard Stevenson, of Harvard Business School faculty, notes: “Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.”

How You Can Try It: You can start by creating a list of core values for your company, decide what characteristics new hires will have to be successful in your culture, and continue ongoing training with existing employees. Perhaps employees can contribute to or vote on your list of values, if they are not already stated. If your mission, culture and values exist, make sure you’re living by them. Post your values where team members can regularly see them. Hold your management team and yourself accountable to fulfilling those values daily. If your organization has grown, pivoted, or has experienced a change in its strategy or goals, consider whether the values you put in place at the outset still ring true today. In order for culture and values to work, they have to be felt, so they have to be unique and applicable to your company and employees, specifically.

Next, similar to On The Job Training, there is job shadowing.

Way #5: Job Shadowing

What It Is: Job shadowing involves a new hire working directly with an employee to become immersed in the day by day requirements of the job. In fact, some people even use job shadowing as a part of the recruitment

Why It Works: This method works well because it allows new hires to see the nitty gritty details in real time, without having to figure it out along the way. Simply telling a new employee what to do is not as successful as showing them one on one.

How You Can Try It: Job shadowing works best for jobs that require a lot of detail or those that are heavily task-based. Even if the role would not benefit from solely job shadowing, most roles have some aspects that are well suited to this type of training. In some cases, it can be essential, such as for internships or promotions.

A great example in general is the food and beverage industry. It is fairly unique in its job shadowing (“stage”) concept. But allowing potential (or new) employees to immediately receive the opportunity to work hands-on, side-by-side with more tenured teammates for a whole day can give them a real glimpse into on-the-job realities and skills necessary. One of 4 Point Consulting’s clients, Hu Kitchen in NYC, actually does job shadowing (a “trail” they call it) in their recruitment process for all restaurant roles to make sure that their top candidates understand exactly what their new job would be.

Way #6: Webinars and Online Resources

What It Is: Webinars and Online Resources are both virtual training sessions, with the former being a live presentation, and the latter being pre-made virtual training materials that can be accessed at any time.

Why It Works: This method is extremely cost-effective and convenient, especially if you have employees in different locations. You can take away cost for commuting, venues, and food by utilizing online training. It can also increase employee engagement because people are less likely to be shy about asking questions online. It can also be useful to have resources available for later times because it allows employees to access online information around their busy schedules.

How You Can Try It: For effective execution, start by breaking down material into intuitive sections, incorporate lots of visuals and interactive media, take time to answer questions and encourage collaboration, and set aside time at the end for participant quizzes and feedback.

4 Point Consulting finds success in such trainings from new-hire on-boarding material to systems implementation by leading with agendas, keeping material strictly to the point, and leaving apt time for Q&A at the end of the webinar (so that participants can avoid disruptions and stay on mute throughout the training!). One 4 Point client, SAFEbuilt, was rolling out a new HRIS system in 2018. 4 Point Consulting hosted live webinars (which were also recorded) for employees to attend to learn functionality of the system in real time. We also held webinar Q&A sessions on a daily basis to make sure people felt heard and understood in a smaller group setting. It worked wonders and, better yet, people retained what they learned!

In a similar way, mobile training apps take the webinar concept to the mobile level.

Way #7: Mobile Training Apps

What It Is: Mobile apps designed specifically to provide training sessions and materials straight to an employee’s phone.

Why It Works: Millennials are a lot different from previous generations because they were raised on technology and the workforce in general has become more on the go and remote than ever before. Mobile learning allows employees to learn wherever or whenever and it can be delivered in smaller, more manageable-sized chunks.

How You Can Try It: Find an app service that works for your business, often apps will work with other HR software. Have your new hires gain access even before they begin their first day so that all necessary paperwork is completed in advance and energy levels are kept high from the very beginning. For some app recommendations, visit this article from SHRM.

Way #8: Third Party Training

What It Is: Using outside sources, such as vendors, to provide training to your internal employees.

Why It Works: This method is great when a company may not have the resources to efficiently train new hires or when specialized training is required such as OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety) and you do not have qualified team members available to teach. Other options are using vendor training for any software or apps you use. This can also be useful for training that happens to prevent liability to an employer, such as Diversity & Inclusion training, Sexual Harassment training, HIPPA training, or the like.

How You Can Try It: Determine the needs of your business and decide if it will be more efficient and cost-effective to outsource training.

Need help figuring out your training strategy or don’t have enough time to write your new policies out? Training & development is one of our core practice areas! Get in touch to find more about our hourly HR consulting services.

Way #9: Gamification

What It Is: This new buzzword involved turning training into something fun like a game where people are motivated to succeed through incentivizing the process with rewards.

Why It Works: It promotes friendly competition, gives a sense of achievement to participants, and engages and motivates learners to make behavioural changes.

How You Can Try It: Modify your existing training materials to include a gaming element such as changing format to be levels with winning one level being mandatory before reaching the next step. You can also include an awards system to motivate employees to succeed. More suggestions for implementing gamification techniques can be found here.

Doug Kirkpatrick, of Beyond Empowerment: The The Age of the Self-Managed Organization found that with his project, Morningstar, in which he was instructed to create a state of the art manufacturing plant for tomatoes, he was able to organize the team with a simple scorecard. The gaming element created collaboration, harmony and prosperity for the project: Morningstar produced 90 million pounds of tomato paste for the world market, changing the course of the industry.

Way #10: Use Social Media

What It Is: Using Social Media for training can be a great, easy way to share training materials with your employees because it is easily accessible.

Why It Works: It engages employees on platforms they are already familiar with and active on.

How You Can Try It: Try creating YouTube training videos to share with your new hires. You can also create a private Facebook group where employees can exchange information and materials directly with one another. Another great resource is an instant-messaging service, like Slack, that can be used amongst employees for easy collaboration and sharing.

In conclusion…

Investing in training for new employees helps attract AND retain great talent. Taking the time to coach a team member into the role demonstrates your organization’s commitment to their personal development, endearing them to the company in return.

Spending time with employees in training programs can help managers identify strengths and areas of development right off the bat, ensuring that each new hire can add their specific value to your company. Effective training programs improve overall employee engagement and translate into savings: employees with diversified skills can transition to projects, clients and varied workloads throughout the organization.

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Unlimited PTO: The Ultimate Guide

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Paid time off, or PTO, can be the biggest headache for a small business owner. Tracking it, coordinating work schedules, and forget it about holiday time. Many business owners are now balking the traditional accrual or bucket PTO systems in favor of an unlimited PTO system that, ideally, will relieve them of these headaches of counting. But is unlimited PTO, also known as open PTO or flexible time off (FTO), more trouble?

In this article, we will explore:

  • What is Unlimited PTO
  • Sample Unlimited PTO Policy
  • How to Roll Out Unlimited PTO
  • What are the Pros & Cons of Unlimited PTO
  • What are the Federal Laws around Unlimited PTO
  • What are the State Laws about Unlimited PTO
  • Case Studies

So, your first question might be, “Does unlimited PTO really mean unlimited? Like as much as they want?”

Please note that unlimited PTO policies are usually only used in salaried situations where payroll and staffing needs are more stable and predictable (versus an hourly situation like a clothing store or daycare where a certain number of employees are required to make sure work goes on).

What is Unlimited PTO

Yes, “unlimited” technically means unlimited PTO, or an open vacation policy, where employees can take as many days off as they choose to or need to. Unlimited PTO is becoming increasingly popular as companies grow weary of tracking days, tracking accruals, answering requests from employees to go over (or be paid out for extra)… many business owners look at the research and case studies and decide to see what will happen. Unlimited PTO is also a very trendy recruiting tool in today’s ever competitive talent market, and it is a way for companies to differentiate themselves to millennials and Gen Z, who are increasingly picky about their benefit expectations.

However, companies usually put parameters around the “unlimitedness” of the policy in order to protect themselves (as they should), especially if they are in a state where PTO is paid out upon term or layoff. An unlimited PTO policy should also still come with guidelines on how to request time off (i.e. anything more than 16 hours or 2 days of PTO consecutively should be requested off at least 4 weeks ahead of time), and each policy should also still come with a caveat that an employer can reject a PTO request due to workload or other employees’ already having requested off.

Let’s look at a sample unlimited paid time off policy.

Sample Unlimited PTO Policy

Need help writing a time off policy or making sure yours is compliant? Get in touch

Unlimited Paid Time Off Policy

Unlike many employers with formal paid vacation, personal and paid sick-time policies, the Company has no formal policy regarding the amount of time that its salaried employees can take during a year for their absences from work. As a result, employees do not accrue vacation pay or other paid time off and this is considered an unlimited paid time off policy.

Included within the Company’s unlimited paid time off policy are paid sick days. Requests to use sick days should follow the procedure stated below. Since these days are included within this policy, they do not roll over or accrue. Please note that, even with the Chicago and California sick leave laws, if a company has an unlimited PTO policy they do not have to enact a separate paid sick leave policy. Thus, the Company does not have a separate sick leave policy.

However, attendance may be required at certain times and time off grants are still at the discretion of the Company. To request time off from work, written notice to your direct supervisor is required (email suffices as written notice). For planned PTO, such as a vacation or other known event like a wedding, advance notice of 4 weeks is recommended to ensure that PTO is likely to be approved. For unplanned instances, such as an illness or bereavement leave, notification on the day of by 8 am CST is best practice, or as soon as possible.

No single absence will be paid for more than 15 consecutive days without approval from the CEO. Paid time off for all eligible employees must be recorded in the appropriate time/attendance system.

Should your PTO request exceed 15 consecutive business days, please contact the CEO & your manager to ensure proper procedures and documentation are followed. Examples of this may include:

  • the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;
  • placement with a child for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • to take medical leave when unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Please see the individual policies on these topics for more information.

Paid Leave for salaried employees may not be used as a means to extend other types of

leave, such as FMLA, Parental, Short- or Long Term Disability, leaves required by state law, and other extended leave situations.

The Company expects all employees to maintain the high caliber of performance expected of all employees. Therefore, if performance declines because of use or abuse of the PTO policy, the Company reserves the right to review an employee’s use of PTO and take disciplinary action if necessary, up to and including termination of employment.

While employees may take time off subject to work demands and management’s discretion, they do not accrue any vacation time for purposes of payout at termination and/or payment during leaves of absence.

How to Roll Out Unlimited PTO

For this section, we will focus on HOW to actually enact an unlimited PTO policy at a high level. We will focus on the before/ composition of the policy, tips for how to roll it out, and what to do after it takes effect. Please note this isn’t a comprehensive step-by-step guide to rolling out a policy, but a rough guideline.

Let’s start from the beginning — the “before” phase.

Before You Roll Out Unlimited PTO

First and foremost, unlimited PTO requires planning. Whether you are an organization of 100 people and have an HR manager, or a small business owner doing it on your own, you need to carefully evaluate and be able to answer and consider the below questions:

  • Question 1: What would you do with the current PTO employees have accrued? How do you want to handle the people who have been “saving” up time?
      • This is a huge question- especially depending on which state your business resides in (see below table). The main questions your management and employee base will have are going to revolve around what happens to the time they have saved up. You will want to make sure you have a clear answer to this question, as well as a clear answer to how much it might cost you, before creating your unlimited PTO policy.

Our top 3 suggestions:

                • Cut checks to employees for remaining time off.
                • Give employees a reasonable period to use the accrued vacation time before the new policy takes effect.
                • Track the accrued time separately from the newly implemented vacation policy and pay the accrued balance to the employee upon termination of employment.
  • Question 2: What is the current procedure for requesting time off and how much notice in advance is required?
        • You’ll then want to consider if this still works with an unlimited policy. If you have a loosey-goosey “just text me” policy right now, you will likely want to implement more of a standard request. This could also lead to the next point:
  • Question 3: How will you track the unlimited PTO to prevent abuse and to instill trust?
        • If you were going by emails and a sloppy Excel before, you will want to consider implementing an HRIS like BambooHR or Zenefits to help you to track paid time off and keep people honest.
        • You will also want 1 or 2 “point people” to be in charge of tracking this. People will have a lot of questions and 1 person who can administer this function will be useful to make sure the policy is working.

Other questions to consider:

  • Why does unlimited PTO make sense? Can you link this new policy to your mission, vision, and values? This will be important to get your top people on board, and also when you are explaining it to the entire employee base.
  • Have you done the math? What will it cost the company to execute this policy in comparison to prior years of paid time off?
  • What are your concerns with this new policy? Listing these out for discussion with your senior people can help to show that you are carefully considering this new policy, and the team might have solutions for your concerns, which will build even more trust.

Now that you’ve answered these questions, you’ll need to create the actual policy. Use the above policy as a free template, or get in touch with our expert HR team if you’d like some customized help.

Tips for a Successful Unlimited PTO Rollout

Now that you have an actual policy, you need to roll it out. How have you rolled out policies in the past? You will want to make sure that this is organized and has clear dates for when it starts and the requirements around it. You may even consider making a 1 sheeter for each employee that states their current PTO balance, how it will be taken care of (i.e. date it needs to be used by or payout date), and a copy of the new policy.

Furthermore, in order for an unlimited PTO policy to work for your business, MammothHR suggests some tips for success:

  1. Try using a different term other than “Unlimited PTO” such as, “Personalized PTO”, “Flexible PTO”, “Self-Managed PTO”, or “Responsible PTO” to better reflect the policy.
  2. Incorporate the policy into your company’s mission, vision and company values.
  3. Emphasize the policy is a two-way street by letting employees know their personal time is valued, but they are also expected to live up to expectations and performance should not suffer.
  4. Provide clear PTO guidelines to minimize probability of a request denial (i.e. how to and the timeline for requesting PTO, as well as the right to reject it if works requires)

We would also add here that the training and communications to staff and management is KEY to the rollout of an unlimited PTO policy. Consider having several training sessions with open Q&A, as well as creating documents people can hang onto such as the policy itself, FAQs, and best practices for both employees and managers.

After the Policy is in Effect

Schedule feedback sessions for leadership for 90 days after the policy is in effect. You will want to compare days off in the prior years to this first 90 day period. It is highly likely that it will be similar or even less; however, this kind of data will be invaluable to assuage fears in leaders (and to nip abuse of the policy in the bud).

Let’s look at unlimited PTO’s potential pros and cons next.

What are the Pros & Cons of Unlimited PTO?

As with any policy, you’ll want to look at your company culture, your employee base, and assess the pros and cons of how it would impact your business operations, team, management, and bottom line prior to rolling it out. Remember, unlimited PTO is traditionally used in salaried, full time employee environments like law firms or consulting firms, versus hourly businesses where a certain volume of workers is required (i.e. a restaurant or daycare).

Let’s discuss the pros of unlimited PTO first.

Pros of Unlimited Paid Time Off

While the pros of this policy might make many business owners and HR managers nervous, the reality is that the pros and cons easily overlap with unlimited PTO. A lot of it depends on company culture and the implementation of the policy itself. For example, the pro that employees are more likely to feel valued could easily turn if the managers hold it against employees who actually take time off (“You’re asking for PTO again, Megan? Didn’t you just have a week off last month?”.

As you read through the following list of pros, notice how they parallel the cons list below it:

  • Employee happiness increases with unlimited PTO
  • Easier to attract and maintain top talent, aka makes hiring easier!
  • Company appears to be more modern, pro-employee and with changing times
  • Financial benefits to the employer include less administrative costs and sometimes even less paid time off paid out/ taken as a whole
  • Employees are more likely to feel valued by their employer
  • Sick employees are more likely to stay home and take sick days, which leads to less “everyone in marketing has the flu” issues
  • Unlimited PTO has proven to enhance morale, productivity, and employee health
  • Allows employees to balance personal/work life, which is a highly valued benefits for many Gen Z and millennial employees

Let’s now explore the downside of an unlimited PTO policy.

Cons of Unlimited Paid Time Off

Most of the cons list revolve around company culture and the implementation of the unlimited PTO policy. For example, if the policy is rolled out with little thought, managers or company leaders may be afraid of the downside (think of your VP of Sales being terrified that s/he won’t meet their quota because of Account Executives taking time off). Making sure to use data, and connecting WHY the policy is occuring, is absolutely crucial to the below cons being avoided.

Unlimited PTO can have the negative side effects of:

  • Requiring a lot of trust between employer and employee (hint: think about when you should roll this out!)
  • Risk of abuse from employees (even though data shows this is unlikely)
  • Risk of employee burnout (if they are fearful to use it or use less time off than before)
  • Transition to an unlimited PTO policy can be problematic, especially if employees have unused PTO time from the previous policy
  • Can place strain on a business is everyone wants the same time off (hint: you can mitigate this with the wording in your policy and with some simple planning!)

Aside from pros and cons, each employer should carefully review the laws around paid time off, and unlimited paid time off, prior to implementation.

What are the Federal Laws around Unlimited PTO

In the United States, paid time off has very little regulation. By FEDERAL law, as an employer, you have no obligation to give any vacation, holiday, or sick paid leave, regardless of size. The only regulation is around FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act, for employers of 50+ full time employees (or the equivalent thereof). This law states that someone with an FMLA-approved cause can have a certain amount of unpaid time off depending on their situation and their job is protected.

State laws, on the other hand, have a lot to say about paid time off, both vacation and sick time.

What are the State Laws about Unlimited PTO

Below we have a comprehensive state table on if you were to enact an unlimited PTO policy and what you should be aware of.

However, you should also note that there are several states and cities with paid sick time policies (if you are in one of these, you should already be aware!). However, unlimited PTO can easily cover the sick time law in your city or state as long as you include wording of such in your policy (see example above).

Need help making sure your policy is compliant? Send us a message to ask about our hourly, contract-free HR consulting services.

Unlimited PTO Policy by State

State PTO Payout Policy Unlimited PTO Policy
Alabama Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Alaska Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Arizona Not required Employers can create their own policy if they choose to
Arkansas Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
California Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Colorado Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Connecticut Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Delaware Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Florida Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Georgia Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Hawaii Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Idaho Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Illinois Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Indiana Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Iowa Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Kansas Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Kentucky Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Louisiana Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Maine Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Maryland Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Massachusetts Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Michigan Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Minnesota Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Mississippi Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Missouri Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Montana Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure, any previous vacation accrual must be paid out
Nebraska Required to pay all accrued vacation PTO Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure, any previous vacation accrual must be paid out
Nevada Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
New Hampshire Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
New Jersey Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
New Mexico Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
New York Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
North Carolina Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Any vacation policy MUST be outlined in detail, unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
North Dakota Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure; all paid leave is considered vacation unless otherwise stated
Ohio Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Oklahoma Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Oregon Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Pennsylvania Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Rhode Island Required as long as employee has completed at least one year of service Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
South Carolina Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
South Dakota Not required Employers may choose to offer unlimited PTO
Tennessee Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Texas Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Utah Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Vermont Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Virginia Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Washington Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
West Virginia Required only if outlined in policy or if policy is silent on the issue Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Wisconsin Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure
Wyoming Required only if outlined in policy Unlimited PTO policy must outline that vacation days are not measured, therefore, not payable at departure

 

Unlimited PTO Case Studies

So what does unlimited PTO look like? While there is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there, we thought we would include 2 case studies here (if that’s your thing!).

CASE STUDY #1

Kronos Case Study

Kronos began implementing an Unlimited Vacation Policy in 2016 using a system called myTime. The roll-out of this new system was not easy and involved educating all employees on the process.The CEO of Kronos believes the old way of giving time off is outdated, especially with today’s technology many employees do not stop working when they leave the office. Employers need to focus on results over office time in order for this kind of system to work effectively.

The implementation of unlimited PTO gave Kronos a huge financial savings that they used to provide additional benefits such as increased maternity and parental leave, increased 401k matching, and tuition reimbursements. One of the big complaints from employees about unlimited PTO is that it is only implemented to help the company’s bottom line by avoiding PTO payout to employees. This was Kronos’ way of showing employees that their goal is to better the workplace, not for their own financial benefit.

Another concern about unlimited PTO is that employees will take advantage of time off or be fearful of taking too much time off with repercussions. Kronos found that employees on average took fewer days than their entitlement allowed under the old policy, and with the new unlimited PTO policy employees took only 2.65 extra days on average.

While this new policy wasn’t greeted with 100% positivity by employees, Kronos saw an increase in employee engagement and a decrease in voluntary turnover as a result of unlimited PTO. Ultimately, it may not work for every company, but it has a good chance of working as long as there is a trusting employee/employer relationship.

CASE STUDY #2

MammothHR – Small Business Case Study

MammothHR implemented a successful unlimited PTO policy. It started with a one year trial, brought on by the fact MammothHR is a small business that wants to have a vacation policy that encourages trust and allows for less red tape when taking time off.

By the end of the year trial period, unlimited PTO became the #3 most valued company benefit among employees behind health benefits and 401k. The overwhelming positive feedback over this new policy oddly had no effect on the actual number of days employees took off. It stayed roughly the same, an average of three weeks per year.

MammothHR discovered it wasn’t the time off that created the difference, but the flexibility that employees truly valued. It gave employees the ability to freely live their lives outside of work, knowing they didn’t have to stick to a rigid PTO policy. It also put trust in employees, giving them the autonomy to get their work done in the way that best suits their lifestyle.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that unlimited PTO can be an edgy, awesome and exciting benefit to offer for a business, but the caveat is that it requires more planning and rollout time than a normal “you get 15 days” policy.

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Letting Go – Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

Letting Go - Employee Termination Letter Template and How-To Guide

While terminations are unpleasant, they are sometimes inevitable or necessary for the betterment of the company. This article will walk you through how to know when termination is the right option, and how to then execute the  firing of an employee with the least amount of risk.

We’ll discuss:

  • How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone
  • The Laws Around Terminations
  • The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Plus

  • The Top 10 Termination Tips
  • Free Downloadable Termination Letter Template

But first, let’s backtrack for a moment and decide if firing someone is what actually needs to be done.

How to Know If It’s Time to Fire Someone

Remember, firing or termination should be the last resort for any employee as it causes stress to a business and even risk, as well as of course the negative impacts on the team, the actual employee in question, and overall office morale. Techniques like progressive discipline, coaching, and a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) should be exhausted prior to termination, unless a particularly egregious offense has been committed (i.e. stealing, workplace violence or threats of it). These steps also can serve as documentation for the termination, which is crucial for mitigating risk and avoiding a lawsuit.

Prior to termination, ask yourself:

  • Have I exhausted all options for trying to get this employee to comply to policies, perform, behave better, etc…?
  • Have I tried coaching, feedback (both direct and indirect), and have I been absolutely clear that their behavior or performance is unacceptable?
  • Will this person be surprised at being terminated? (Hint: NO ONE should ever be surprised at being fired if you have exhausted all possible ways to keep them as an employee.)

Now, especially if you are moving forward with the termination of the employee, you need to make sure your actions are in compliance with your state’s laws.

The Laws Around Terminations

In the end, every state except Montana is subject to what’s calledat-will employment. In its most basic element, this means that an employer has the right to terminate someone with or without cause, as long as there is nothing else at play (i.e. discrimination, retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint). On the flip side, it does also mean that an employee can walk away from an employer without recourse. However, most people think of it for the employer’s right. Again, remember- it still does not make an illegal act like termination for discrimination, for whistle-blowing, or other retaliation legal.

We recommend you also look here for more detailed laws around termination in your state specifically.

The 5 Steps of an Employee Termination

Once you have made the decision that you will be moving forward with terminating an employee, here are the 5 steps you should take. If you find these steps hard to follow, there is a chance that you should consider a better documentation process of performance or behavior issues, or an implementation of a more formal feedback or performance system.

The 5 steps we will go through are:

o   Step 1: Compiling Documentation

o   Step 2: Create a Termination Plan

o   Step 3: Prepare for the Termination Meeting

o   Step 4: Termination Meeting

o   Step 5: After the Meeting

Need help creating a better performance management system? Send us a message.


Step 1: Before terminating, get your documents together.

First and foremost, compile documentation on performance and behavior for the employee. You may need to involve other team members in this process to collect information or documentation (i.e. an email exchange or something similar). Ensure that team members involved in this process understand the confidential nature of your request.

You’ll also want to compile any documentation you can regarding past actions your company has taken in an effort to rectify the employee’s performance or behavior issues, and consider writing out a timeline of events (especially if a number of verbal warnings or meetings were had). Include dates, times, and who was in attendance. Stick to the facts. 

Here’s a good vs. poor example of how to document employee issues:

GOOD:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late for her shift. Mark, the manager on shift at the time, had a meeting with her immediately about it in his office. He provided her with an additional copy of the employee time tracking policy, which includes tardiness procedures and outlining the policies of who and how to call in the event that you’re late.”

POOR:

“December 12th, 2018, 9 am- Sally was an hour late to her shift and showed up looking disheveled and looking like she was going to say that her kids made her late again. Mark, the manager, had a meeting with her and informed her that children are not a reason to be late to work.”

When you are creating your documentation, read it back to yourself as if you’re an outside 3rd party (like an attorney). Stick to the facts, and be straightforward with your language – eliminate opinions and hypotheticals.

Now that we have our documentation, let’s create a termination plan.

Noticing you don’t have very much to document the termination? Hint: you might want to wait until you do to avoid risk or other issues.

 

Step 2: Create a termination plan.

Your termination plan should read like a blueprint for the action:

Logistics: Who will be there? When? Where? You will want to answer all of these questions and write down the answers. Think about who else should be present — your attorney? Another of the employee’s supervisors? You should always have a 3rd person as a witness and for safety purposes (as silly as this may sound, it’s a good rule to follow). You may also need to have to provide them with their last paycheck at the end of the meeting. Make sure to check your local legal website to make sure you’re compliant. 

Who else needs to be involved? Make a plan for who needs to know about the termination prior to your meeting, how work will be covered (or shifts), and make sure that the management team is looped in. You will also need to loop in IT in order to cut off passwords, if relevant.

Meeting Agenda: You will need a termination letter, and potentially a separation agreement if you are using severance. which we’ll cover in the next section. 

Have a Termination Checklist: To make sure everything is covered, consider using a checklist.

 

Step 3: Consider all elements. 

Lastly, before the meeting  make should consider the “human” elements of termination. Is this a long-time employee who you might even consider a friend? Think of how you feel about this termination, and take time to consider how management, other team members, and, of course, the soon-to-be-terminated employee might feel about things.

Everyone’s adrenaline will be rushing, so you’ll want to be completely prepared and ready for anything.

To prepare for the termination meeting:

  • Check, and then double check, your termination checklist.
  • Make 2 copies of all documents. 1 for the employee, 1 for your company’s records.
  • Consider creating a script and practicing the meeting. If you have a trusted colleague who knows about the termination, consider some role play and test out three scenarios. The good (the person leaves peacefully), the bad (the person flies off the handle), and the ugly (the person resorts to violence or legal threats).
  • Create an exit plan. You or your witness will need to escort this person off premises for security reasons. Will the person first need to clear their desk, or could you box everything for them and ship it overnight to their home? Think of what’s best for everyone involved, even if it means a few hundred dollars in shipping charges.
  • Consider what else needs to occur, from IT password blocking to collection of company property like a cell phone, laptop, or door key/ FOB and company ID. Have your trusted colleague who is also going to be your witness go over items as well; s/he might think of something you haven’t.
  • You will want to make sure you get the employee’s personal email address and/or phone number if you don’t already have it in order to make sure you can reach them just in case (i.e. a returned W2).

Step 4: Termination Meeting

The time for the meeting is here. Take a deep breath, and gather your preparations and trusted colleague/ witness. Invite the employee to the location, and get to it- deliver the message, provide real reasons (if it’s well documented and not a risk), and then ask the employee if s/he has any questions. Provide them their paperwork, and escort them off the premises (don’t forget to gather that company property!).

In most cases, employees who are terminated actually behave in a way we’d not expect… think of the tough guy you thought would scream at you start to cry. Be sensitive, and allow a person a minute to gather themselves, but continue to iterate that it’s time for them to get going off premises.

If emotions start to run high, invite the employee to leave and that you can answer questions once emotions have died down. If someone has severance, it is advised that they process things for a time period anyway (and if they are over 40, they have 21 days by law). Setting up a follow up meeting or conference call in a secure space with witnesses can be best for everyone once emotions have mellowed.

Once the employee has been safely escorted off premises, you will need to deal with the aftermath.


Step 5: After the Meeting

After the termination meeting, ensure that you:

  • First, inform the team of your actions either via a meeting or an email to the company. Don’t over-dramatize things or go into reasons — and don’t make light of it; this is a big decision that deserves a direct message and then an action plan to how this employee’s work and/or shifts are being covered.

Good Example: “Today we had to let go of Darryl from working at our company. We appreciate his service while here and we will be covering his Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm shifts with a temp employee we hired from an agency. If you have any questions, please do ask your manager. We appreciate your support.”

Bad Example: “I am sure if comes to no surprise to anyone that we fired Darryl today. Hopefully, this will all help you guys to realize what we mean when we give warnings. We will have each of you pick up a shift of his this week to cover his time while we start to recruit for someone to replace him.”

  • Double check that you have suspended all IT access – email, office, passwords etc., as well as gathered all company property. If you forgot something, carefully consider if there is any risk (i.e. do you need to change a door lock?) or if it can be considered a loss.
  • Remember to terminate the employee on internal systems like payroll, benefits, etc.
  • Remove the employee from the website or marketing materials. You will also need to inform clients, if that’s a part of your business, and introduce them to their new account or company contact. We recommend doing this by email to keep things from being too over dramatic, but if you feel a call is warranted, go ahead and do so. Remember to stay succinct and direct about the events, just like in the company meeting/email.
  • Monitor review sites like Glassdoor or social media, just in case. It’s always good to keep an eye on your company reputation in any case.
  • Do the things you said you were going to do. Mail them their belongings and documents (if applicable) in a timely manner, clean up their desk or workspace so that it doesn’t feel like a “ghost” is around, and move forward with a new hire or temp.

Termination is an unpleasant, but sometimes necessary, experience/thing to do. With the steps above, hopefully you can come to a peaceful, albeit not easy, termination situation, and move everyone at the business forward.

Termination Letter Template

Company Header

Address

Full Date (Month/Day/Year)

[INSERT PREFIX] First and Last Name

Full Address

Dear Employee,

This letter confirms our discussion today that you are being terminated from your employment with Company effective immediately. [Optional: In thanks for your service, we are offering a severance of insert amount. Severance details are provided under separate cover in a longer severance agreement document.]

Your benefits packages will expire on full date.

You are required to return company property via source.

You will receive your final paycheck on date. This includes:

  • Bullet list items such as wages, PTO payout, etc..

You will need to keep the company informed of your contact information so that we are able to provide the information you may need in the future, such as your tax form.

Thank you for your service to the company.

Regards,

Name of Employee’s Superior or HR

Title


Top 10 Termination Tips

 

  1. Confirm and double check all documentation. Gather emails, dates of events and meetings, and physical documentation like paperwork should all be kept in 1 place (consider printing emails).
  2. Check your company policy and ensure everything is consistent and aligned with policy.
  3. Check your local and state laws, even if you are at-will. You will want to make sure you are completely prepared.
  4. Review if you have exhausted every option possible to prevent termination.
  5. Create and practice your termination script, especially if you have attachment to the employee or have not done many terminations before. You might be surprised that you have as much emotion as the person on the other side of the table.
  6. Consider a second opinion, be it another manager, a trusted colleague or fellow business owner, or even your attorney. It will help you to feel at ease with your decision and any risks that might be present.
  7. Always avoid a hasty termination; you never know how you might feel about things in 24 hours (especially if this is a performance termination). If policy is crystal clear (i.e. 5 tardies in 1 month = termination and you have documentation of the tardies), then you can move forward with less caution.
  8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind BEFORE the meeting. While you should never change your mind during the meeting or at the employee’s please (it creates risk and a potential legal situation), don’t be so bullish that you consider giving someone one more warning or coaching session to get them back on track.
  9. Trust your gut…within reason. If you’re gut instinct is sending you one way or the other, trust it… and then support it with documentation.
  10. Consider how to avoid this situation in the future. Is there something that could have been done with training? Management style? How you hired this person? Reflection is key to making your business better, and consider involving other people in this reflection process.
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How To Support Your Employees’ Resolutions

Employees talking about their resolutions around a table

New Year’s resolutions aren’t always easy to follow, but the healthier your team is, the more productive, engaged, and positive they’ll be. Full-time employees spend nearly a quarter of their lives at work, so why not do something to help? Here are some easy ways to get started towards developing a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace in 2019:

Offer Incentives

Incentivizing wellness is a great way to get your employees to participate. When there’s a reward for healthy behaviors, those behaviors will become habits and those habits in turn will ensure that your team is happy, healthy and ready to take on the day.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Offer your employees a small amount, say $20 per month, to use only for wellness purposes. Consider it their “me” fund. Ask them to use it towards products or services they wouldn’t normally splurge on — a relaxing massage, an exercise class — or cater a healthy lunch for the team once or twice per month.

Larger businesses/budget: Gift your team a FitBit or AppleWatch to help them track their fitness goals, or provide your employees with a gym membership.

Take Advantage of Existing Resources

Office space alone can be an easy way to encourage wellness. From taking the stairs instead of the elevator to converting the breakroom to hold fitness classes after hours, supporting your employees’ healthy habits can start right within the office.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Instead of having your team meeting in the conference room, suggest having a meeting at a nearby destination that everyone has the option to walk to, or survey your team to see if anyone has a background in fitness or wellness and would like to offer classes before/after work or at lunchtime.

Larger businesses/budget: Find someone in the community who does on-site yoga or fitness classes, and offer your team a free class once a week.  

Make Your Wellness Initiatives Convenient

The more convenient your wellness initiatives are, the more likely you are to have employee participation. Making changes around the office or offering free resources can support your employee wellness engagement.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Providing bowls of fruit for your employees to snack on, rather than the typical suspects like chips and donuts, makes making a healthy choice easy for your team.

Larger businesses/budget: Consider bringing in a wellness expert or providing free in-office flu shots for your team to take advantage of.

Bonus: If you’re offering health insurance to your team, look into the free health initiatives offered as part of the plan and relay that to your employees so they can take full advantage of their healthcare policy.

Get Everyone Involved

Wellness works best when it’s a team effort and your employees have others to hold them accountable and take the journey with them. Getting everyone on the team involved not only offers up the opportunity to build strong working relationships, but also encourages socialization and the chance to get to know coworkers better.

Smaller businesses/smaller budget: Consider sponsoring an intramural sports team for your employees that you also participate in. This will encourage getting up and active, friendly competition and bonding between you and your staff.

Larger businesses/budget: For larger companies, the CEO isn’t always as accessible to employees. When upper management joins in on the fun this not only inspires your team to get healthy, but also allows you to get to know better the various people who help your business thrive.

There are a multitude of ways you can encourage wellness in your workplace, but it all comes down to the initiatives that work best for you, your business and your team. The first step to creating any great wellness plan is to simply ask your employees what they would be interested in participating in, and start building from there.

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How Businesses can Bounce Back from the Least Productive Month of the Year

It’s no surprise that January is the least productive month of the year. It’s cold, dark and people are more prone to experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it’s right after the holidays. Employees are coming back from long vacations with loved ones, holiday parties and days spent lounging and relaxing. Jumping back into working full-time takes some adjusting and with this adjustment period, productivity just isn’t what it was.

How to Increase Your Business’ Productivity After the Post-holiday Slump:

 

Assess the State of Your Business

The starting point to begin moving past a decline in productivity is understanding what specifically needs to be improved, completed or implemented. Assessing where your company is lacking or lagging will give your employees a clear vision of their role in restoring balance to your business.

Set Priorities

It can be easy for your employees to get overwhelmed with meetings, emails and phone calls, and trying to manage everything all at once can cause assignments and deadlines to fall through the cracks. By setting priorities, your team can allow themselves the mental focus to efficiently work on important goals so they can then focus on smaller assignments.

Implement Self-care and Wellness Policies

When your employees are feeling their best, this will be reflected in their work. If your employees are running on empty, not taking care of themselves or ignoring their mental and physical needs, the work they produce will also parallel that. Implementing wellness initiatives like gym memberships, a monthly wellness allowance or team fitness goals can spark a change in the work your team completes. Encouraging employees to focus on self-care habits like getting exercise and eating healthy makes a world of difference in increasing overall productivity.

Re-establish Your Mission

After all of the time spent away from the office, it’s important to get employees back on the same page about what the company’s mission and goals are. Preparing a presentation and holding a team meeting to boost morale and reaffirm the importance of what the company and employees are working toward can put productivity back into the perspective of the larger goal.

The January productivity decrease is normal and something that happens to almost every business. This doesn’t mean it’s time to panic. By following the steps above, you can manage goals and deadlines with a comprehensive plan and refreshed outlook on how to get your business back on track.

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4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

4 Point Consulting invited to join Forbes Chicago Business Council

We’re thrilled to announce that 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and Principal Consultant, Christy Hopkins, has been asked to join Forbes Chicago Business Council! 


Chicago (January 9, 2019) — Christy Hopkins, CEO and Principal Consultant of 4 Point Consulting, a quality-driven professional services, human resources, and talent acquisition firm that works with startups, SMBs, mid-market companies, VC firms & their portfolios, has been accepted into Forbes Chicago Business Council, an invitation-only community for successful business owners and leaders in Greater Chicago.

Hopkins was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of her experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.

“We are honored to welcome Christy and 4 Point into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Chicago Business Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

As an accepted member of the Council, Christy will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum and at member events. Hopkins will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share her expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

“It’s an honor to have been selected to join this community of business professionals,” said Christy. “The professional services climate is rapidly changing, and we’re thrilled to be on the forefront as the industry evolves. I look forward to contributing with the best practices from 4 Point Consulting as well as learning from others on the council.”

ABOUT FORBES COUNCILS
Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

For more information about Forbes Chicago Business Council, visit forbeschicagocouncil.com. To learn more about Forbes Councils, visit forbescouncils.com.

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Christy Hopkins Featured in an Article on Ladders!

Man holding his hands up in a bully-free workplace

Ladders interviewed 4 Point Consulting’s CEO and founder, Christy Hopkins, about bullying in the workplace. Read the full article to find out how Christy recommends people address a bully in the workplace.

Click here to read the full article.

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Finding Talent in a Competitive Market

Two men shaking hands after recruiting top talent in a competitive market

The competition for high-quality jobs has always existed, but today’s historically low unemployment rate is causing a new set of problems for companies searching for skilled workers. These top-tier candidates are in high demand but are difficult to acquire amidst the legion of competing companies. With the trends tipping in a new direction, how can companies stand out amongst the competitive crowd to attract their desired top candidates?

They’ll need to be creative and make improvements to their internal processes and external messaging to stand out. A few practices businesses can implement are:

  1. Develop and promote an employer brand
  2. Define company culture and values
  3. Refine the onboarding process
  4. Perfect hiring procedures

Without an employer brand, prospective employees will be unable to find your job openings. Additionally, if they are unfamiliar with your company, they will be less likely to apply. Taking a strong stance on company values will act as a beacon to attract candidates that match the company’s culture in a crowded job market.

While courting potential employees, maintaining consistent communication to create a seamless onboarding process will keep the new employee engaged and excited to join the team. When these core practices are polished and implemented, top-tier candidates will be a lot easier to attract, hire and maintain.

If you’re interested in learning more about 4 Point Consulting’s services, click here to get in touch!

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How to Create a Bully-Free Workplace

Two men shaking hands in a bully-free workplace in a conference room

Though we tend to think of bullying as a problem that ends with high school, workplace bullying is an unfortunate day-to-day reality for millions of adults. According to a 2017 study by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), 19 percent of Americans are victims of bullying in the workplace. Bullies create a work environment that not only damages the health and well-being of its victims but also negatively affects a company’s bottom line.

Investopedia found that workplace bullying can negatively impact a company’s performance and reputation through reduced productivity, high employee turnover and increased legal costs. Fortunately, awareness of this issue has greatly increased in recent years, thanks to efforts such as National Bullying Prevention Month. Yet small- and medium-sized businesses still need to take steps to ensure they’re providing a safe and productive work environment for all employees.

Recognize Bullying in the Workplace

The signs of workplace bullying are often subtle and can easily be mistaken for normal work stress, allowing them to go unnoticed by many HR professionals. The WBI defines workplace bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators.” Bullies will often habitually take credit for another employees work or, conversely, shift blame to their target when things go wrong. More obvious signs of bullying include aggression, intrusion into a target’s personal space or belongings, or subjecting a target to public humiliation. Supervisors can bully subordinates by setting unrealistic expectations or purposefully pitting employees against one another. Excluding certain employees from important meetings and blocking them from opportunities for advancement are also telltale signs of office bullying.

Properly Handle Incidents of Bullying

Employees should always know they can safely report incidents of bullying to their supervisors or HR representatives. Since the federal government and many states do not have anti-bullying laws, it’s up to individual organizations to devise a strict no-bullying policy (include this information in the employee handbook). If you haven’t already, create an employee complaint form and implement a standardized practice for investigating claims. This practice should include interviewing the victim, bully and any bystanders. Ensure that the investigation process remains confidential. Once it comes time to confront the bully, you should outline the specific behaviors that the bully must change and refer back to the employee handbook to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation.

Create a Bully-Free Workplace

Rather than wait for an incident to occur, it’s best to take immediate steps to proactively foster a positive, bully-free work environment. Creating a company culture that prioritizes inclusion and celebrates diversity reduces the likelihood that a bully will be tolerated in your workplace. Implement a management training program that identifies the early signs of bullying, and include all staff on workplace civility workshops to forge respect and companionship among coworkers. For smaller organizations, dedicating time for team building exercises and social outings help to strengthen bonds and build trust. A recent study by Warwick University found that happiness makes people 12 percent more productive, proving that a happy work environment is not only better for employees, but for the organization as well.

All of this underscores the importance of creating and maintaining a bully-free workplace where all employees feel comfortable and accepted. Getting management on board with new procedures for identifying and handling workplace bullying may present its own challenges, but the long-term benefits always outweigh the potential costs.

4 Point Consulting can help you navigate these new procedures and policies. Contact us to learn more.

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How HR Saves a Company Money

An HR employee demonstrating to two people how to save money

Acquiring a human resources employee or contractor is an investment you make to improve the quality and value of your business. While adding this asset does cost money initially, the long-term payoff in adding these services will save the company untold amounts of money in the following ways:

  1. Ensuring diversification in the workforce
  2. Creating a supportive company culture
  3. Compliance of ever-changing workplace laws and regulations

Diversification in the Workforce

Today’s hiring landscape is more complicated than ever, making it more challenging to not only acquire the right talent, but to do so properly and reap its benefits.

Building a workforce that includes employees of all backgrounds has been proven to increase the all-around success of a business. To prevent improper hiring practices, assess the candidate pool to ensure the candidates are not all of the same background; examine the language and context of the listings to avoid alienating certain groups; and remove bias by implementing blind hiring or using software that hides personal information to prevent any unconscious bias.

Responsible Company Culture

One of the biggest draws in today’s recruiting practices is the overall company culture, which adds to your overall brand identity. Unfortunately, it’s often the culture that causes misconduct issues across the workplace.

Last year, a survey of 150 human resource representatives revealed that roughly one in 10 employers cancelled holiday parties, and only 47.8 percent surveyed said they would provide alcohol due to employee misconduct issues. However, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, no amount of training or post-problem investigations will help eliminate misconduct until a company chooses to invest in a “culture of civility.”

A dedicated HR professional has already acquired the proper training techniques needed to avoid a toxic culture that leads to costly lawsuits and executive firings. They can also determine how to best spend valuable company funds for proactive and preventative measures.

Maintaining Compliance

Federal, state and local employer/employee compliance laws are crucial when a company workforce is growing, but a company has to know these laws exist to comply. A high-level review of these topics is necessary for every business owner, but one must also dive into industry-specific regulations to avoid costly fines and legal actions.

One example is the Ban the Box movement, which is currently supported by 29 states. Ban the Box refers to the elimination of the box indicating criminal history, as checking this box almost always meant the individual was not going to be hired. Unfortunately, this practice too often condemns an otherwise qualified individual for a mistake they made years ago.

Additionally, accommodations for pregnant and nursing employees are gaining momentum after years of being overlooked. Legislation is working its way through government entities to protect pregnant workers on the job, similar to the Americans With Disabilities Act.

A company without an HR department is missing many opportunities and placing the business at risk. Working with a professional HR consultant will not only save a company money on employee turnover costs, but prevent potential lawsuits and increase employee satisfaction in the workplace, which in turn boosts productivity.