The Employment Law Department here at Antheil Maslow & MacMinn wishes a Happy New Year to all of our clients. In the interest of making this year the best it can be, we offer the following New Year’s resolutions for employers:
1. Resolve to document:
Document everything: employee successes, employee’s failures to meet expectations, attendance, complaints, suggestions, and anything that may be of significance to the employee or the workplace. This is good risk management for employers. For employees, it is a fundamental aspect of workplace fairness, and prevents the situation where an employee may be caught off guard by a particular decision of the employer.
A corollary to this resolution is to make documentation easy. For example, managers can use email, which will include a date and time stamp, be maintained on company servers, and creates an electronic paper trail. Managers are more likely to comply with a simple system.
2. Resolve to retain key employees:
We spend much of our day talking about restrictive covenants – agreements not to compete or solicit customers and employees after the termination of employment. We draft them, read them, counsel employees and employers about them. While these agreements are important to protect the employer, they will not help employers keep their stars. Instead, employers should ensure a positive workplace, where key employees know that they are appreciated. Some ways to accomplish this: fair compensation and benefit programs; attainable equity or bonus programs; realistic work-life balance policies; and recognition of employee successes. It is also worthwhile to recognize that “stars” exist at every level in an organization: the top salesperson and the reliable receptionist both contribute to the success of the business.
3. Resolve to cultivate the culture:
This resolution will help with resolution 2, but is important in its own right. How are managers communicating with employees? Are they fair, professional and clear? Are you looking the other way on unprofessional or inappropriate conduct? Do you ever say “That’s just (insert name here)” about a particular manager?
What we learned in 2017 is that it is folly to look the other way on a toxic workplace culture: it wastes time, pulls focus from work, results in bad press and litigation, and chases away good employees.
A focus on these three resolutions will help lower risk and ensure a compliance workplace. Feel free to contact us to help accomplish these resolutions.