HR Metrics: The Science of Satisfaction

It’s all too easy to get caught up in measurements of productivity and return on investment. But to focus solely on the outcomes—without exploring the motivational factors behind these issues—would be missing one of the critical factors underpinning productivity and performance: employee engagement.

Like productivity, turnover is one of the most common metrics measured by HR departments. But consistently, the research shows that employees who are dissatisfied with their manager are most likely to leave the organization. A standard measure of turnover does not account

To adequately implement preventative measures, it’s important to know whether your employees are satisfied. This metric assesses employees’ satisfaction with various measures of management performance.

1. Implement an employee survey.

2. Include questions about managerial performance. The specific questions you ask will depend on your company and the areas of concern. However, sample questions might include:

  • Does your manager provide you with challenging tasks?
  • Does your manager reward good performance appropriately?
  • Does your manager deal with poor performance appropriately?
  • Does your manager allow you to have input into your tasks and duties?

3. Calculate the percentage of employees who respond positively to the questions.

4. Repeat the survey on an ongoing basis, when changes in management occur or alternatively, after measures have been taken to improve based on prior results.


Things to Consider:

  • When employees complete a satisfaction survey, they expect you to do something about the results. If you won’t be able to implement measures to improve satisfaction, you may end up causing more damage to morale.


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NLRB Poster Update: While the Appeal Proceeds, the NLRB Finds Other Ways to Continue the Requirement

As we informed you earlier this year, a DC appellate court issued an emergency injunction in April to temporarily delay the NLRB’s proposed requirement for employers to post a notice about employee’s rights until the court has the opportunity to decide whether the NLRB has sufficient authority to mandate such a requirement. If the injunction had not been issued, employers would have been required to post the notice by April 30, 2012.

Previously, another District Court—this time in South Carolina—ruled that without a congressional mandate, the Board lacked authority to enforce the requirement. While the NLRB did not set a new proposed deadline for employers to post the notice, it remained committed to the poster concept despite the multiple challenges to the Board’s ability to move forward. Chairman of the Board, Mark Gaston Pierce, stated “We continue to believe that requiring employers to post this notice is well within the Board’s authority, and that it provides a genuine service to employees who may not otherwise know their rights under our law.”

It’s finally fall, and the D.C. appeal is underway. In September 2012, oral argument was heard in front of the federal three-judge panel, and a decision on the issue is expected in November or December of this year. The National Labor Relations Board has requested the Court reverse the lower court’s decision to strike down significant parts of its prior ruling, whereas employer groups are asking the Court to follow the rationale of the South Carolina decision that the poster rule is entirely invalid.

Interestingly, though, the NLRB hasn’t just accepted that the poster should wait on the sidelines while we wait for a decision. In fact, the Board has actively pushed the use of the poster—albeit not for all employers, but in areas the board can control.

One notable example is the case of General Die Casters, Inc—a case focused on Weingarten Rights when a meeting turns into an unanticipated discussion about the employee’s behavior—where the NLRB required the employer to post a version of the notice as a penalty.

Watch this space for the outcome of the appeal, expected in later November or early December.

Wellness Tips for Employers: Starting a Workplace Walking Program

Nearly 75 percent of Americans fail to get the 30 minutes of daily physical activity recommended for a healthier lifestyle. Employers don’t just have a moral interest in keeping the workforce healthy, they have a financial interest as well. Healthier employees help to control the spiraling costs of health care, increase productivity by taking fewer sick days, and reduce “presenteeism”—where the employee reports to work but cannot function at a productive level.

One simple, cost-effective way to encourage a healthier workforce is to introduce a workplace walking program. But before you start, consider these tips to help make your program a success:

  • Suggest a Route. Sometimes the lack of a safe route to walk can discourage employees from walking. Use the free workplace walkability audit tool provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to assess factors such as crosswalks, accessibility and shade when determining a route.
  • Spruce Up the Stairs. If there’s no convenient—or safe—outside walking options, encourage employees to take the stairs. The CDC conducted a pilot study to assess what factors increase the likelihood that workers will take the stairs. One of the top factors was the appearance of the stairs—once the stairwells were well lit, with updated paint, carpeting and even artwork, staff were significantly more likely to take the steps. The CDC suggests using royalty-free clip art with a health or exercise theme, and changing the pictures often to keep employees engaged at a low cost.
  • Team Up. Exercise is more fun with friends, and you’re less likely to come up with an excuse to skip it if you feel like you’re letting others down. Coordinate walking groups to keep staff motivated.
  • Provide Incentives. Partner with your health providers, EAP or local community organizations to provide small promotional incentives to staff. Provide items like pedometers or water bottles to employees who sign up for the program, to encourage participation.
  • Track and Record Progress. Provide staff with a printable log to keep track of their walking. Offer prizes for the team that walks the furthest over a set period of time, the greatest number of steps or the most time spent walking. Alternatively, offer everyone a small incentive for continued participation in the program. 

HR Tips: Dealing with Dress Code Disasters

If you ever get frustrated with dress code issues, spare a thought for the managers at Disney, responsible for ensuring that male employees’ mustaches must line up exactly with the corners of his mouth, and female staffers fingernails are maintained at a strict one-quarter inch in length. This isn’t the only company with a crazy dress code—imagine trying to police the policy from Swiss bank UBS that employees apply perfume while naked and immediately after showering!

Although your dress code policy is probably much more conventional, that doesn’t mean you won’t be faced with employees who flout it. If you don’t deal immediately with the issue, other staff members will feel that the rules aren’t important.

Step One: Raise Awareness

Make sure employees know about the policy. While longtime staffers might know the rules, consider how you let new employees know. If the policy isn’t already written, include the details in the employee handbook and provide regular reminders to staff. Giving examples of the types of dress that would not be acceptable is important—particularly if your policy is fairly generic.

  • Conversation Tip: “Staff should be dressed professionally and appropriately for the workplace. Open-toe shoes, like flip flops and sandals, are not appropriate for our operations and are a safety concern.”

Step Two: Respond to Complaints

Often the first notification you receive about a dress code violation is a complaint from another employee. Review the dress of the employee who is alleged to have violated the rules, and decide if the complaint is accurate.

Step Three: Talk to the Employee

Don’t embarrass the employee in front of coworkers. Instead, ask the employee to meet with you in a private office or conference room, away from coworkers.

  • Conversation Tip: “Can you step into my office for a second? I need to talk with you about the dress code.”

Some staff members will be defensive about perceived violations and will be unreceptive to your comments. Avoid judgment or criticism about the clothing—keep a neutral, calm tone. Don’t make jokes—even if you think you’re lightening the mood, the employee may believe you are ridiculing their choices and personal style.

  • Conversation Tip: “I asked to meet with you because your outfit violates the dress code. This isn’t anything personal about your choices, just that the company doesn’t permit hats or shirts with slogans. Did you realize your outfit violated the policy?”

Step Four: Reasons and Accommodations

Try to identify if there was a reason the employee violated the code. In some circumstances, a worker’s religious beliefs or disability may mean they want to wear an item that violates the code. An employer is not necessarily obligated to relax the regulations just because an employee asks, but you should definitely examine the employee’s reasons, consider the issues and identify any other acceptable solutions before making a final decision.

  • Conversation Tip: “Is there a particular reason you need to wear a hat? Please let me know if you’re seeking an exemption to the policy so we can consider if that’s a possibility.”

Step Five: Fix the Problem

Direct the employee to correct her outfit. If the issue is superficial—excessive jewelry or a hat, for example—the employee can simply remove the offending item until the end of her shift. Tops and t-shirts that violate the code can be covered with a jacket, or if the company has spare uniforms, you can simply lend one to the worker for the day. But if the employee’s entire outfit needs to be replaced, you may need to send them home to change.

  • Conversation Tip: “Do you have a spare outfit you can change into? Otherwise, I’m going to have to send you home to change your skirt.”

Step Six: Sending the Employee Home

Let employees know that the company will not tolerate violations of the dress code by sending the employee home to change if there is no other way to fix the issue. Depending on what time of day the violation was discovered, or how far the employee lives from the workplace, they may want to take the remainder of the day off.

You are not required to compensate the employee for the time taken to return home and change.

  • Conversation Tip: “You won’t get paid for the time it takes to travel home and change, but if you would prefer, you can use your accrued vacation time.”

Step Seven: Further Violations

Isolated, unintentional incidents are unlikely to present a problem, but if your employee continues to ignore the policy, you’ll need to discipline them.

  • Conversation Tip: “In future, you are required to abide by the dress code. If you have any question about whether an item might violate the code, you should check with a supervisor or manager before you wear it to work. If you continue to disregard the policy, it will lead to discipline, up to and including termination.”

4th Quarter Labor Law Updates

As we enter the 1st Quarter, here is a short summary of the mandatory labor law changes from the past quarter to help keep your business in compliance.



Content Change




Workers’ Compensation Senate Bill 2576 Inclusion of brand-new poster to cover new requirements for posting resulting from passage of Senate Bill 2576




Workers’ Compensation New guidelines of how many days to report after a workplace injury




Criteria for Employee or Independent Contractor Removal of criteria that determines whether an individual is an employee or contractor




Independent Contractor or Employee New “Independent Contractor” posting requirement




Utah OSHA – Health and Safety Protection Update to OSHA poster, changes include new address and new information regarding enforcement of OSHA regulations




To protect your company against costly fines and/or lawsuits, sign up for one of our Compliance Management Services and ensure compliance immediately. Our compliance experts will monitor all the labor law updates so you don’t have to! We offer two compliance solutions to choose from:

Compliance Protection Plan™ – whenever a mandatory labor law poster update occurs, you will receive updated labor law posters that we mail directly to your location(s). No supplemental inserts, new updated posters are sent. There are no restrictions on how many times your labor law posters will be replaced. Shipping costs are covered by us when a mandatory update occurs. This service is backed with our Unlimited Compliance Guarantee. This means if you receive a posting violation when properly displaying our Labor Law Posters, you are reimbursed ALL posting violations (terms and conditions apply) – no matter what the cost. You can select from 1, 2 or 3 years plans.

e-Compliance Membership is a digital compliance solution. With this membership you will receive complete State and Federal labor Law poster(s) delivered directly to you. You are also provided with ongoing compliance monitoring by a team of experts who will send you PDF updates of all compliance law changes when they occur.

At the LaborLawCenter, we are dedicated to offering you a total compliance solution for your business. Learn more here:

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