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Employers Make Your New Year's Resolutions Now

The New Year provides a fresh start and motivation to set goals. Employers can and should make resolutions to make the New Year better for the organization and the employees. If you procrastinated last year, it is not too late to add those "to-dos" to your list for this New Year, and some items are updates on an on-going basis. Challenge yourself and your employees to better the work environment on 2019 resolutions.

  • Revise and update policies and employee handbooks. If you have not updated your policies and Employee Handbook recently, do it now, since employment laws change, and your practices may have changed too.
    • In light of the #ME Too movement, update and strengthen your policies on "Offensive Conduct" or "Anti-Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation."
      • Implement policies that set expectations for respectful, professional conduct.
      • Ensure your policy includes multiple options for reporting concerns by employees who believe they have been subjected to, or have observed unacceptable conduct.
    • Supplement policies to reflect your organization's workplace as it evolves each year.
      • Do your sick leave and/or PTO policies comply with the law?
      • Does your handbook have policies for social media, computer use, and data privacy?
      • Consider adding an anti-bullying policy. Although Minnesota does not have a law prohibiting bullying in the workplace, many employees' concerns consist of bullying conduct by coworkers and supervisors.
  • Protect employees against bias, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation through workshops.
    • Conduct interactive, in-person employee workshops to reinforce the importance of the organization's culture, values and expectations for a safe, healthy work environment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends effective training be in-person, interactive and provide information about employee's rights and responsibilities if they experience or observe conduct that they believe may be prohibited.
    • Educate supervisors on the policies and expectations, and hold them accountable for consistent implementation.
  • Revise and update job descriptions.
    • Job duties change and need to be reviewed regularly to accurately describe the duties and requirements of that position.
    • Accurate, detailed job descriptions minimize the risk of liability in potential claims related to whether an employee can perform the "essential functions" of the position.
    • Job descriptions should be specific, including attendance and physical requirements. For example, if there is a lifting requirement, include how frequently the employee will need to be able to lift a specific weight.
  • Conduct regular performance reviews.
    • Use a review based on job duties of a specific position.
    • Provide accurate evaluation and feedback to each employee to lead to success.
  • Hire with a purpose.
    • Carefully assess the needs of your organization and the specific position in hiring new employees.
    • Be consistent in screening and interviewing applicants, and ask the "right" questions to find the person best suited for the position.

The New Year provides a fresh start and motivation to set goals. Make your list, and plan time and deadlines to work on these resolutions!

Engelmeier & Umanah is ready to help you with making 2019 an even better year!

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Engelmeier & Umanah

Minneapolis Office
706 Second Avenue South, Suite 1100
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: 612-455-7720
Fax: 612-455-7740
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St. Cloud Office
1521 Northway Drive Suite 115
St. Cloud, MN 56303

Phone: 320-230-0375
Fax: 320-230-0408
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