Walking the talk: The benefit of engaging your employees

Getting employees to feel connected and enthusiastic about their job is vital to the productivity of any organization.  The most important thing you can do as manager is to walk the talk.  How you behave says more about the truth of the company than what you say.

Engagement should begin at the interview process.  Emphasize how the company conducts business and why it matters. This helps interviewees understand what they are getting into if they are offered a position, or allow them to decide if the company’s culture is not a good fit.

When joining a company, employees should arrive with expectations that match the company’s and be able to engage in the company culture immediately.

Prospective employees will spot non-verbal cues

No matter what a manager says during the recruitment process, the interviewee will notice if there are non-verbal cues that don’t match up.  For example, if the culture is informal and collaborative, make sure the recruitment process reflects that.  Does your recruitment strategy reflect the kind of person the organization wants to attract?

If you are recruiting for an office position, make sure an office tour is part of the interview process.  This gives applicants the opportunity to experience the environment and the way in which workers interact with each other.  Additionally, create opportunities for candidates to speak with employees as well as managers so they can see for themselves your company is a great place to work.

Make sure you welcome them!  Think about what happens when you meet new people.  The experience of being introduced into a tight-knit group can be alienating.  The close bond and inside jokes can make you feel excluded.

An engaging workplace will help new staffers settle in

The same can happen within your organization.  The more engaging your workplace is, the more satisfying it will be for all employees.  New employees are more likely to feel left out, so be sure you help them settle in, join social outings and help them learn the culture as well as the practicalities of your company.

Make sure you personalize things and make connections.  Go to lunch.  Find out what matters to the employee and use that information to tailor how you manage and reward your employee.

Engagement can shift with workload, season and time of day, so don’t assume the way you managed and rewarded an employee when they start will work a year or two later.  Stay engaged with the process, and constantly looking for ways to update your approach.

Engaging employees can be time consuming.  As a manager, you will need to find the right balance.  What you will get back will be productive positive employee who sticks with you.

Also, an engaged employee is the most successful tool to retention and recruitment.  Employees who are fully engaged in your business are likely to work harder and to act as ambassadors for you.  This will become vital as the economy picks up.

Source:   SHRM.org


Debbie Strahle, Partnership Manager

Be prepared for new overtime rule affecting Direct Care Workers

On September 17, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its final rule regarding direct care workers. The change effectivy extends overtime protections to this group.

These workers, who provide essential in-home care for people who are elderly, injured, disabled, or suffering from illness, are currently exempt from the overtime rule of time-and-one-half of regular hourly wages for any hours worked over 40 in a standard, 7 day work week.  The new ruling will take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Ruling expected to affect 1.9 million workers

This ruling is widespread, affecting an estimated 1.9 million U.S. workers who provide custodial care to those people dependent on their services.  “Direct care workers play a critical role in ensuring access to high-quality home care that many people need in order to remain healthy and independent in their communities, and they should be compensated fairly for this important work.” said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in a news release announcing the change.  “We will continue to engage with consumers, states, advocates and home care providers in the implementation of this rule to help people with disabilities, older adults and their families receive quality, person-centered services,”

The DOL set the effective date for this ruling well in advance to allow third-party home care agencies enough time to adjust their staffing levels where needed and implement new policies regarding overtime scheduling.  Not only will home care agencies and their employees be affected by the ruling, consideration must also be given to those people who make use of this very important service which, in many cases, allows them to lead independent lives.

In order for agencies to remain profitable (or for non-profit agencies, be able to continue with the services they provide), they may need to limit total hours worked per week for many employees who are currently providing custodial care to one or more persons more than 40 hours per week.

Change affects continuity of care

Agencies may have to employ multiple staff members to serve each consumer to be able to provide continuity of care.  Many agencies rely on public funding to supplement payment for services.  No ruling has been given on public funding being increased to account for the increased hourly rate for overtime hours.  At this time, the same rate of payment that applies to regular hours will apply to any overtime hours worked, thus creating a shortage of funds for in home care agencies.

It is important to clarify that this ruling is directed towards those employees who work for home care agencies and other third-party employers to provide custodial care to consumers.  The ruling does not apply to in-home care workers who are employed directly by either the person requiring services, or that person’s family.  Overtime pay exemption will still apply to these workers after the Jan. 1, 2015 ruling takes effect.

The Department of Labor has created a new web portal with interactive web tools, fact sheets and other materials to help families, employers and workers understand the new requirements. These, along with information about upcoming webinars on the rule, are available at www.dol.gov/whd/homecare.

BCN Services partners with multiple in-home care agencies to provide their PEO services.  We are prepared to guide our clients, or other who would benefit from our direction, through these changes that will strongly impact a business’s operation and profit.  If your company needs help with this or other initiatives affecting your operation, contact us for assistance.  We’re here to help.




Frank Lewandowski, Partnership Manager

Investigating troublesome behaviors and considering the options

When managers call the BCN Human Resources Customer Service Center asking for help with an employee exhibiting troublesome behavior, most want the same thing: To be rid of the problem.

Each situation is different. Our representatives must ask many questions in order to assess and make a plan to either terminate the employee, or rehabilitate the employee. If an employee is exhibiting behavior that is truly troubling, termination may be the only responsible course of action.

When seeking helps as to whether termination is appropriate or not, be prepared to share the following information:

  • Has the employee been placed on suspension pending an investigation?
  • What is the most recent incident that led you to seek assistance in handling the problem?
  • What previous disciplinary action has this employee received?
  • When was the onset of the troubling behavior?
  • Were any other employees involved?
  • Did any employees witness specific behavior(s)? Can you provide us with their contact information?
  • Is there any surveillance footage or other documentation that will help us assess the situation?

When appropriate, our Human Resources Department will begin an investigation to determine what action is appropriate for a positive outcome. Our Human Resources Department will work with you to ensure that the appropriate response to troublesome behavior is handled in a timely, efficiently and legally appropriate manner.

To reach BCN’s Human Resources Customer Service Center, call (800) 891-9911 ext. 4, or email us at hr@www.bcnservices.com.


Kate Douglass (200x174)

Kate Douglass, Senior HR Generalist