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Middle Managers Series: Support Middle Managers in a Hybrid Workplace

Empowering the Middle: How HR Can Support Middle Managers in a Hybrid Workplace

This month we conclude our Middle Manager Series exploring How HR Can Support Middle Managers in a Hybrid Workplace.

As organizations adapt to hybrid workplace models, the role of middle managers has become increasingly complex and challenging. Middle managers often find themselves balancing the demands of senior leadership while leading their teams through significant transitions. Recent research highlights that this challenge is intensifying; a survey by Slack Technologies’ Future Forum revealed that 43% of middle managers report burnout, the highest among all job levels. Despite their teams benefiting from workplace flexibility, middle managers feel less connected to their companies, experience poor work/life balance, and face high stress and anxiety levels, exacerbated by responsibilities like returning teams to physical workplaces amidst employee resistance. To help them succeed, HR Synergy can play a crucial role in providing the support and resources these managers need. Let’s explore how.

 

Support for middle managers is crucial. Granting middle managers more decision-making power can alleviate stress and enhance job satisfaction. Enhancing their authority and influence, providing necessary resources, and restructuring their role as leadership-focused can alleviate some stress. Additionally, improving the relationship between HR and middle managers is essential. HR must actively listen to middle managers, seeking and valuing their feedback to understand their unique challenges. Regular check-ins and open communication channels create a psychologically safe environment. HR should validate managers’ experiences and provide training on managing hybrid environments, ensuring middle managers feel supported and heard. 

 

Effective leadership development is another critical area. Leadership in a hybrid environment requires specific skills. Programs should offer relevant, timely, and actionable content, accessible regardless of work location. HR Synergy can provide targeted training programs that focus on managing remote teams, conflict resolution, and communication. 

 

Coaching, historically reserved for C-suite executives, can be extended to middle managers to help them adopt new mindsets and prepare for senior roles. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology can facilitate matching managers with suitable coaches or mentors, enhancing the development process. 

 

Peer support is also vital. Middle managers often feel isolated, caught between senior leaders and their teams. Building tight peer groups and creating support networks can help them rely on each other for support and share solutions to common problems. Cohort-based leadership development programs and regular meetings focused on middle managers can foster these connections. Senior leaders participating in these groups can further strengthen relationships and ensure middle managers feel seen and valued, reducing the risk of resignations and disengagement. Leadership development, coaching, and peer support programs equip middle managers with the tools they need to lead confidently and effectively.

 

A sense of disconnect emerges when individuals feel unnoticed and undervalued, leading to resignations and ‘quiet quitting.’ HR Synergy can help you address this disconnect by fostering stronger relationships with middle managers and creating opportunities for them to bond with senior leaders and each other. Supporting middle managers in a hybrid workplace is essential for organizational success. By providing validation, training, empowerment, and fostering connections, HR Synergy can help middle managers navigate their complex roles with confidence and ease.

Contact us for more information about MANAGER TRAININGS WE OFFER.

Stay tuned for our NEW SERIES: The Life-Cycle of the Employee next month…

July 2024 Calendar

July Calendar

July is Picnic Month and UV Safety Month.

Mid-Year Review: Take some time to review goals, identify items that need more work, and celebrate wins. Also, this time of year is a great opportunity to remind employees to take advantage of their benefits.

July 4 Independence Day
July 21 National Ice Cream Day *check out our recipe
July 31 Form 5500 is due (for calendar year plans)
July 31 Form 5558 is due (for calendar year plans)
July 31 Quarterly Forms 720 and 941 are due
July 31 Compliance check.

This is time to review benefits notices, or issued as required

Client ALERT: USDOL’s Overtime Rule Changes

On April 23, 2024, the USDOL issued a Final Rule that will raise the minimum salary level for exempt employees and increase the total compensation minimum for highly compensated employees (HCEs). The new rule also introduces a mechanism to update these thresholds every three years. Despite potential legal challenges that may delay implementation, employers should review and adjust current salaries to ensure compliance with the new minimums.

Overtime Rule Changes post-its
Overtime Rule Changes

The rule’s journey began in Fall 2023 when the USDOL proposed changes to the federal wage law overtime exemption requirements. These proposed changes were open for public comment until November 8, 2023. During the comment period, concerns were raised about the substantial 65% increase and its impact on businesses during a tough economic period. To ease the transition, the USDOL adopted a two-step compliance approach, raising salary thresholds on July 1, 2024, and January 1, 2025.

 

 

 

 


The USDOL estimates that about 1 million currently exempt workers earn below the new $43,888 threshold and another 3 million earn less than $58,656. Employers must either raise salaries to meet the new minimum levels or reclassify these employees as non-exempt and eligible for overtime pay. While legal challenges are anticipated, similar to those in 2016, the outcome is uncertain. Therefore, employers should review current exemptions to avoid potential misclassification liabilities.

Employers should ensure exempt employees are paid at least the current minimum salary and that their job duties align with the exempt categories. For those who do not meet the duties test or new salary levels, employers need to confirm work schedules, communicate overtime eligibility, and review timekeeping, meal break, and overtime approval policies. Additionally, managers and supervisors should be trained on monitoring work hours and timekeeping.

Employers operating in multiple states should also consider varying state wage laws, which may have higher minimum salaries for overtime-exempt employees, to avoid unfavorable wage audits or claims. Compliance with both the FLSA Final Rule and state laws is crucial for reducing legal risks.

Reach out to us at HR Synergy with questions.

Middle Managers Series: Developing Management

Management is the vital link between organizational leaders and rank-and-file employees, ensuring goals are achieved efficiently. Managers can ascend through different paths, either internally or externally, and must possess essential knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to be able to achieve organizational goals and engage employees. Lacking these KSAs, managers will need basic or advanced training, depending on their place within an organization.

Management development is the systematic process of fostering effective managers, involving rigorous academic and practical training. Key competencies include recognizing individual differences, communication, and conflict resolution. It involves providing training, guidance, and support to individuals in managerial roles to enhance their knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) necessary for successful leadership.

Woman listening

Effective managers translate leadership objectives into actionable plans, playing a crucial role in employee performance and organizational success. Management development is crucial for organizational success as well as the growth and effectiveness of managers. Well-trained managers can have a significant impact on employee performance and morale, help revitalize unmotivated employees, and serve as translators between different levels and groups within the organization. Additionally, in the face of emerging trends such as globalization and demographic shifts, skilled managers are essential for navigating complexities and driving innovation. However, many organizations overlook management development, leading to issues such as unprepared new managers and resistance to development efforts.

Typical issues in management development include the promotion of individuals into managerial roles without adequate training or support, leading to difficulties in transitioning from individual contributor to manager. Other challenges include inconsistency in enforcing company policies, resistance from managers to acknowledge weaknesses and participate in development programs, and organizational discrepancies between stated values and actual practices.

Challenges in management development include the lack of resources allocated to development efforts, resistance from managers to acknowledge and address their development needs, and the perception of development initiatives as punishment rather than support. Overcoming these challenges requires systematic and ongoing efforts to identify and address individual and organizational barriers to effective management development.

Creating a robust management development strategy involves assessing current skill levels, identifying future development needs, aligning development efforts with organizational goals, and providing ongoing support and guidance to managers. This process requires careful planning, evaluation, and adjustment to ensure that development initiatives are effective and sustainable.

Management development programs typically cover a wide range of topics, including leadership and supervision skills, communication, business acumen, industry-specific knowledge, and organizational culture and values. These programs may include formal training sessions, workshops, coaching, mentoring, and experiential learning opportunities tailored to the needs and interests of individual managers.

Careers in management development include roles such as training and development managers, training and development specialists, and industrial-organizational psychologists. Professionals in these roles are responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating management development programs to enhance the skills and effectiveness of managers within organizations.

Contact us for more information about MANAGER TRAININGS WE OFFER.

 

Sign up for our MIDDLE MANAGERS TRAINING! 4th Thursday of the month. Upcoming trainings June 27, July 25 3-4pm.


Read more from our MIDDLE MANAGERS SERIES:

The challenges faced by middle managers

Some key managers’ desires and potential solutions

How to explain HR to managers

1st-time managers often are ill-prepared for their new role

Caring for Caregivers: A Manager’s Guide to Supporting Employees in Their Caregiving Roles

Tips for New Managers Who Are Now Supervising Their Former Peers

Managing Difficult Employees and Disruptive Behaviors: A Comprehensive Guide for HR Professionals

Developing Management

Empowering the Middle: How HR Can Support Middle Managers in a Hybrid Workplace

June 2024 Calendar

June Calendar

June is Pride Month and National Safety Month.

Mid-Year Review: Take some time to review goals, identify items that need more work, and celebrate wins. Also, this time of year is a great opportunity to remind employees to take advantage of their benefits.

June 10-16 International Men’s Health Week
June 12 The Invention of Baseball
June 16 Father’s Day
June 19 Juneteenth
June 20 1st Day of Summer
June 30 Q2 Ends

May 2024 Calendar

May Calendar

May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month.

May 5 Cinco De Mayo
May 6-12 Nurses Week
May 6-10 Teacher Appreciation Week
May 12 Mother’s Day
May 12-18 National Women’s Health Week
May 15 Form 990 is due
May 17 Bike to Work Day
May 27 Memorial Day

March 2024 calendar

MARCH Calendar

March is National Women’s History and National Ethics Awareness Month.

March 1 HIPAA Breach Notification

Forms 1095-B and 1095-C are due to be furnished to recipients

Creditable Coverage Disclosure due to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

March 10 Daylight Saving Time Begins
March 14 Pi Day
March 15 S Corp (Form 1120-S) and Partnership (Form 1065) Tax Returns due
March 17 St. Patrick’s Day
March 19 – April 8 March Madness
March 19 First Day of Spring
March 31 Easter

Q1 ends 

Form 1099-MISC due if reporting NEC in box 7

Deadline to file Form 1099s electronically

 

HR Synergy Client Scenarios

Mastering Presence: Training for Workplace Engagement

Scene: A well-lit conference room with a projector screen and chairs arranged for a presentation 

In a dynamic corporate setting, our team at HR Synergy is committed to enhancing workplace effectiveness. With this goal in mind, we designed a comprehensive training program titled “Being Present in the Workplace.”

[Cut to a scene of the training materials being prepared, with slides and handouts neatly organized]

HR Synergy consultant: Our training program focuses on cultivating presence in the workplace, empowering managers to engage their teams with intention and purpose.

[The scene transitions to a conference room filled with attentive managers, ready to absorb the training]

HR Synergy consultant: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. We’re here to explore the concept of being present in the workplace and understand its benefits for both managers and employees.

[The training delves into the importance of presence, emphasizing its role in reducing errors, improving efficiency, and minimizing stress and anxiety]

HR Synergy consultant: By mastering presence, managers not only enhance their own performance but also create a more supportive and productive environment for their teams. Employees feel valued when they know their managers are fully engaged and attentive.

[Interactive activities and discussions ensue, allowing participants to reflect on their current level of presence and identify areas for improvement]

Manager: I never realized how much being present could impact not just my own performance, but also the morale and productivity of my team. I’m eager to implement these strategies in my daily interactions.

[The training concludes with a sense of empowerment and enthusiasm among the participants]

As the training draws to a close, managers leave with newfound insights and practical strategies to implement in their roles. By embracing presence in the workplace, they not only enhance their leadership effectiveness but also foster a culture of engagement and empowerment among their teams.

[Fade out with a visual of managers discussing and strategizing together, inspired by the training they’ve received from HR Synergy]

Need trainings for your organization? Our trainings aim to empower managers to engage their teams with intention and purpose. Through interactive sessions, managers learn the importance of presence in reducing errors, improving efficiency, and minimizing stress. Participants leave the training feeling inspired and equipped with practical strategies to foster a culture of engagement and empowerment among their teams. Take the first step towards a more effective management team today with HR Synergy. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your organization’s success.


Turning the Tide: Revamping Management Practices

Recently we assisted a CEO in order to determine the best approach with addressing performance issues within the management team. The lack of managing their employees and being accountable resulted in high turnover and significant loss of revenue to the organization. We agreed the first step would include training for the management team to help build their confidence to have difficult conversations with employees without fear of losing them.

Scene: The boardroom of a bustling corporate headquarters

[The CEO sits at the head of the table, flanked by the members of the management team. Tension hangs in the air as they prepare to tackle the pressing issue of declining performance and high turnover rates.]

CEO: [Addressing the team] Thank you all for being here today. It’s no secret that we’ve been facing significant challenges with employee turnover and performance. It’s time for us to confront these issues head-on and make some necessary changes.

Management Team: [Nods in agreement, acknowledging the severity of the situation]

CEO: After careful consideration and consultation, we’ve identified a critical factor contributing to these challenges: the lack of effective management practices within our teams. We need to equip ourselves with the skills and confidence to address performance issues proactively and constructively.

HR Synergy Consultant: That’s where I come in. I’ve been working closely with the CEO to devise a plan to address these challenges. Our first step will be to provide comprehensive training for the management team to enhance your ability to manage and lead effectively.

Management Team: [Expresses interest, albeit with some apprehension]

HR Synergy Consultant: This training will focus on several key areas, including communication skills, conflict resolution, performance management, and fostering a culture of accountability. We’ll provide you with the tools and strategies to have difficult conversations with your teams, address performance issues, and provide meaningful feedback without fear of alienating or losing valuable employees.

CEO: [Emphasizing the importance] It’s crucial that we create an environment where employees feel supported and valued, but also where accountability is upheld. This training will not only benefit our teams but also contribute to our overall success as an organization.

Management Team: [Nods in agreement, recognizing the necessity of the proposed training]

CEO: Let’s commit ourselves to this process wholeheartedly. By investing in our management practices, we can turn the tide on these challenges and propel our organization toward greater success.

[The meeting concludes with a sense of determination and purpose as the management team prepares to embark on their journey toward improved management practices and organizational success.]

Don’t let lack of management result in high employee turnover. Take the first step towards a more effective management team today with HR Synergy. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your organization’s success.


Addressing Management Performance Challenges

Scene: A bustling corporate office, with executives and HR Synergy professionals engaged in a discussion

Are you struggling with high turnover rates and revenue loss due to performance issues within your management team? We at HR Synergy understand the challenges you’re facing, and we’re here to help.

[HR Synergy Team enters the scene, ready to offer solutions]

HR Synergy consultant: At HR Synergy, we’ve collaborated closely with clients just like you to address these pressing issues head-on. Our tailored approach involves working hand-in-hand with your team to determine the best strategies for tackling performance issues and fostering a culture of accountability.

The Problem:

  • High turnover rates
  • Significant loss of revenue
  • Lack of follow-through and accountability within the management team

HR Synergy consultant: Our Solution: Through extensive consultation and collaboration with your organization, we’ve developed a comprehensive training program designed to empower your management team to address performance issues effectively. We focus on building confidence and equipping your managers with the skills they need to have difficult conversations with employees, without the fear of losing them.

Key Features of Our Training Program:

  • Customized Approach: We understand that every organization is unique. That’s why we customize our training program to address the specific challenges faced by your management team.
  • Practical Strategies: Our training sessions are filled with practical tips and techniques that your managers can immediately implement in their day-to-day interactions with employees.
  • Role-Playing Exercises: We believe in learning by doing. Through role-playing exercises, we provide a safe space for your managers to practice having difficult conversations and receive constructive feedback.
  • Ongoing Support: Our commitment to your success doesn’t end with the training session. We provide ongoing support and guidance to ensure that your management team members continue to grow and excel in their roles.

The Results: By investing in our training program, you can expect to see:

  • Improved employee morale and engagement
  • Reduced turnover rates
  • Increased productivity and profitability for your organization

[Cut to a scene of motivated managers ready to take action]

Don’t let performance issues hold your organization back any longer. Take the first step towards a more effective management team today with HR Synergy. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your organization’s success.

Middle Managers Series: Managing Difficult Employees and Disruptive Behaviors: A Comprehensive Guide for HR Professionals

Sign up for our MIDDLE MANAGERS TRAINING! 4th Thursday of the month. Upcoming trainings June 27, July 25 3-4pm.

Employee morale, productivity, and customer service thrive in environments where teamwork and mutual respect are practiced. However, disruptive behaviors among employees can undermine these factors, leading to negative consequences for your organization and potential legal liabilities. While employers must respect employees’ rights to concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), they must address behaviors that undermine collegiality and professionalism. Together, let’s address common difficult and disruptive behaviors, highlight risk to your organization if left unaddressed, and provide suggestions for managing the performance of individuals exhibiting these behaviors constructively.

Common disruptive behaviors include gossiping, incivility, bullying, and insubordination. These behaviors can lead to decreased productivity, increased turnover, and legal expenses. HR Synergy professionals can play a vital role in training you how to address these behaviors by providing guidance, training, and conflict resolution assistance to managers.

Disruptive behaviors in the workplace have wide-ranging impacts, including decreased productivity, performance, and employee commitment, as well as damage to company reputation. These behaviors can lead to increased turnover costs, sick leave usage, disability claims, and legal expenses. Toxic behaviors can spread, affecting your entire organization’s culture and morale. A 2017 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute revealed alarming statistics, including high rates of bullying and awareness of abusive conduct in the workplace. Many bullies are in positions of authority, and targets often suffer adverse health effects, leading to a significant percentage leaving their jobs. Addressing workplace bullying requires a top-down approach, as offenders often hold higher job statuses than targets. Additionally, employers must be vigilant about employee use of social media, as it can perpetuate bullying and damage the company’s reputation if negative postings go viral. Swift action is necessary when such incidents come to light.

 

HR Synergy professionals are vital in training managers how to deal with difficult employees. We can act as business partners, offering guidance and training. HR Synergy’s trainings help managers recognize and address issues, especially interpersonal ones that they may avoid. By identifying problems and strategizing solutions, HR Synergy’s trainings aid in conflict resolution early on, contributing to a broader organizational strategy aimed at preventing workplace violence.

 

Managers and colleagues often hesitate to address disruptive behaviors out of fear of retribution or because they feel unprepared for difficult conversations. Some managers may avoid taking action due to concerns about losing a valuable staff member or because they rationalize their inaction with various excuses. However, ignoring the problem only allows it to worsen, as the disruptive individual may perceive tolerance as acceptance. Managers may inadvertently enable problem behavior by working around the issue or playing favorites. Addressing disruptive behaviors early is essential to preventing escalation and maintaining a positive workplace culture. It’s crucial for managers to investigate complaints and take prompt, appropriate action to prevent further recurrence. Failure to address disruptive behavior not only condones unprofessional conduct but also exposes your organization to potential legal liabilities.

 

Dealing with difficult employees and disruptive behaviors requires proactive strategies. Strategies for managing difficult employees include training, providing honest feedback, documenting behaviors, and following disciplinary policies. Providing training in people management and conflict resolution equips managers to address issues effectively. Facilitating teamwork activities and civility training can promote a respectful workplace culture. Listening to employees’ concerns and providing honest feedback are essential for addressing disruptive behaviors. Managers should document incidents and follow disciplinary policies consistently. Clear communication of expectations and consequences ensures accountability. Ultimately, employees are responsible for adjusting their behavior to align with organizational expectations.

 

Clear communication of expectations and regular follow-up are crucial for sustaining behavioral improvements. Corporate codes of conduct and labor agreements typically mandate treating each other with dignity and professionalism while prohibiting harassment and discrimination. However, it’s crucial to ensure these policies don’t infringe on employees’ Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act, which protect their ability to engage in concerted activity regarding employment terms and conditions. Legal review of conduct policies is advisable due to evolving interpretations. Clear communication of expectations helps employees distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, fostering a respectful work environment.

 

The cost of workplace bullying and disruptive behaviors can be assessed through various metrics including turnover rates, employee engagement levels, commitment to the organization, job satisfaction, productivity levels, work quality, and estimated lost work hours. These indicators provide insights into the financial and cultural impact of such behaviors on the organization.

 

While workplace bullying is unacceptable, federal law does not explicitly prohibit it unless it is tied to discrimination. Some states have introduced anti-bullying legislation to address this issue. Overall, creating a respectful workplace culture requires proactive management and adherence to legal standards.

 

Effectively managing difficult employees and disruptive behaviors is essential for maintaining a positive and productive workplace environment. By identifying problem behaviors early, fostering a culture of respect, providing training and support to managers, and following proactive communication and disciplinary procedures, HR Synergy professionals can help you mitigate the impact of disruptive behaviors and promote a healthy work environment for all employees.

Contact us for more information about MANAGER TRAININGS WE OFFER.

 

Sign up for our MIDDLE MANAGERS TRAINING! 4th Thursday of the month. Upcoming trainings June 27, July 25 3-4pm.


Read more from our MIDDLE MANAGERS SERIES:

The challenges faced by middle managers

Some key managers’ desires and potential solutions

How to explain HR to managers

1st-time managers often are ill-prepared for their new role

Caring for Caregivers: A Manager’s Guide to Supporting Employees in Their Caregiving Roles

Tips for New Managers Who Are Now Supervising Their Former Peers

Managing Difficult Employees and Disruptive Behaviors: A Comprehensive Guide for HR Professionals

Developing Management

Empowering the Middle: How HR Can Support Middle Managers in a Hybrid Workplace

April 2024 Dates

April Calendar

April is National Humor Month.

April 1 Forms 1094-C/1095-C e-filing deadline
April 1 April Fool’s Day
April 2 Autism Awareness Day
April 15 Tax Day 

Form 8928 due

Form 7004 due 

April 22 Earth Day
April 24 Administrative Professionals Day
April 25 World Penguin Day
April 30 Quarterly Forms 720 and 941 due