impactnews: The Business Case for Crafting Effective Job Descriptions

Don’t overlook the importance of your company’s job descriptions. They serve multiple purposes, but generally operate as a 1) workforce management tool to define employees’ roles and responsibilities and 2) to recruit candidates for open positions.

Ultimately, the development of clear, well-defined job descriptions for every role in your organization serves a number of major business goals, including:

*Recruitment: To attract “best fit” candidates for open positions, the job description should be re-written into a “job posting.” The posting (or ad) is a succinct, distilled explanation of the open position (derived from your formal job description) with marketing language that promotes the company and its vision/mission.

*Onboarding: You’ve made your hire and are welcoming a new employee into your company. In the onboarding process, go over the job description (and other details as part of their new employment packet) with your new employee. Make sure your new hire signs off on their job description as part of their job contract (which should contain standard disclaimer language on at-will employment plus equal-opportunity employment protections).

*Performance management: job descriptions should detail how you and your managers will establish accountability for your employees and expectations of their growth and success. For each role in your company, its corresponding job description should exist as a living document and be updated regularly. Review these descriptions with each employee as part of their review process and make needed adjustments to align the company’s needs with employees’ skills.

*Evaluating reasonable accommodations: Be sure to include specific information about physical job requirements and working conditions in your job descriptions. In the event an employee requests a reasonable accommodation or is returning to work after a medical leave, this information will be used by healthcare providers to evaluate an employee’s return to work, with or without restrictions, or to request reasonable accommodations for your consideration.

impactAction: Job descriptions should detail clearly the position’s title, overtime status (exempt or non-exempt under the FLSA), essential functions, skills and qualifications needed to conduct the work, plus physical demands and the job’s specific work environment.
All told, job descriptions aid in setting the tone for a company’s culture and performance expectations, helping to define an organization’s brand.

If you’d like to learn more about developing effective job descriptions for your employees, contact us at or call 443-741-3900.

CEO Report Selects impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell for Annual Women’s Leadership Award

Kelly Mitchell, Principal, impactHR

impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell has been named a “2018 Mid-Atlantic Women’s Leadership Award” winner by CEO Report.

CEO Report, a media and networking company that serves to connect business communities in several major US cities, established its Women’s Leadership Awards program to honor women executives who are moving their companies and communities forward together.

This year’s Mid-Atlantic award winners will be honored at a gala on October 10 at the Down Town Club in Philadelphia. For its annual award, CEO Report is honoring 50 women business leaders throughout the Mid-Atlantic region who are building successful businesses and devoting their time and energy to improving the well-being of their communities.

Mitchell and her fellow honorees are being recognized as “trailblazers in business” while standing out for “being passionate about philanthropy and inspiring up and coming leaders,” according to James McDonald, CEO Report President and CEO.

“I’m very pleased to be one of the winners of CEO Report’s 2018 Mid-Atlantic Women’s Leadership Award,” says Mitchell. “More than anything, I’m in awe of all of the women leaders who have been selected by CEO Report for this award. Their dedication to growing businesses while working to strengthen their communities is an inspiration. It certainly is an honor for me to be among this distinguished group of leaders.” Read more

How Much is Workplace Conflict Costing Your Business?

Can we eliminate workplace conflict, as distinct from workplace violence, between employees? Probably not. It’s a fact of life that conflict, often rooted in relatively small issues and disagreements between co-workers, will happen.

To be sure, workplace tensions and conflict can add significantly to employees’ stress levels, undermining their abilities to be fully productive and happy in their jobs.

In addition, conflict between employees costs money. Some of the costs are obvious, like quality problems that arise when employees perform their job duties rooted in anger with colleagues instead of acting cooperatively with them.

Other costs are more hidden, such as employee sabotage and the impact of conflict on decision-making. Conflict has key effects not just on productivity, but also decision-making and retention. The current #MeToo movement adds another dynamic in regard to the need to mitigate workplace conflict.

As it stands, U.S. employees spend 2.1 hours per week involved with conflict, resulting in roughly $359 billion in paid hours, according to a study by CPP Inc. This study defined conflict as “any workplace disagreement that disrupts the flow of work.”
This report also found 85% of employees deal with conflict on various levels with 49% saying conflict is due specifically to personality clashes and “warring egos.”

The ability to manage conflict is a critical skill in today’s workplace: many organizations have identified it as a core competency for managers. Here are several tips to help reduce employee conflict and to foster more collaboration and teamwork:

  • Consider holding conflict management and dispute resolution training for your employees. Next, document fully that you held training programs (e.g., provide sign-up sheets for employees who attend)
  • Ensure managers define teams’ work priorities properly (reducing overlap between assigned tasks and duties) plus foster clarity around work/project deadlines
  • Train employees and managers to address and resolve conflict by dealing with the actual events and behaviors at hand while steering away from a focus on individuals’ personalities and character traits

If you want to learn more about training and development programs to address workplace conflict in your organization, contact us at or call 443-741-3900.

MD Law to Protect Workers From Sexual Harassment Takes Effect Oct. 1

The “Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018,” signed into law last May, goes into effect this October 1.

The Act prohibits Maryland companies from requiring employees to waive their sexual harassment rights (via non-disclosure agreements) prior to any incidents. The measure also prohibits any employer attempts to retaliate against workers for refusing to waive their rights.

*Key requirement: the new law mandates that companies with 50+ employees report the following to the MD Commission on Civil Rights: the number of sexual harassment cases companies have settled; the number of cases containing non-disclosure agreements; and the number of cases that involved repeat offenders over a 10-year period.

*Note these deadlines: the MD Commission on Civil Rights will compile this employer information in two stages — once on July 1, 2020 and again July 1, 2022 — after which the Commission will make the survey information available to the public (excluding employee names).

impactAction: Companies and organizations can take steps to address and prevent workplace harassment, such as:

  • Ensuring you have a policy detailed in employee handbooks outlining the company’s stance on workplace harassment in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws
  • Training on a company’s workplace harassment policy should be included in all new hire orientations and for all managers and employees periodically throughout the year

If you have questions about complying with this new MD law, contact us at or call 443-741-3900.

Federal Contractors: Minimum Wage Increase Begins January 1, 2019

For federal contractors, the minimum wage for covered federal contractor employees increases to $10.60 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019 (up from the current level of $10.35 per hour).

In addition, tipped employees performing work on or in connection with covered federal contracts generally must be paid a minimum cash wage of $7.40 per hour beginning this January 1.

These new wage rates, disclosed earlier this month in the Federal Register, apply to employees performing work on or in connection with federal contracts covered under Executive Order 13658. Learn more

NYC Employers: New Hires Must Be Issued Factsheet on Harassment

For organizations with operations and personnel in New York City, note this new requirement: all NYC employers must distribute to new employees (hired as of September 6, 2018) the New York City Commission on Human Rights’ Factsheet on the “Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act.”

The Commission also recommends employers distribute the document to all employees hired before September 6, 2018 (though this is not required by law).

Click here to download the Factsheet and click here to download the poster.