Author: Em Kaczynski

Community Service Helps Recruit and Retain Employees While Giving Back

Image: Photo courtesy of Kaleida Health

Volunteer opportunities have become an important tool for recruitment and a great way for employers to engage workers.

Lisa Stefanie, president of Triple Track HR Partners in Williamsville, said isolation during the pandemic and the popularity of remote work has left a need in the business community for employees to feel like they’re “part of something bigger than themselves.”

“Volunteering is good for us, both physically and mentally,” she said. “Inevitably, it’s about this desire that everybody has to do something that brings them purpose. Sometimes we get caught up in the minutiae of the day to day, and we forget that we’re making a difference.”

Many of Stefanie’s clients increased community engagement after the May 14 shooting at Tops on Buffalo’s East Side.

“Some closed their doors and went down to that area to help supply food, water and support,” Stefanie said.

Businesses can provide paid time off to volunteer individually or work together as a team on company time. Her company volunteers as a team, she said, for three organizations.

“Providing those opportunities gives a message to the community where they’re doing business that they’re not just about making money but about making a difference in that community,” Stefanie said. “All of a sudden, you have this group of not just employees but ambassadors for your company.”

Kaleida Health recently added community engagement as a major pillar of its strategic plan, said Michael Hughes, chief administrative officer. As part of that, management positions are required to meet a minimum amount of time in community service.

That can be anything from running the Buffalo Marathon or biking the Ride for Roswell to volunteering with a local church, parent/teacher association or other community events or
fund raisers.

“We want to make sure we’re exposing our employees to the things going on around Western New York,” Hughes said. “The challenge of Covid slowed a lot of that down, but the opportunities to volunteer and give back have come back stronger.”

Kaleida sponsors a Habitat for Humanity house each year and opens that opportunity up to employees.

“So there could be an RN working next to a hospital administrator,” he said. “I think overall, we’re in the health care business, so we have a workforce that is altruistic and giving in nature.”

The Kaleida workforce also participates in Rock Out Hunger, a food drive campaign sponsored by 97 Rock that supports FeedMore WNY.

“We do some internal competitions too with each hospital or ambulatory centers (hosting) food drives,” Hughes said. “It’s designed to really be culture-building, and to promote teamwork and giving back. It’s an opportunity to get outside the four walls of the workplace and get to know coworkers a little bit differently.”

Story from Buffalo Business First. Read the original article here. 

Katie AndersonKatie Anderson
Buffalo Business First

Learn from the Experts: What Employers Can Do When Quitting is All the Rage

“Those days of ‘if you don’t like it, quit’ are over. People are every company’s No. 1 resource.”

Human resource professionals may want to stay ahead of a new trend that’s all the rage, brought on by a tight labor market and an inability to fill positions.

Rage quitting comes in various forms of intensity, but essentially, when frustrated employees feel overworked and underpaid, they’re walking out on the job.

“What we’ve seen has been maybe some angry words and frustration, but it’s typically just ‘I’m out of here’ and people leaving,” said Lisa Stefanie, president of TripleTrack HR Partners in Williamsville. “They’re walking off the job without really having a plan, because they know there are other jobs out there.”

Stefanie said the trend seems to be more prevalent in service­-oriented jobs, especially among personal healthcare workers, such as at-home aids or nursing home workers.

“People aren’t coming into the workforce to do that job,” Stefanie said. “There’s no hybrid work, you’re doing hard and physical work, and it’s costly for an organization to provide that service because they’re often getting reimbursed through Medicaid.”

The shortage of workers in the field creates a “domino effect” of quitting, she said, as workers and the folks responsible for scheduling shifts become more frustrated.

“People don’t do this type of job for the money, but they find themselves working longer shifts than expected because there’s not enough workers,” she said. “There are a lot of people on the cusp of quitting. They’re thinking about making a move, and they get frustrated and leave.”

Stefanie said she hasn’t seen a big number of people rage quitting, because companies are trying as best they can to retain people.

“They know it’s easier to retain folks than it is to replace them,” she said.

The national trend may not be as common in Buffalo, she said, since it’s a smaller market where bridges burn faster. New employers may reach out to a former employer and ask about how the relationship ended.

“In Buffalo, everybody knows everybody,” she said. “If you burn a bridge with someone that you work for, chances are they know several other people in the industry, and your name may have already gotten to that new employer to which you’re applying.”

Stefanie said it’s imperative for employers to prioritize communication, team-building and their employees’ mental health.

“The more we can bring back the in-person things that help connect people personally, the better it will be,” she said. “To be proactive, the training needs to be about building a culture that doesn’t allow for someone to get really angry.”

Larry Mietus owns a consulting firm, Speaking of Strategy, in Depew. He said the labor evolution has been a long time coming.

“The seeds for this were planted long before Covid,” he said. “In a perfect world, people wouldn’t rage-quit their jobs; they would have a plan” – but employees have reached their limits in the last 18 months.

Employers have to be proactive by improving communication about the state of the business, its growth and any expansion or acquisition plans, Mietus said.

He also suggested companies send out short surveys on a regular basis to get a “pulse” on the workforce’s mood.

“If you look at the time it takes to do that type of surveying as opposed to recruiting, hiring and onboarding new people, it’s so much easier and cost-effective to retain that person who just needs to be heard, understood and appreciated,” he said. “Those days of ‘if you don’t like it, quit’ are over. People are every company’s No. 1 resource.”

Story from Buffalo Business First. Read the original article here. 

Katie AndersonKatie Anderson
Buffalo Business First

Employers: Buffalo is Grieving, and Your Workforce Likely Is Too

Empathy is key for Buffalo employers as the community reels from the racist massacre on May 14 that left 10 people dead on Buffalo’s East Side.

An 18-year-old gunman from Broome County opened fire on civilians shopping at the Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue. He shot 13 people, 11 of whom were Black. Investigators soon discovered the attack was racially motivated.

“Everyone is going to be processing this differently. Employers can’t make assumptions about what their employees need,” said Lisa Stefanie, president of TripleTrack HR Partners in Williamsville.

During the pandemic, employers learned the value of showing empathy to employees. Empathy is what’s needed again in the aftermath of this shooting.

“You do that by providing resources right out of the gate,” she said. “That could mean offering bereavement time without judgment, because that might look different for everybody.”

Julie Becht, chief human resource officer for Freed Maxick, said the accounting firm is allowing flexible schedules.

“If they want to move their time around or work on Saturday instead or if they want to take time off, that’s fine, too, because everything is still so raw,” she said.

The CPA firm sent a message to employees on May 16 morning recognizing the horrific incident, naming all the victims and calling for compassion among the workforce. The company plans to bring in a grief counselor for anyone who needs to talk individually or virtually.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder comes in many forms, so this could be triggering for unknown issues,” she said.

Similarly, Christine Marrano, vice president of human resources for Evergreen Health, said employers could use information from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress to assist and share coping mechanisms with employees.

Employers should normalize conversations about mental health and safety and “host meetings to hold space and allow for employees to share and reflect on the most recent events in our city.”

Becht and Stefanie said it’s a good time to remind employees about available EAP programs. Employers may want to offer time for employees to make mental health-care appointments.

“The businesses that are closer to the location or have a population that would be really shaken by this – like other Tops locations or grocery stores – they’re probably deploying counselors on site or offices to do some critical debriefing about that trauma and how it’s affecting them,” she said.

Employers should lead by example and show a “very human” response to this act of violence, Stefanie said, by offering statements of empathy and opening lines of communication.

“I think it’s OK for employers to say, ‘This is a tough one for everyone in Buffalo, and we want you to be able to process this how you need to, so our doors will be open. But we’re not professional counselors, and we may need to refer you to other resources, too.”

Employers may want to ask their employee groups how they’d like to render aid to the community directly affected by the shooting.

“We’re the City of Good Neighbors,” she said “and we tend to rally around to help.”

Story from Buffalo Business First. Read the original article here. 

Katie AndersonKatie Anderson
Buffalo Business First