impactAlert: DC-Employers Must Offer Transit Benefits Starting Jan. 2016

Beginning in 2016, all Washington, DC-based employers with 20 or more employees will be required to offer transit benefits to their employees commuting into DC. This new program, passed into law by the DC City Council in 2014, takes effect January 1, 2016. Here’s how to comply:

Under the DC Commuter Benefits Ordinance, organizations (with 20+ employees) must offer their commuting staff one of these benefits starting in 2016: an employee-paid pre-tax transit benefit (employees use pre-tax funds for transit fares up to $130/month); employer-paid direct benefit (employers subsidize transit and vanpool fares for commuting up to $130/month); and employer-provided transit (such as complimentary shuttle or vanpool services to employees).

In addition, biking commuters can be reimbursed for up to $20 in expenses incurred through the year (though this benefit can’t be combined with the transit benefit package). For more information on compliance with this new program, click here.

Starting an Effective Employee Coaching Program in Five Steps

With new hiring picking up some relative steam in the Baltimore-Washington region (and across the country), it’s a good time to review your new employee orientation and job-specific training programs (e.g., ensure they’re up to date with consistent language). There’s another area that tends to get less (but much-needed) management focus: employee coaching.

The fact is employee coaching is too often a neglected and underused tool in helping employees maximize their potential at work. A business or organization leader may think coaching takes too much time and is too difficult a task to undertake. On balance, CEOs and executives can make coaching a priority and empower their management teams to build inspired, productive and loyal teams of employees.

Think of it this way: at its essence, employee coaching is about having managers and employees meet regularly to discuss and explore each employee’s career goals and development. Here are five basic steps you can take to help employees become high-performers.

Discuss the employee’s expectations of the job
Whenever a new employee is hired or an employee’s job functions change over time, always address any questions or confusion the individual may have about the job. To help confirm or clarify the employee’s perspective of the job expectations, review together a copy of the job description, department goals and company goals.

Understand the employee’s expectations of the manager
While different employees have different communication styles, learn about what each employee expects from you as a manager and come to a reasonable working agreement.

Learn about the employee’s expectations for professional growth
Some employees work just for a paycheck, while others have specific professional development interests and ambitions. Recognizing and gathering relevant resources to help support and build a plan for each individual’s interests help strengthen employee loyalty.

Give feedback about the employee’s performance
Consistent and constructive feedback becomes effective when focused on raising awareness and on improving performance results.

Get feedback about your performance
You are a manager as well as a member of a team. How well you respond to feedback from your teammates can significantly influence and drive your team’s synergy and success.

Each employee should come out of every formal and informal coaching meeting with a strong picture of both the specific performance goals to achieve and how his or her contributions impact the department and the company as a whole.

Contact us at impactHR to talk about how we can help your organization implement an employee coaching initiative.

impactHR Sponsors SmartCEO GovStar and Future50 events

The impactHR team was pround to attend and sponsor SmartCEO‘s 2015 GovStar Awards banquet held earlier this month in Reston, VA.

The GovStar program spotlights Washington, DC-area government contractors for their technology innovation, workplace environment, growth, veteran support and contributions to their industries and marketplace. Honorees were chosen by an independent committee of local Washington, DC – area business leaders who selected 45 finalists (among which was impactHR client, IntelliGenesis) and 13 ultimate winners.

impactHR also is excited to sponsor SmartCEO‘s Baltimore Future 50, an annual banquet, taking place January 21, 2016 at the Hunt Valley (MD) Inn, honoring the Baltimore region’s fastest-growing mid-size companies. Learn more

Maryland Companies Can Be Recognized for Hiring U.S. Military Veterans

For Maryland companies or organizations in a hiring phase, consider interviewing and hiring veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Through the state of Maryland’s Operation Hire program, companies and organizations are given special recognition for proactively recruiting and hiring veterans who are Maryland residents and have been honorably discharged from active duty or the reserves. In fact, veterans hiring is taking hold across the country. The national veterans unemployment has decreased to 3.9% in October 2015 – down from 4.5% a year earlier and well below the overall current unemployment rate of 5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Participation in Operation Hire is easy: just register with the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs and attend one of these two upcoming networking sessions: January 28, 2016, Farmers Insurance, Owings Mills, MD and April 26, 2016, CareFirst of MD, Inc., Cumberland, MD. Learn more

Federal Contractor Agrees to Penalties for Employment Non-Discrimination Violations 

A federal contractor, G&K Services, a MN company that provides uniform rental and facilities services, has agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for “systemic hiring and pay discrimination violations.” The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, during an investigation period from 2011 to 2015, uncovered a number of violations of federal law pertaining to federal contractor rules in regard to employment nondiscrimination and affirmative action provisions. Learn more

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Our best wishes to you for a very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at impactHR!