Good employers find a way to manage across generations

The two main generations of today’s workers  – Boomers and Millennials – don’t always agree on the kinds of HR-related benefits that contribute to job satisfaction.  In fact, each group has different views on retirement packages, health care, flex work schedules, supervisor/peer feedback, career advice and other benefits which affect their job satisfaction.

Keep in mind that each generation brings its own mental map to the workplace, but it is the job of a manager to understand this, develop generational intelligence, and create a plan of action. A good example would be maintaining a broader scope of benefit offerings to accommodate workers’ varying preferences, without incurring additional costs for the organization.

In the realm of health care plans, many companies are incorporating health savings accounts and higher-deductible packages into their benefits offerings shifting more responsibility for costs and control to their employees.

The key to recruiting and retaining the most valuable, young rising stars is going to be the ability for employers to create dream jobs for those superstars.  Such jobs are built on a longer-term understanding of tremendous work conditions, rewards and flexibility which begins with the interview process all the way through onboarding, or the process of welcoming a new hire into the fold.  This includes:

  • Training and mentoring
  • Setting clear objectives
  • Providing feedback often

Surprisingly, generational characteristics are based on little scientific research.  While there are certainly differences among how each of us approaches work, emerging research is starting to turn around traditional thinking about the generation gap.  When there are differences, it was observed, they are related more to age than generation.  In fact, studies conclude that all four generations share the same top work motivators of desire for continuous employment and opportunities for promotion.  All generations expect the following from their employers and their work experience:

  • Working on challenging projects
  • Receiving competitive compensation
  • Have opportunities for advancement and chances to learn and grow in their jobs
  • Be treated fairly
  • Have a good work-life balance

It is important for employers to maintain a balance and ensure that employee offerings accommodate the needs of all generations of workers.

BCN Services can help your organization develop a menu of benefits that will meet your organization’s needs and keep your employees motivated and satisfied in their jobs.

Sources:   SHRM.org, Forbes, Time

 

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Debbie Strahle, Partnership Manager

Tips for all: Respect fellow employees’ time and workspace

Does it seem sometimes that tempers are short in your office?  Are people not as patient as they could be?

Working in close proximity – particularly with people that have differing habits – can be stressful.  It’s important for everyone to be respectful of each other and it never hurts to remind people to do that.  Most people want to get along and do the job that they were hired to do.

Whether you just want to send an email reminder or adopt a policy and update your handbook, here are some ideas that many employees can rally around:

  • Be aware of how loud you speak on the telephone.
  • Don’t hold meetings in shared work areas. For conversations with three or more people, go to a conference room or a break area.
  • Don’t hold interoffice conversations on a speaker phone.  Pick up the phone when calling others.  If several people need to be included on a call, consider a conference call, or move a speaker phone conversation to a walled office or conference room.
  • Always show up on time for meetings and be respectful of other people’s time.
  • Keep meetings to the time scheduled. Don’t force the next group to stand in the hallway outside of the conference room waiting for you and your group to finish.
  • Pay attention during meetings and avoid multi-tasking, such as scrolling through emails on your smart phone or computer.
  • Don’t take your bad mood out on others.  Everyone has stresses at work.
  • Eat lunch in the cafeteria or break room. Avoid eating smelly food at your desk.
  • Stay at home when you’re sick to avoid passing germs to others.
  • Put your personal cell phone on “vibrate” mode to prevent disturbing others.
  • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne at work.
  • Ladies – don’t wear revealing clothing. Let others see your skills, not private body parts.
  • Respect your co-worker’s property (and company property).
  • Don’t take things from others without asking. Refrigerator lunch and coffee cream stealers – that means you!

When troubles do arise, don’t let your employees put you in the middle.  Employees may look to a supervisor to address issues that they don’t want to confront themselves.  Express your support for all your employees by encouraging them to try to work out their differences among themselves first.  If they would feel more comfortable with you – as the supervisor – to be there, that’s okay, but avoid taking sides.

Use these tips to help employees work through problems:

  • Don’t reciprocate bad office behavior.
  • Stay calm and don’t get emotional or angry.
  • Meet with the person in a private location and explain how his or her bad manners or behavior are affecting you.
  • If the problem continues or worsens after you’ve spoken with the offender, seek help from your manager or a representative from HR.

If you need help developing a policy for your business or need help with a specific employee situation, contact BCN Services for assistance.

 

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Sue Kester, HR Manager

Tackling the warm-weather employee dress code

Summer brings a spirit of relaxation, of freedom and of fun. While work ethics hopefully remain strong during these warm months, attitudes may change regarding issues such as dress codes, It’s a better business practice to be proactive, than reactive when helping employees understand company policies.

Outside of infringing on employees’ religious or cultural attire or any workplace safety requirements, employers should be prepared to communicate specific parameters of the spring and summer months’ dress code.

Will a relaxed dress code be implemented as soon as the weather becomes warmer, or during a set time frame (such as Memorial Day through Labor Day)? Will employees be required to continue the regular dress code when customers and clients visit the office? Will a relaxed dress code be incorporated throughout the entire week or just on Fridays? These are all questions that may need to be addressed in a dress code policy.

It is recommended that employees also receive communication (perhaps in the form of a written memorandum) addressing permissible attire as well as garments that are expressly prohibited to be worn in the workplace. Additionally (depending on the potential for issues with your dress code), asking employees to sign off on this reminder to verify that that they acknowledge receipt of the personal appearance policy may be a good business practice.

If you do not already have an employee handbook, please notify your BCN Services Partnership Manager that you would like to begin that process or, if you are not already a BCN client, contact us for assistance. An HR Generalist will be assigned to help you create a wide variety of policies, including dress code.

If you have an existing handbook and would like to update your Dress Code Policy to reflect your seasonal dress code concerns, please let your Partnership Manager know, or contact us at hr@bcnservices.com, or call (734) 994-4100, ext. 4 to reach a member of our Human Resources Customer Service Center.

For any company that values a positive public image and professionalism among its employees, a dress code makes good business sense. Proper implementation of a sufficiently detailed policy will help you navigate the additional dress code challenges that come with summer.

All of us here at BCN wish you a fun, safe and productive summer season!

 

 

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Kate Douglass, Senior Human Resource Generalist

Survive the summer heat at work and home with these tips

Survive the summer heat at work and home with these tips

Pay attention to signs that may alert you to health issues in hot weather
Summer heat can be more than uncomfortable—it can be a threat to your health, especially for older adults and children. Whatever your age, don’t let the summer heat get the best of you. There are two serious situations where heat can affect you and your health:

Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person cannot sweat enough to cool the body, usually the result of not drinking enough fluids during hot weather. It generally develops when a person is playing, working, or exercising outside in extreme heat.  Feeling thirsty means your body is on the road to becoming dehydrated, so don’t wait to drink until you are thirsty, especially if working (or exercising) outside in extreme heat. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Dizziness, weakness, nausea, headache and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Body temperature rising to 101°F
  • Sweaty skin
  • Feeling hot and thirsty
  • Difficulty speaking

A person suffering from heat exhaustion must move to a cool place and drink plenty of water.

Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is the result of untreated heat exhaustion. Symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Unawareness of heat and thirst
  • Body temperature rising rapidly to above 101°F
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Loss of consciousness or seizure

Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that must be treated quickly by a trained professional. Until help arrives, cool the person down by placing ice on the neck, armpits and groin. If the person is awake and able to swallow, give him or her fluids.

Tips for Staying Cool

  • Drink plenty of water – In hot weather, drink enough to quench your thirst. The average adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day—more during heat spells.
  • Dress for the weather – When outside, wear lightweight clothing made of natural fabrics and a well-ventilated hat.
  • Stay inside if possible – Do errands and outside chores early or late in the day.
  • Eat light – Replace heavy or hot meals with lighter, refreshing foods.
  • Think cool!  After work, take a cool shower or apply a cold compress to your pulse points.

Does your workplace have first aid materials and policies in place to assist employees who may be in distress due to extreme heat? BCN Services can help you review these and make recommendations for changes.

 

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Patrick Boeheim, Risk Manager