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summer dress code policy

Why You Need a Summer Dress Code Policy

Before we know it, summer will be here. And as the weather starts to warm up, many of your employees may begin to dress down.  Some may even cross the line in terms of what is appropriate for the workplace. In this month’s HR Synergy blog, we discuss why you need a summer dress code policy and offer guidelines on developing one for your workplace.

Presenting a Positive Image for Your Company

Of course, you want all of your employees to present a positive image for your company. Inappropriate workplace attireespecially that which is offensive or distracting—reflects poorly on your brand. But what you consider inappropriate may seem quite acceptable to someone else. By developing a summer dress code policy, you will set clear expectations for both employees and management, and help keep things cool as the temperatures rise.

But before you can set expectations on appropriate workplace attire, you need to decide on the formality of your workplace dress code, based on the standards of your industry. Is it formal/professional, business casual, or casual?  “At many companies, this will also vary according to the amount of interaction employees have with customers,” notes HR Synergy President Michelle Gray.

Guidelines for Developing a Summer Dress Code Policy:

  1. Put Your Summer Dress Code Policy in Writing

Your summer dress code policy should be a formal document that is included in your employee handbook. Copies of the policy should be easily seen in heavily-trafficked areas, including hallways, meeting rooms, break rooms, and restrooms. “We encourage our clients to review the policy at the start of the summer season during staff meetings,” Gray notes. This ensures there is no confusion about the policy.

  1. Apply Your Summer Dress Code Equally

When writing your workplace dress code policy, be careful not to focus more on one gender than the other. “I often find that businesses tend to focus on more on female dress attire,” Gray says. To be effective, your workplace dress code policy needs to be applied equally to all employees, regardless of gender, age, or level.

  1. Be Specific

As noted, the purpose of your summer dress code policy is to set clear expectations for both employees and management. Thus, you should provide specific examples of what attire is not acceptable for your type of business. Here are some considerations and questions to get you started:

  • Parameters for dress and skirt hemlines (e.g. no more than 2 inches above the knee)
  • Pant length requirements (i.e. Are capris or shorts allowed?)
  • Attire that is not permitted, such as T-shirts, tank tops, low-cut shirts, halter tops, crop tops, sweatpants, sweatshirts, athletic wear, logo wear, jeans, or leggings
  • Reminders that all clothing should be ironed, clean, and free of holes and stains
  • Should men’s shirts be tucked in and must they have collars?
  • Are sleeveless tops allowed? Is there a minimum strap width requirement?
  • What about footwear? Are sandals and flip-flops allowed?
  • Is there a Friday “jean day” and are there any restrictions (e.g. rips and holes, color/fading, etc.)?
  • Summertime is also a good time to restate any policies your company may have around the visibility of tattoos.
  1. Explain the Consequences

Your summer dress code policy needs to state the consequences for failing to comply with it. Also, any special events or circumstances that can alter the dress code should be outlined in your policy and communicated to your employees.

summer dress code policy

 

 

 

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Whether you need help developing employee policies, improving employee communication, or increasing employee morale or productivity, the professionals at HR Synergy are here to help. Contact us today!

 

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culture of kindness in the workplace

Creating a Culture of Kindness in the Workplace

by Michelle Gray, President, HR Synergy, LLC

Workplace culture is one of the most overlooked, yet important parts of running a successful business. As an HR consultant, I observe situations everyday where employees feel burnt out and unappreciated, and wonder why they stay with their employer. Unfortunately, in many cases, these people are the most talented, loyal, and passionate employees. At a time when attracting and retaining quality employees is both difficult and costly, I have advised many of my clients to work on creating a culture of kindness in the workplace.

What is a Culture of Kindness?

To some, this concept may sound a bit fluffy. What exactly do I mean by kindness? Sure, being kind in the workplace involves caring about a co-worker’s concerns and appreciating their contributions. But it also means recognizing the humanity of a colleague:

  • Fully listening when someone speaks to you.
  • Looking the person in the eyes with genuine attention.
  • Simply acknowledging someone’s presence by saying “hello,” or sharing a casual smile.
  • Asking someone if they are feeling better.
  • Displaying thoughtfulness without expecting anything in return.
  • Pitching in when someone needs a little extra help.
  • Picking up coffee for a colleague.  

Benefits of Creating a Culture of Kindness in the Workplace

According to research conducted by psychologist Jonathan Haidt, when leaders are polite, respectful, sensitive, or willing to make sacrifices for their teams,  employees may feel more loyal and committed to their boss. Another study indicated that when leaders are fair, members of their teams collaborate better and work more productivelytogether and individually.

In their book, Leading with Kindness, authors William Baker and Michael O’Malley contend that corporate kindness positively impacts profits. They identify six qualities of kind managers—compassion, integrity, gratitude, authenticity, humility, and humor—and believe a kind management style improves employee performance and retention.

culture of kindness in the workplace

Kindness is Contagious in the Workplace

Haidt also found that employees of compassionate leaders are more likely to act in a helpful and friendly manner toward other employees, even when they had nothing to gain. Researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler have also found that if you’re kind, those around you are more likely to act kindly, too.

Kindness Must Come from the Top

As business owners and managers, we are constantly multi-tasking, focused on the “big picture” and the needs of our customers. Frequently, we forget that our employees are also our customers and our greatest asset. Creating a culture of kindness in the workplace begins with us. It has to be part of our corporate DNA. How are you creating a culture of kindness in the workplace?

Outsourced Human Resource Services

HR Synergy provides employers with assistance in all areas of HR, including coaching and consulting, recruiting and retention, employee relations, policy development, labor law compliance, benefits management. and more. Contact us today to learn how your company can benefit from HR Synergy’s experience.

How the Trump Administration May Affect Employers

How the Trump Administration May Affect Employers

Before taking office on January 20, President Donald Trump identified several employment-related actions among his administrative priorities. This has left many business owners and HR professionals wondering how the Trump administration may affect employers. Although no one can positively predict the future, here are some key areas that employers and HR professionals should be watching:

Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

One of President Donald Trump’s first moves after taking office was signing an executive order to limit what he referred to as the “burdens of the Affordable Care Act,” the first step toward fulfilling his campaign promise to dismantle the law. According to NPR health correspondent Alison Kodjak, President Trump believes the law is hurting the entire healthcare industry. She says President Trump wants to make health insurance accessible to all and ease the burden across the board—not just on individuals, but on insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and medical device-makers.  

This is obviously a sweeping mandate, and according to Kodjack, President Trump and his colleagues on Capitol Hill don’t yet seem to be on the same page about what they want. For the time being, we’ll just have to watch and wait.

Federal Overtime Rule

The Department of Labor’s Federal Overtime Rule remains on hold with an uncertain future. Some speculate that the the injunction could become permanent, while others suggest the new salary threshold may be lowered or the rule’s automatic salary increases eliminated.

Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies on January 20, ordering a freeze of federal regulations that haven’t yet gone into effect. This freeze suggests that the Trump administration may reverse the controversial overtime rules. Prior to taking office, President Trump expressed that he favors a small business exemption to the rule. He also characterized the rule as an example of “overregulation.”

While existing rules remain in place, employers will have to make their own decisions  on whether it makes sense for them to roll out any planned changes.

Minimum Wage

While on the campaign trail, President Trump supported a $10-an-hour minimum wage, but also said that states should take the lead in this area. The trend of states raising their own minimum wage rates will likely continue.

Immigration

Immigration reform was the centerpiece of President Trump’s campaign. In addition to instituting an immigrant travel ban, President Trump plans to revamp the H-1B visa program that allows highly-skilled foreigners to work at U.S. companies. According to a January 23 draft executive order, we can expect a report within the next 90 days that details the administration’s plans for allocating visas and making the program more efficient.

As part of his immigration plan, President Trump also supports requiring all employers to use E-verifyan employment eligibility verification system. Currently, over 600,000 employers already use the system.

To counteract immigration reform measures put in place by the Obama administration, President Trump may also move to cancel the work authorization granted under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Maternity Leave and Childcare

According to the Society for Human Resource Professionals, although President Trump is calling for decreased deregulation overall, he supports increased regulation in a few areas. On September 13, he unveiled a plan to enhance unemployment insurance to include six weeks of paid maternity leave, similar to California’s program. He is also is calling for increased incentives for employers to provide child care at work.

When Will Changes Take Effect?

Any administration’s changes take time to go into effect. Executive orders can quickly be reversed and regulatory changes typically undergo a notice and comment period. Of course, Congress must still originate new laws and changes to existing laws.

Help Understanding New and Changing Employer Regulations

 How the Trump Administration May Affect Employers

 

 

 

If you need help understanding new and changing employer regulations, contact the professionals at HR Synergy. Our labor law compliance experts will give you and your management team the knowledge and tools you need to comply with federal and state regulations, avoiding costly fines and penalties. Contact us today!

Changes to Federal Overtime Rules Effective Dec 1, 2016

On December 1, 2016, a revision to the overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act will take effect, requiring employers to pay overtime to workers who make less than the specified weekly salary level, which is $913. Anyone who is classified as salary exempt and paid less than the salary threshold is protected under the FLSA and eligible to receive overtime for any hours worked over 40 in a week.

Overtime is defined as one and one half times the hourly rate of pay for each particular employee. The last time this type of adjustment happened to the FLSA was in 2004, when the standard salary was only $455 a week.

Businessmen discussing paperwork in meeting

Who is affected by the overtime rule?

Employees who are classified as exempt from overtime when the Final Rule comes into effect in December will be in the spotlight; there are certain guidelines and measurements in place to make sure that the salary a worker is being paid is what the labor is actually worth. Both the standard basis test and the duties test are in place to make sure employees receive proper compensation for their work.

Anyone in the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers is eligible for the new payment standard. The only exemptions to the salary basis tests are doctors, teachers, lawyers, and those who perform primarily executive, administrative or professional duties that comply with the duties test.

What should businesses do to prepare?

Hipster Man Casually Filing In The Application Form On His Wooden Desk

Many business owners and employers already have systems and policies in place to track which employees are eligible for overtime compensation. Each individual business should have a good idea of which employees will be protected under the new Final Rule, and how their record keeping process will be adjusted to fit the new regulations. If there are State Laws that are more stringent than the FLSA, the higher standard applies for that particular situation.

Businesses have the opportunity to use different techniques to make sure employees are being paid fairly, and that any hours that are considered overtime are being compensated according to the new standards. Some considerations for making salary adjustments; maintain current salary and provide bonuses quarterly, raising salaries of eligible employees, or reducing the base salary to a level that can pay an appropriate amount in overtime so that weekly pay stays consistent.

HR Solutions & Consultation in NH

Now that we know the results of the election, certain aspects of this coming law might potentially be subject to change. It’s important for employers to stay current on labor regulations and how they affect their business over the months to come.

There are many new standards and regulations that employers must know in order to comply with the Final Rule that comes into effect on December 1st. The purpose of the FLSA Final Rule is not to make employment difficult, but to protect the employees from being taken advantage of. Let HR Synergy help you with any questions or concerns you may have about how this Final Rule will affect you and your business. We can help you prepare and navigate through the changes coming in December!