Category: Culture

Create a Healthy Work Environment: Frequent Check-Ins

Check ins between employees and supervisors

Check ins between employees and supervisors
Frequent check-ins with your team are a great way to create a healthy work environment and boost wellness in the workplace.

These can be 1-on-1 meetings or a team office hours format, depending on the size of your team, the way you work, your industry, etc. Ideally, they would be 1-on-1 sessions – but do what works best for your company! Research shows that employees who check in with their managers at least once a week as opposed to less frequently are:

  • More than 2x as likely to trust their manager
  • Nearly 2x as likely to respect their manager
  • 5x less likely to be disengaged
  • Nearly 2x as likely to believe they can grow within the organization

Check in with your company’s health insurance provider OR ask your TripleTrack HR consultant for other ideas for creating a healthy workplace!

The Power of Organizational Culture: Driving Success in the Workplace

employees around a computer

employees around a computer

In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of business, organizations are constantly searching for that one element that sets them apart from the competition. They invest heavily in cutting-edge technologies, market research, and talent acquisition strategies. However, amidst all the buzz, one factor often overlooked but immensely powerful is organizational culture. Let’s explore the importance of organizational culture and how it can become a game-changer for businesses in today’s fast-paced world.

A Magnet for Talent

Organizational culture acts as a magnet, attracting top talent to your organization. In an era where employees seek more than just a paycheck, a strong culture becomes a decisive factor for job seekers. A positive and inclusive culture creates a sense of belonging, fosters engagement, and inspires employees to contribute their best efforts. By nurturing a culture that aligns with the values and aspirations of potential candidates, companies can build a strong employer brand and gain a competitive edge in talent acquisition.

Boosting Employee Engagement and Retention

A healthy organizational culture leads to higher employee engagement and retention rates. When employees feel valued, respected, and connected to the organization’s purpose, they become more motivated to go the extra mile. A positive culture promotes open communication, collaboration, and a supportive work environment, all of which contribute to increased job satisfaction. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with the organization, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs of recruitment and training.

Driving Performance and Productivity

Organizational culture has a direct impact on performance and productivity levels. A culture that emphasizes excellence, innovation, and continuous improvement inspires employees to strive for higher standards. It encourages them to take ownership of their work, think creatively, and contribute fresh ideas. By fostering a culture that values and rewards performance, organizations can drive productivity, achieve business goals, and stay ahead of the competition.

Enhancing Customer Experience

A strong organizational culture positively influences the customer experience. When employees are aligned with the organization’s values and vision, they become ambassadors for the brand. Their enthusiasm, passion, and commitment translate into exceptional customer service. A culture that prioritizes customer-centricity empowers employees to provide personalized solutions, establish strong relationships, and exceed customer expectations.

Organizational culture is not just a buzzword; it is a strategic advantage for companies looking to thrive in today’s business landscape. It sets the tone for employee engagement, talent acquisition, performance, and customer experience. By cultivating a positive, inclusive, and purpose-driven culture, organizations can create a thriving workplace where employees feel motivated, connected, and empowered. Investing in and nurturing organizational culture is an investment in the long-term success and sustainability of your business. Get started today by reaching out to Triple Track HR. 

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

Frankenstein: An HR Horror Story



By Jeff Wach, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there lived an HR manager who was searching for THE perfect candidate. She read dozens of resumes, made numerous phone calls, and conducted plenty of interviews.

However, no matter how hard she tried, she never found perfection. She came across bits of it here and there – a perfect degree, a perfect prior job, a perfect title – but never a complete perfect candidate.

Then one day she had a brilliant idea. She could make her own! The degree from candidate A, the experience of candidate B, and the title of candidate C! She could do this! It would work! She took the pieces & parts she wanted from all her candidates and began to mold them into her perfect candidate.

She was excited! It was working! She found the knowledge, skills, and abilities she was looking for! In all her excitement, however, she overlooked the “ugly” parts. Blinded by a deadline, she ignored the scars. Personality traits were “good enough”, cultural fit “could be learned”. Performance proof could wait. References? Why bother? She had achieved PERFECTION!

A quick offer letter later and EUREKA! IT LIVES! The perfect candidate is now AN EMPLOYEE! She was a genius!

And they lived happily ever after.

Well, almost.

For the next 3 weeks, life was good. The HR manager was able to get back to work. No more crazy recruiting stuff taking up her time. Back to all her other duties she set aside while building her creation.

Then, it happened. In hindsight, she shouldn’t have been so surprised to pull into her parking lot and see her entire staff with pitchforks and torches!

“GIVE US THE MONSTER!” they cried.

She was heartbroken. She did all of that work for nothing. So, after she convinced everyone to put down their pitchforks and get back to work, and she allowed Frankenstein to move on and terrorize someone else’s company.

She had to face reality. Ideal candidates are not created, they are discovered. They can only be found through a solid, in-depth, performance-based hiring process.


Lessons from Back To School Season

back to school

back to school

By Jeff Wach, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Academic Performance Reviews

When we were in school, it wasn’t enough to just show up. Sure, we may have received a Perfect Attendance Award and been the teacher’s favorite, but that wasn’t going to get us to pass! We had to do homework and take tests. And based on our performance completing measurable tasks, we got a grade. That grade determined our future.

To help us stay on target, we got a report card each quarter letting us know where we stood. No surprises. Our teachers wanted us to pass. They wanted us to succeed. They made it clear that extra help was always available if we asked for it. Every effort was made to help us get top grades and pass with flying colors. Some of my best teachers even told us upfront how our grades were determined! 70% on tests, 20% on quizzes, and 10% on homework. We knew where we stood. Our grade, good or bad, was on us. And we had no excuses.

Dangers in Assumptions

Fast forward to being an adult in business and it seems we forgot how to clearly communicate expectations. All too often we assume. We assume the person knows how to do their job because we hired someone with “experience”. We assume they know the level of performance we expect at our company, even though we never spelled it out for them. We assume they know to ask for help if they need it, but our culture labels those who need help as weak.

The Importance of Communication

It’s really not that difficult. Define what makes a person successful in their role. Tell them how their performance will be measured. Give them a goal to reach for. Let them know how they’re doing. Make it clear how they can get help if they need it. No surprises. Clear communication. A culture of learning.

Want to learn about how we can help your business? See what makes TripleTrack HR Partners different, here. 

Addressing Bias in the Workplace

Addressing bias in workplace

Addressing bias in workplace

Many employers seek the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace, but struggle to overcome challenges such as bias. While most leaders and most employees strive to make fair decisions and avoid unfair judgments, there exists the possibility that bias impacts some workplaces. Employers may be able to help mitigate bias in a number of ways, such as establishing a dialogue with employees, offering educational opportunities and evaluating current practices.


Bias in the Workplace

A study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that approximately 70% of American adults have experienced some form of discrimination in their lifetime.

Some of the discrimination that occurs in the modern workplace isn’t deliberate—but rather implicit. Micro aggressions, for example, are subtle or even unintentional acts of stereotyping, which can be influenced by unconscious biases. Unfortunately, both explicit and implicit bias can result in discriminatory acts. Such decisions can impact professional opportunities—whether it be a hiring decision, a professional development opportunity or even a day-to-day decision a manager might make regarding an employee’s responsibilities.

Employers should be prepared to respond to and investigate all cases of reported discrimination, but also consider steps to mitigate bias through broader organizational initiatives.

There isn’t an exhaustive list of questions employers should avoid asking, but employers need to be careful that any questions asked cannot be interpreted as discriminatory.

To help avoid discrimination claims, information requested from the applicant should be directly related to the position for which he or she is interviewing. Acceptable topics include previous work experience, education and skills that are necessary for the position.


Acknowledging Societal Issues

Organizations can choose to take stances on broader issues in society, and acknowledge how topics such as bias can impact the workplace. Many employees believe that the first step to addressing bias is to acknowledge that it exists. In particular, employees may appreciate the acknowledgment from their organization that these critical issues still exist today.

Generally speaking, employees seek to be part of an organization where their values are shared—which often can include a commitment to inclusion. Employers that acknowledge current challenges and offer empathy may be able to engage employees and further address bias.


Establishing Open Dialogue

Employers may want to consider how they can open up constructive dialogue—both at an organization wide level and on an individual case-by-case basis.

To engage employees on these topics, consider options such as surveying employees in order to gather feedback. Employers may be able to gather insight as to how receptive employees may be toward learning more about biases and growing awareness—and often, employees appreciate opportunities to have their voices heard.


Promoting Acceptance

As organizations contemplate how to best establish and maintain an accepting environment, leaders may be able to use their influence to impact workplace culture. Every workplace is unique, and employers can consider what efforts might be appropriate to promote acceptance within their work environment. For some employers, these efforts might include considering topics such as inclusion as part of ongoing discussions and planning, and integrating acceptance into day-to-day business.

Leaders often set the tone for culture. By taking steps to build awareness across an organization, employers may find that acceptance may grow—and that some employees may be open to collaborating on efforts within their workplace.


Educating Leaders

Effective and aware managers can often lead to satisfied employees, and organizations can consider engaging management by offering educational opportunities to discuss relevant topics.

For example, employers can consider opt-in educational programs directed at supervisors and managers, with the intent of establishing a dialogue on relevant topics within the workplace and growing awareness. While some employers choose to offer stand-alone training, others include timely topics into routine training and events already taking place in the workplace. Employers can consider what types of efforts might be an appropriate option for their organization. 


Evaluating Current Practices

Bias can take place during day-to-day interactions but may extend to practices such as recruiting, hiring and evaluating talent for development opportunities or promotions. Most leaders mean well—but there always exists the possibility that ongoing practices in your organization may have bias built into policies and procedures.


Addressing Bias

Bias in the workplace is not an easy topic to address, but by taking proactive steps, employers often can boost employee retention, improve their brand and build an inclusive workplace. For additional resources, contact your TripleTrack HR Consultant.

Source: Zywave, 2020


Benefits of a Mentoring Program

Experienced man mentoring younger man

Experienced man mentoring younger manA mentor is an individual in the workplace who shares his or her knowledge and expertise to help another employee grow professionally. Mentoring programs can benefit not only the mentees, but also the mentors and the company as whole. The following are some of the benefits of a mentoring program.

Benefits for the Mentee

Mentees can achieve the following benefits through a mentoring program: 

Skill development—Mentors teach mentees the skills and qualities they will need to succeed, along with familiarizing them with the company’s protocol and procedures. This, in turn, can teach mentees how to do their jobs more efficiently.

Continual growth—Mentors provide ongoing feedback to their mentees and teach them how to take constructive criticism and apply it to their jobs. This type of feedback can feel less intrusive than regular performance reviews and employees may respond better to it as a result.

Networking—Mentoring allows employees to build a professional relationship over a period of time and teaches them about the value of networking.

Talent development—By providing mentees with the skills and support they need to succeed, mentees will be more prepared to advance to new positions within the company and to take on leadership roles.

Benefits for the Mentor

Mentoring programs can also reap significant benefits for the mentors themselves, including the following:

Giving back—Give mentors the opportunity to help someone else out, which may increase mentors’ self-worth.

Recharge commitment—Helps mentors re-energize their careers, which may increase their commitment to your company.

Sharpens leadership skills—Allows mentors to fine-tune their communication and leadership skills, which can be valuable as they continue to grow in their own careers.

Benefits for the Company

In addition, there are significant benefits that can be realized by your company:

Retention—Mentoring helps employees feel more engaged in their work and more in control of their careers. Employees will feel like the company cares about them and may be more loyal as a result—in turn, reducing turnover-related costs.

Recruitment—Advertising a mentoring program can help recruit qualified candidates and establish yourself as an employer of choice within your industry.

Productivity—Because employees have the skills they need to do their jobs effectively, this can increase productivity and reduce the number of errors made on the job. Employees may also feel more confident in their work and spend less time second-guessing themselves.

Company culture—By encouraging employees to build positive relationships with one another, you can promote a sense of cooperation and teamwork at your company.

Mentoring programs can be a low-cost way to increase retention, attract new talent and improve employee morale—all of which can help protect your bottom line for years to come.


Source: Zywave, 2020


5 Ways to Support Employees’ Mental Health

Supporting employees' mental health

Supporting employees' mental healthAn employee’s mental health includes how they think, feel and act, and includes their emotional and social well-being. While mental health includes mental illness, the two aren’t interchangeable. An employee can go through a period of poor mental health but not necessarily have a clear, diagnosable mental illness. Additionally, an employee’s mental health can change over time, depending on factors such as their workload, stress and work-life balance.

While 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness annually, a recent study by Deloitte revealed that less than half receive treatment. A study from the Mental Health in the Workplace Summit also found that mental illness is the leading cause of disability for U.S. adults aged 15 to 44 and that more workdays are lost to mental health-related absenteeism than any other injury or illness.

Given its prevalence, you can expect that employees at your organization are experiencing mental health challenges or mental illness. That’s why it’s so important that your organization creates a culture that supports employees’ mental health. While this may sound complicated, creating a workplace that is supportive of mental health and illness is easier than it seems. Here are five simple ways that your company can support employees and their mental health.


Promote Mental Health Awareness in the Office

The first step to creating a workplace that is supportive of employees’ mental health is promoting awareness and destigmatizing mental health or illness. Provide resources to help employees learn more about mental health or mental illnesses, and give information about how employees who may be struggling can seek out help. When you openly talk about mental health, employees are more likely to feel comfortable about the concept and reach out to managers or co-workers if they’re struggling.

You can also establish a workplace environment that is supportive of mental health by:

  • Encouraging social support among employees, such as an organized support group that meets regularly
  • Setting up an anonymous portal through which employees can reach out to let HR or managers know that they’re struggling with high stress and need help
  • Providing training on problem solving, effective communication and conflict resolution
  • Promoting your employee assistance program (EAP), if you offer one
  • Offer Flexible Scheduling

Work-life balance, or a lack thereof, can affect an employee’s mental health. To help employees better balance their work and personal lives, employers across the country are embracing workplace flexibility. While this looks different at every company, workplace flexibility can include flextime, telecommuting and paid time off (PTO) policies. Flexible schedules provide employees with job satisfaction, better health, increased work-life balance and less stress.


Address Workplace Stress

Nearly 80% of Americans consider their jobs stressful. Chronic workplace stress can contribute to increased employee fatigue, irritability and health problems. Additionally, workplace stress costs U.S. employers approximately $300 billion in lost productivity annually.

While it may not be possible to eliminate job stress altogether for your employees, you can help them learn how to manage it effectively. Common job stressors include a heavy workload, intense pressure to perform at high levels, job insecurity, long work hours, excessive travel, office politics and conflicts with co-workers.

You can implement various activities to help reduce employee stress, which can improve health and morale—and productivity.

    • Make sure that workloads are appropriate.
    • Have managers meet regularly with employees to facilitate communication.
    • Address negative and illegal actions in the workplace immediately—do not tolerate bullying, discrimination or any other similar behaviors.
    • Recognize and celebrate employees’ successes. This contributes to morale and decreases stress levels.


Evaluate Your Benefits Offerings

Review the benefits you offer to ensure that they support mental well-being, too. Evaluate your current health plan designs. Do they cover mental health services? Reviewing the offerings that your organization provides is essential to creating a culture that supports employee mental health.

In similar fashion, look to see what voluntary benefits you can offer to support mental well-being. Consider offering simple perks like financial planning assistance (as financial stress often contributes to poor mental health), employee discount programs (where employees can receive gym memberships, stress-reducing massages or acupuncture at a lower cost) and EAPs to support your employees.


Provide Mental Health Training for Managers

One of the most significant problems hindering mental health support at work is the stigma that surrounds mental health. Despite the recent moves in society toward destigmatizing mental health, issues still persist. To ensure that no stigma surrounding mental health exists at your organization, it’s important that you properly train management in recognizing the signs of mental illness, excessive workplace stress, workplace bullying and fatigue. Moreover, managers should be trained to handle potentially difficult conversations with employees surrounding their mental health. Ultimately, they should be prepared to speak openly about mental health rather than avoid the topic.

Source: Zywave, 2020