impactnews: Janette Hunt, former Director of HR with Federal Contractor, Joins impactHR- 04/26/2018

Janette Hunt, an HR professional with significant experience in the federal contractor community, has joined the impactHR team as Senior Consultant.

Janette Hunt, Senior Consultant, impactHR

Hunt is an executive-level HR professional with more than 20 years experience in organizational development, C-suite support and relationship building. She has recognized success in the design, creation and implementation of organizational development strategies, operational programs and corporate policy aimed at improving overall business function, growth and continuity.

Hunt previously served as Director of HR for a Maryland-based federal government contractor. Hunt’s responsibilities covered all aspects of the company’s HR department, including organizational development, payroll systems, timekeeping and reporting, employee benefits, employee relations, talent acquisition and on-boarding, conflict resolution, compensation, accounting, expense reporting and employee training.

Hunt holds a BS in Labor Employment Relations and Organizational Leadership from The Pennsylvania State University (2018) and is currently pursuing her MPS in Human Resource Employment Relations also at Penn State. Hunt also is the current president and founding member of the Penn State World Campus – Virtual SHRM Student Chapter. Learn more about Janette

impactAlert: EEO-1 Survey Filing Deadline Extended to June 1

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last week extended the filing deadline for the 2017 EEO-1 Survey to Friday, June 1, 2018.

All employers with 100 or more employees must complete and submit, by this new date, the standard EEO-1 form – which is the EEOC’s demographic survey that categorizes employees by race or ethnicity, gender, and job category.

The EEOC prefers that employers file online. When doing so, be sure to click the “certify report” button (otherwise, the EEOC will not receive your report). Learn more about the EEO-1 Survey

Violence in the Workplace: Implementing Practical Prevention Tactics

With recent incidents of mass shootings across the US, general societal violence is an issue the public and policymakers continue to grapple with.

But what about violence in the workplace? The good news is that incidents of workplace homicide have declined by 64% since 1994, according to data discussed at a conference, held earlier this month at Carroll Community College, titled “Workplace Violence: Deterring and Surviving an Attack.”

Defined as violence or the threat of violence directed at someone on duty or at work, workplace violence remains generally rare. Yet it is an important “subset of crime” considering how much time Americans spend in their workplaces, according to the US Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime.

As it stands, nearly 17,000 private-sector workers across the country experienced trauma – and missed significant days off at work – from nonfatal workplace violence in 2016, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Of these victims, 70% were female; 67% were age 25 to 54; and 70% worked in the healthcare and social assistance industry.

In addition, 500 workers were victims of workplace homicide in 2016, of whom 82% were male; 69% were age 25 to 54; and 31% worked in retail, according to the BLS.

With this in mind, what are some practical steps companies and organizations of all sizes, particularly small and medium-size, can take to prevent workplace violence? According to Retired Lt. Walter Eugene Gunter, State of Maryland’s Department of General Services Police, employers should provide training that includes encouraging employees to come forward and report violent or threatening behavior by coworkers (many incidents are believed to go unreported).

In addition, Gunter says employers should train employees to be aware of warning signs and risk factors in a co-worker’s behavior that can help prevent an incident.

For example, Gunter says an employee’s response to a situation of a co-worker’s escalating poor behavior is “often the key to avoiding a physical confrontation with someone who has lost control of their emotions, language, attitude, behavior and even his or her ability to think clearly.”

Gunter recommends a suite of “de-escalation techniques” including: be empathetic to a person who’s acting dangerously; be respectful of the person’s personal space (stay more than three feet away); maintain a relaxed demeanor before this person, remaining calm, rational and professional; and ignore any challenging or provoking questions by the person.

In addition, employers can help prevent workplace violence by taking steps that include:

  • Putting in place job-site security measures such as employee identification badges and locked entrances
  • Reducing employee stress by managing performance with ongoing evaluations, providing fair and consistent policies for terminations and acknowledging employees’ contributions to the organization
  • Reviewing hiring practices to ensure background checks are conducted when needed and avoiding negligent hiring practices

To be sure, employers have an obligation to provide a workplace that is safe and secure while employees have an obligation to comply with their organization’s standards regarding behavior and safety.

If you have questions about this and related issues concerning employee training and development, please contact impactHR via email at info@impacthrllc.com or phone 443-741-3900.

MD is Tops in the Nation for Wage Growth

Average hourly earnings rose nearly seven percent in Maryland – the highest percentage increase among all the states – from February 2017 to February 2018, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Maryland’s average hourly wage rose from $27.79 to $29.67 (6.8% increase) during this time period for all private-sector employees. The District of Columbia came in second in the nation with a private-sector average hourly wage increase from $39.89 to $42.42 (6.3% increase). Rounding out the top five in average wage growth are Alaska, Georgia and Wisconsin.

The bottom five states that saw the lowest wage growth are: Mississippi, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Virginia and Idaho. Learn more

Implementing a Cost-Efficient Wellness Program in Your Workplace

With warmer weather here, it’s hard to miss seeing more people spending time outside. The benefits of being active for all of us are well understood in improving our overall health and positive outlook in daily activities.

With this in mind, what can you do in your workplace to help your employees adopt or maintain more healthy lifestyles? This is a particularly important question for small and medium-size organizations, which tend to have lower rates of wellness program adoption.

According to a recent RAND Corporation study, roughly four-fifths of large US employers (1,000+ employees) offer wellness programs, such as providing health risk assessments, lifestyle management and chronic disease management programs. The RAND survey, however, found that only one-third of smaller employers (50 to 100 employees) offer wellness programs.

The benefits of these programs include boosting employee morale; increasing productivity; reducing health care costs; improving employee well-being; lowering absenteeism rates; and helping to retain and attract employees, according to an Austin Benefits Group study.

For smaller companies and organizations, there are a range of cost-effective wellness program activities to consider for your teams, including:

  • Have a local health care provider or public health-related non-profit organization present to your employees on ways to build more healthy lifestyles
  • See if your health care insurance carrier offers free health risk assessments for employees
  • Make your workplace site smoke-free
  • Provide onsite flu shots or do so in partnership with other organizations
  • Recommend employees go outside for walks during lunch or breaks
  • Encourage employees to take the stairs rather than the elevator to get to their offices or work sites

If you have questions or need assistance on developing wellness programs in your organization, please contact impactHR via email at info@impacthrllc.com or phone 443-741-3900.

MD Approves Tax Credits for Small Businesses Providing Paid Leave

The Maryland General Assembly, earlier this month, approved legislation that creates state income tax credits for small businesses that provide paid safe and sick leave to their employees.

The measure, which MD Governor Larry Hogan (R) is expected to sign into law, allows small businesses with 14 or fewer employees to receive a tax credit of up to $500 per qualified employee who earns $30,000 or less a year and receives one of the following benefits:

  • Paid safe and sick leave
  • A qualified transportation fringe
  • A dependent care assistance program
  • An educational assistance program
  • Employer contributions to health savings accounts

The measure was introduced in response to enactment earlier this year of Maryland’s paid sick and safe leave law, known as the “Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (MHWFA).” The MHWFA requires businesses with at least 15 workers to provide five paid sick and safe leave days per year.

The Small Business Relief Tax Credit bill (SB 134) is slated to go into effect July 1, 2018 pending Governor Hogan’s approval.

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