Letter from Kelly Mitchell, Principal with impactHR

With the Holiday Season upon us, I hope you and your family enjoy the days ahead to relax and unwind in anticipation of the coming new year.

On this note, I’d like to express my gratitude to all of our clients, partners and friends for another wonderful year of collaboration and partnership. My team and I are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to be of service to you and your business growth strategies.

Kelly Mitchell, Principal, impactHR

With this year-end edition of impactnews, I also want to reflect briefly on where we’ve been the last year in HR and what we might expect in 2019.

This past year, we’ve seen an abundance of regulatory and public policy changes nationwide, such as new rules for mandated sick and safe leave and for equal employment opportunity for protected classes, plus changes in the minimum wage and an increase in medical and recreational marijuana use in relation to the workplace.

All told, these issues along with many others require employers to be more mindful of ensuring their organizations are in compliance with all relevant HR regulations.

For compliance going into 2019, as well as related HR “best practices,” here are some key factors employers should take into account to help drive their overall business growth strategies:

First is the employee handbook – an important tool that helps ensure you’re in compliance with public policy changes that have occurred. Employee handbooks provide, for employer and employee, a clear and concise direction on how to proceed within the organization. Well-designed and updated handbooks make the employer-employee relationship and its related processes clear to management and employees.

Second, employers should consider starting or adding training and development programs for their employees, and especially so for management teams. In our work, for example, we’ve seen an uptick on internal investigations about claims of harassment and hostile work environments.

What we know is many companies often aren’t providing employee training, especially on these topics. The fact is employee training and development – whether it’s focused on internal company policies, team-building, communications skills or career development – help companies optimize their employees’ performance and productivity.

A third area employers should consider is their recruitment and retention strategies – especially in the context of today’s tight employment market. Everyone’s looking for similar talent.

For recruiting, employers should react quickly when qualified candidates apply for open positions – applicants move fast and may be committed elsewhere before contact can be made. For retention, creating a formal employee retention plan first can help determine the extent to which turnover is (or isn’t) a problem in an organization.

Building on this, social media is impacting employee recruitment and retention. It’s now all about protecting your employment brand. New data, for example, shows 62% of candidates research a company’s brand and reputation on social media, such as via Glassdoor and LinkedIn, before committing to an interview.

Company leaders should work to build and protect their employment brand by talking to employees to uncover the company’s great attributes and learn the ways to build a better work environment aligned with the company’s values.

These positive attributes should be communicated internally and externally to reinforce the culture and the brand. Again, everyone’s struggling to find good people. If you don’t have the right employment brand in place, it will be even harder to attract good people to your organization.

In closing, let me say once again it’s a great privilege for me and for all of us at impactHR to be of help to each of our client companies and organizations.

As always, we look forward, with great energy and dedication, to continue being your go-to firm for HR support and consulting in the year ahead.

Thank you and my best wishes to you for the holidays and the new year.

Kelly Mitchell, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

HoCo Chamber Forecast Breakfast: Anirban Basu Sees Potential for Economic Slowdown

While the overall US economy remains strong, some leading indicators suggest a possible slowdown into 2020, according to Anirban Basu, economist and CEO with Baltimore-based Sage Policy Group.

Anirban Basu, CEO and President, Sage Policy Group

Speaking at last month’s Howard County Chamber Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast, Basu said that even with robust US GDP (3.5% growth in Q3 2018), one warning sign stands out: a recent downward trend in US architecture firm billings, suggesting an upcoming cooling off of the economy (considering these billings’ downstream effect on new construction projects).

Another warning sign, according to Basu, was the record high recently set for global debt as a percentage (318%) of global GDP.

Overall, Basu said he’s optimistic for continued near-term economic growth nationally and for Greater Baltimore-Washington (fueled in part by recent tax cuts, reductions in corporate taxes, continued high corporate profits and solid business and consumer confidence).

On the flip side, he cautioned “a lot can go wrong” and added “2018 will be fine – better than fine – 2019 might be, too, but beyond that, [a} potential deleveraging cycle [may be] prompted by a repricing of assets.”

For a copy of Anirban Basu’s presentation, please contact the Howard County Chamber.

Happy Holidays from all of us at impactHR!

With a wonderful, busy year past and in anticipation of the new year ahead, all of us at impactHR extend Season’s Greetings to you!

We wish you and yours a holiday season filled with joy and good health, and we very much look forward to continuing our relationship with you in 2019!

Our warmest regards,

The impactHR Team