The impactHR Team: What We’ve Learned This Year

With the Holiday Season upon us, we hope you and your family can take time to unwind and enjoy the days ahead in anticipation of the new year. We also wish to express our sincere gratitude to our clients, partners and friends for our continued collaboration and partnerships.

To be sure, with the challenges of the pandemic and related business uncertainty, we are grateful for the many opportunities to be of service to you and help maintain your business growth strategies.

With this final impactnews issue of the year, we’re delighted to feature our expert team of senior HR consultants who share their perspectives on the key trends and developments taking place now and likely next year in the workplace:Kelly Mitchell

“2020 has been a challenging year for sure – everyone has had to refocus and heighten their awareness of family, work and the inequalities of our societies. We have all learned how to adapt and pivot to make the most of the situation. What amazed me the most is the agility of our clients to quickly make the decisions necessary for the safety and well-being of their workforce during a time of stress and uncertainty.” Kelly Mitchell, Principal

“I’ve seen employers step up their communications efforts to ensure the well-being of their employees during this pandemic. This is true with a focus not just in the workplace, but also in reminding their employees to stay valiant in ensuring they follow the guidelines to protect their families in their day-to-day routines at home.” Li Na Goins, Senior HR Consultant, Client Services

“I have been pleasantly surprised at just how resilient people are, with many having their normal work routines upended for a long period of time. Clients Image of Jeanne Minorhave had to ask their employees to really be team players and make adjustments to schedules and work conditions. I think this will go a long way towards supporting employee relations going forward.” Jeanne Minor, Senior HR Consultant, Client Services

“I have seen a desire from our clients to consider new ways to help employees learn and grow, such as applying coaching principles and eliminating the ‘look back’ appraisal system. Our clients are seeing value in helping employees move forward while spending less time reviewing the past. Real-time check-ins and a desire to create meaningful paths forward has also been a theme this year.” Bonnie Monroe, Senior HR Consultant, Client Services

“One key trend this year has been on how remote work environments have created a heightened awareness for employee engagement, well-being, connectedness and overall team cohesion. The pandemic has challenged business leaders to solve operational problems in innovative ways. Business leaders have created virtual work environments that are stimulating, rewarding and that promote employee value within their organizations.” Denise Powell, Senior HR Consultant, Client Services

COVID-19: CDC Issues Guidelines Relevant to Employers

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month issued new guidance determining that a total of 15 minutes of person-to-person COVID-19 exposure within a 24/hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures over a one-day period) constitutes “close contact.”

This revision updates its previously released guidance which stated that “close contact” constituted 15 consecutive minutes within 6 feet of someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

The CDC’s new guidance, according to Shulman Rogers, “may result in a dramatic increase in the number of employees now required to quarantine, due to the relative ease with which co-workers may accumulate 15 minutes of contact in small increments spread over the course of a workday.”

In addition, the CDC also has issued new guidance for asymptomatic individuals who are infected with COVID-19. In workplaces, if an employee has close contact with an infected person, the quarantine period is now recommended to be 10 days (from the previous 14 days) without testing.

impactAction: If you have questions about any aspect of workplace safety, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Expires Dec. 31

Reminder: the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), passed into law last March, expires on Thursday, December 31, 2020.

The FFCRA mandates that private employers, with fewer than 500 employees, must provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions to employees (either for an employee’s health needs or to care for family members).

At the moment, reports indicate no concrete bipartisan consideration yet in the US House and Senate on a possible extension of the FFCRA into 2021. Read more.

Planning for 2021: Focusing on Leadership Training and Development

Training and development programs for managers and supervisors are fast becoming a strategic imperative to optimize recruitment and retention strategies – both of which directly impact business growth.

With the ongoing pandemic and its effect on the workplace, companies and organizations should consider starting or adding training and development programs for their leadership teams. Key areas of training for managers and supervisors typically include:

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Safety
  • Ethics
  • Lawful Hiring
  • Lawful Terminations
  • Workplace Violence

In addition, leadership training can focus on so-called “soft skills” such as:

  • Motivation and influencing
  • Coaching
  • Delegation
  • Teamwork
  • Planning and project leadership (includes strategic planning)
  • Organizing time and resources
  • Change
  • Problem solving
  • Effective Performance Management

In addition to optimizing recruitment and retention, management training and development – whether focused on internal company policies, team-building, communications skills or career development – help companies optimize employee performance and productivity.

impactAction: If you want to learn more about leadership training and development programs, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Minimum Wage Boosts Coming for Federal Contractors; State of MD

The federal contractor minimum wage increases to $10.95/hour on January 1, 2021 (up from $10.60/hour) – a small rise based on the Consumer Price Index.

In addition, Maryland’s minimum wage will undergo its next incremental increase beginning January 1, 2021.

For Maryland employers with 15+ employees, the minimum wage rate increases to $11.75/hour (from its current rate of $11/hour). For Maryland employers with fewer than 15 employees, the minimum wage rate increases to $11.60/hour (from its current rate of $11/hour).

Also as of January 1, 2021, the minimum wage for Prince George’s County, MD will no longer apply because the state minimum wage will be higher.

In Case You Missed These impactnews Articles . . .

Performance Management: Moving Past the Annual Review
Crisis Communications – What to Do When a Crisis Hits Your Company
Federal Contractors: Staying in Compliance with HR policies