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Be sure to check out our Founder & CEO's blog on each month, featured in the Women in Business and the Human Resources section.

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Legal Compliance with Dave Wilson

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Mon, Dec 01, 2014 @ 12:05 PM

describe the imageQuestion:  The new paid sick time law for employers of 11 or more employees in Massachusetts says that employees will accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. That can work out to be more than 40 hours per year for some employees. While the law is clear that employees can only take 40 hours and carryover 40 hours - can they accrue more than 40 hours, and thereby have more to carryover into the following year? 

Answer:  The law says that employees who work for employers with 11 or more employees can "earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year." Our reading is that sick leave is therefore capped at 40 hours per year. Since the law does not go into effect until July, 2015, we anticipate that this will be confirmed by regulations from the Massachusetts Attorney General's office before July. 

Dave Wilson has spent over two decades litigating wage and hour, employment, real estate, maritime, and general commercial disputes in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Dave spends a significant amount of his time acting as a business partner with his clients, counseling and training them in all areas of employment relations law. Please visit the Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP website for more information. 

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Legal Compliance - Domestic Violence Leave in MA

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 @ 11:40 AM

The Act Relative to Domestic Violence, requires that all Massachusetts employers with 50 or more employees notify employees of their rights and responsibilities to take up to 15 days of leave from work in any 12-month period if:

  • The employee or a family member of the employee is a victim of abusive behavior; and

  • The employee is using the leave to seek or obtain medical attention, counseling, victim services, or legal assistance; secure housing; obtain a protective order from a court; appear in court or before a grand jury; meet with a district attorney or other law enforcement official; attend child custody proceedings; or address other issues directly related to the abusive behavior against the employee or family member of the employee; and

  • The employee is not the perpetrator of the abusive behavior against such employee’s family member.

describe the imageQuestion: The Massachusetts Domestic Violence Act took effect on August 8, 2014 and provides up to 15 days of leave to victims of domestic violence who work for companies with 50 or more employees.   What if I am an 800 employee company with only 8 employees in Massachusetts, does the law apply to my company? 

Answer: No, it does not. The Massachusetts Attorney General's office clarified the law to say that it applies to employers with at least 50 employees in Massachusetts. The law does not extend to any employer with 50 or more employees anywhere in the world. Such an interpretation would have meant that a Newton startup with 47 total employees would not be covered under the law, but a New Hampshire company or even a company from Canada with 800 employees worldwide and only 8 located in Massachusetts, would be covered.

Dave Wilson has spent over two decades litigating wage and hour, employment, real estate, maritime, and general commercial disputes in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Dave spends a significant amount of his time acting as a business partner with his clients, counseling and training them in all areas of employment relations law. Please visit the Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP website for more information. 

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Join Us on October 9, 2014 for "Building Corporate Culture for Success"

Posted by Julie Sears on Mon, Sep 08, 2014 @ 11:02 AM

Entrepreneurial Leadership seminar

Building Coprorate Culture for Success

Insight's Educational Conference Series

Charles River Country Club

October 9, 2014 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Leverage your most valuable resource - your people - to remain nimble and innovative while focusing on your core expertise. The most effective businesses understand the need that HR plays in company growth and success.

Join us for spirited presentations that address the common and unique concerns of building a corporate culture for now and the future.

  • Learn best practices of leaders who cultivate the culture of their organizations. 

  • Discover the top 10 retention tips of successful companies. 

  • Understand the value of well defined compensation and benefits packages.

Keynote Address by Ben Fischman


Ben Fischman is a serial entrepreneur and business executive who recently formed a new venture LAUNCH, focused on developing and building consumer Internet companies. He is the founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Rue La La, a leader in the digital private sale space.

Previously, he was the CEO of off-price e-commerce marketplace He was the first entrepreneur in residence at General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm. He is also the founder of LIDS Corporation, which he established in 1993 while a junior at Boston University, where he earned a bachelor of arts in communications degree. 

Other Speakers Include:

Nancy Mobley, Founder & CEO

Michael Ward, President

Nancy Saperstone, Senior HR Business Partner

Darren Ambler, Managing Director

This event is complimentary for clients and guests of Insight
Performance. Please note that denim/jeans of any color or any
use, including pants, shorts, shirts, skirts, dresses or hats, are not
permitted within the Charles River Country Club.

Register for Seminar

If you have any questions about the event or how to register, please contact Julie Mele at 781-381-5100 or
We look forward to seeing you at our event on October 9, 2014!

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Lessons in Loyalty from the Market Basket Standoff

Posted by Julie Sears on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 @ 09:06 AM

With the ousting of former CEO Arthur T. DeMoulas, thousands of Market Basket employees in New England have walked off the job, refusing to return to work until their former leader has been returned to his post. Now, almost four weeks into this standoff, Market Basket employees have been told to return to work by Friday, August 15, 2014 or their employment will be terminated. Many are willing to make financial sacrifices and walk away from a job they loved. What makes employees so loyal to a leader that they would "risk it all" for him?

Artie T., as he's affectionately known by his employees, built a culture of family at Market Basket. It's the recent deviation from that culture that has employees ready to walk away. They are loyal beyond any measure of employment loyalty that we've seen in decades. Here are a few lessons we've learned from Artie T. and the culture he bred:

  • Make it personal. Get to know your employees. Know their names, a little about them, and when you see them, ask questions about their lives. Show you care. Arthur T. was famous among his employees for saying "hello" and checking in on personal matters.

  • Culture starts at the top, but one person can't do it all. Artie T. used his senior management team to disseminate his message and cultivate a culture that made people feel like valued members of the Market Basket family.

  • Build trust. Employees will be loyal to an employer they trust. One of the largest grievances the employees have is their distrust of the new management.

  • Job satisfaction goes a long way towards retention. Market Basket had ahistory of long term retention, with some employees working 40 plus years. In today's marketplace of job hopping, that kind of retention is unheard of.

Watch Nancy Saperstone on My Fox Boston and read Mike Ward's thoughts in the Salem News on the culture and loyalty at Market Basket.

NS Fox 8.13.14 resized 600 

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Hiring in Today’s Market – Insight’s Recruiting Experts Weigh In

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Thu, Aug 07, 2014 @ 12:31 PM

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We asked Kendra Bissonette and Patricia O'Neil Messer, Insight’s HR Business Partner/Recruiting Specialists, to share their insider knowledge on the job market, the hiring practices of companies, and what candidates should know.  Here’s what they had to tell us!

Q:  Statically, unemployment is declining.  Do you see a trend in more companies hiring?  

A:  Yes.  Our small and mid-sized company clients have steadily been adding to their headcount over the past three years.  Candidates are attracted to this sized company because they perceive more room for advancement and broader job responsibilities.  

Q:  Like everything, recruiting is subject to supply and demand.  Are we currently in an employer or employee market in terms of hiring?  

A:  It depends on the type of job and the industry.  Technical roles like software engineers and product marketing jobs are two examples of high demand positions.  We’re not seeing as much hiring for internal roles like office managers or accounts payable.

Q:  What trends have you seen more in hiring lately?

A:  Phone interviews.  Companies want to be efficient in the process and it takes more resources to schedule and invite a larger number of candidates to the office.  Phone interviews are used as a first round a screening process.  

Q:  What pitfalls should companies avoid in the hiring process?


  • A bad job description.  Some companies dust off the job description from when they recruited for the role last time and want to use it again.  But the company and the role have likely evolved since then.  Those changes need to be taken into consideration.  Since hiring is a process of matching a candidate to a job description, you want to work from a quality document.  Have discussions internally to clearly define the role’s responsibilities and prioritize tasks.

  • Not treating everyone with respect.  Consider your hiring process like an advertisement for your company.  Candidates will form strong opinions about your company – and tell their friends.  Mistreating candidates who are no longer your top choice is a bad idea.  Don’t ask candidates to come to your office at the last minute or cancel meetings without advance notice.

  • Waiting for Mr. or Ms. Perfect.  You can teach skills but you can’t change personalities.  Hire for fit and consider a training program if a favorite candidate meets 9 out of 10 bullet points on the job description.  

  • Just trying to fill a seat.  Someone with all of the skills but who won’t match well with your existing team won’t last long in the role.  Since Insight’s HR team is already on site, we integrate with their process to understand the culture of the organization and can quickly identify candidates who would be a good fit for the company.

Q:  What advice do you give to candidates?


  • The job description has all of the answers.  Read it and understand it thoroughly so that when you give your answers to questions, you are relating your experience to what the employer is looking to accomplish in the open role.  

  • Treat phone interviews like in person interviews.  Don’t lounge on the sofa or take a call from the car.  Sit at your desk in professional attire and close the door.  You want to give clear, concise and relevant answers to questions whether on the phone, or in person.   After all, this is a screening process.  If you don’t do well here, you won’t make it to the interview room to prove yourself. 

Q:  What advice do you give companies?

  • Align salary with desired skills.  Insight has a tremendous internal resources to help companies benchmark a reasonable salary for the open position.  Wanting too much for too little money won’t attract the right candidates or provide for a long term, happy new hire. 

  • Ask behavioral questions in the interview.  Get to know the candidate’s approach to work, their personality, and the type of person they are.  

  • A good process leads to a good result.  If you have candidates meet with more than one person during an interview session, plan in advance who will ask what questions or focus on what areas.  Perhaps someone is responsible for asking more technical/skills based questions while someone else focuses on cultural fit and another asks standard interview questions.  

For more advice from Insight’s recruiting team, call Kendra or Patty.   

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HR Carnival

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 @ 08:13 AM

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Summer is carefree and relaxed – anything goes.  Keeping in the theme of a carefree summer, the topics for this month’s carnival are varied, but thought provoking and informative. 

The summer kicked off with World Cup Fever.  With Germany winning it all, Wally Bock of Envisa Learning looks at the German leadership development program and pulls out some key tips in his post “Leadership Development: Building a Program the German Way.

Everyone knows that employee engagement can be the key to great company performance.  Ian Welsh of takes this a step further and talks about the need to involve all personnel, including contractors, part-timers and out-sourced/external providers when it comes to workplace engagement, in his post “The Need to Notch-Up Engagement to Include EVERYONE.”  No longer is engaging just your regular employees enough.

A successful career means different things to different people.  Georgiana-Florina Mihalache of Human Resources FAQ illustrates a few steps to help employees at different levels of their career achieve their goals in “How to Have a Successful Career.

Jane Purdue with The Lead Change Group challenges people to open their minds a little bit and be willing to hear what people say instead of being so quick to disagree and attack, in her post “Pass the Tolerance, Please.”

Ben Eubanks with UpstartHR outlines that the goal of HR is supporting leadership, managers, and employees, but “how” to do that is sometimes a challenge.  He outlines a few common problems that face HR and proposes some solutions to the problems in his post “The Goal of Human Resource Management.”

Leaders inspire and spearhead change, but having a roadmap to do so can be helpful.  Dan McCarthy with Management and Leadership outlines 10 recommended change models that he’s used in his post “10 Models for Leading Change.”

 Gaining clarity in a situation can offer the energy and motivation to act, but you need to seize the moment and avoid resistance to move forward.  Susan Mazza with Random Acts of Leadership outlines how clarity can be a driving force in her post “The Step After Getting Clear.”

Amit Baghria of The Young HR Manager discusses team collaboration myths that affect the effectiveness of teamwork in his post “Team Building.”

Danielle Weinblatt, of Take the Interview, discusses why it may be beneficial to rethink the way that recruiting organizations operate and the importance of having great communication between recruiters and the departments for which they’re seeking great talent in her recent blog, “Crossing the Battle Line: How Business Lines can Benefit Recruiting

Everyone loves a good workout and James Ellis of TMP Worldwide, writes about “The Talent Acquisition Gym” which provides motivation to help talent acquisition pros get in tip-top shape with strategies and recruiting tactics that actually work. 

John Piazza’s from the Randstad Sourceright blog writes about how “Market Basket protests reveal five lessons in leadership and loyalty.”  He takes on recent news of Market Basket’s employee protests and campaigns, following the firing of their company’s former CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas. Piazza discusses the importance of great leadership and what employers and leaders can learn from this news event – from what it means to foster loyalty to building great relationships with employees.

Shawna Berthold, from Technomedia, provides insight to help employers make the most of their training and leadership development budget dollars. Providing best practices – from how to get employees engaged in the process, to understanding the stakeholders and tracking success “Closing Talent Gaps with the Right Technology.”

How Much is Experience Really Worth? A Unique Approach to the Talent Screening Process,” from Jessica Leong on the Findly blog explores how relevant past experience is to the potential success of a job candidate and offers readers tips to ensure they’re not overlooking a great future employee as a result.

Creating a work-life balance in today’s world isn’t easy.  Stephanie Hammerwold of Blogging 4 Jobs discusses the importance of balance and some thoughts on how to get there in her post “Creating a Work Life Balance.” 

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context, discusses the idea of “Net Positive” and the positive impact of our leadership in her post “Is Your Leadership Net Positive?

Andrew Tarvin, of Humor that Works, leaves us with some highlights from his talk at the TEDx Talk Conference on how humor really can have a positive impact in the workplace in his post “Humor at Work TEDx Talk.”

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Do's and Don'ts of summer dress codes from head to toe

Posted by Julie Sears on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 03:48 PM

Summer Suit

It may be air conditioned in the office, but summer still brings out the widest array of attire by employees.  To be sure you can keep your cool when it comes to enforcing office dress code policies, follow these do’s and don’ts.

Do:  Know that you have the power to set the rules and enforce them. Dress codes can be different for men and women (if they are fair and not discriminatory) and for in-office and client-sites.  You can also include non-attire appearance issues like tattoos, piercings, and hairstyles. The rules must be enforced uniformly for each group.

Don’t:  Expect your employees to read your mind.  Include your dress code in the employee handbook including penalties for non-compliance.  Also, it won’t take much effort to email or post the dress code policy each Memorial Day as a friendly reminder.

Do:  Be consistent with enforcement and offer specific guidance for improvement.  It’s easier to maintain a standard than raise it.  New employees will also appreciate being able to see what others are wearing and follow suit.

Don’t:  Play favorites or make exceptions without cause for certain people. You’ll open your company to legal claims.  Remember, however that according to the EEOC, unless it would be an undue hardship, an employer must reasonably accommodate an employee's religious practices including such things as dress or grooming.

Do:  Explain why the dress code is important to your business and its reputation.  Consider your company’s culture when reviewing your dress code.  Creative agencies may have different norms than financial firms.

Don’t:  Leave people guessing.  Give them an internal go-to person for questions about the rules.

Do:  Be specific. “Casual” means different things to different people.  Dictate the acceptable length of skirts/dresses; whether shorts are ever appropriate; or what defines an “open toed shoe” or flip flop or sandal.

Don’t: Be too specific.  Unless you plan to start issuing uniforms, value your employees’ diversity of style as long as the wardrobe is within acceptable dress code guidelines, the employee should be free to wear what they want. Freedom of expression, particularly in the summer, is a highly valued trait by employees.

Do:  If you have “Casual Fridays” consider including language in your dress code that is
specific to this privilege in the dress code.  This will give you something to reference when addressing violations. 

Don’t:  Let “Causal Friday” become “Unproductive Friday”.  Remember, your company is more than a set of fashion guidelines. 

One more thing:  Guidelines and codes are a great start, but mentoring and offering guidance is also highly valued.  Rising stars may not recognize it if their attire is holding them back from out-of-office meetings or even a promotion.  Consider finding a way to quietly point younger people in the right direction.

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What Not to Wear to the Office

Posted by Julie Sears on Fri, May 16, 2014 @ 02:58 PM

For years, there was a shift toward casual dress in offices all across the country. Some businesses have since shifted back to a more restrictive dress code because of the difficulty in defining and managing appropriate casual dress. However, many businesses continue to use a casual dress code as an inexpensive way to boost employee morale and for the summer months, an even greater number of employers implement a summer casual dress policy.  Employers implementing casual dress code policies should provide specific guidelines. 

Click the image below to watch Nancy Saperstone's Fox 25 News Boston interview where she talks about the importance of having a casual dress code policy and what to think about when developing your policy.




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Do Your Employees Know What To Do In Case of an Emergency?

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Thu, May 15, 2014 @ 01:08 PM

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According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), workplace fires and explosions kill 200 workers and injure more than 5,000 employees each year, at a cost of $2.3 billion annually. Use this emergency action and fire prevention exercise to make sure you and you're workforce are prepared for emergencies. 

Choose Yes or No for each statement. Do you know:

  • The location of fire alarms near your work area? Yes / No

  • How to activate fire alarms? Yes / No

  • How to recognize the emergency signal? Yes / No

  • How to report an emergency? Yes / No

  • Who to contact in an emergency? Yes / No

  • Your emergency assignment? Yes / No

  • The designated evacuation route(s) from your work area? Yes / No

  • Evacuation routes from areas in the workplace other than your work area where you frequently go (restrooms, break rooms, etc.)? Yes / No

  • The assembly area outside where you must go following evacuation? Yes / No

  • The location of shelter-in-place areas within the workplace? Yes / No

If you answered "No" for any of the above statements, find out the information now and feel prepared for emergencies! 


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Ask Dave HR Legal Compliance - FLSA & Overtime

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Mon, May 12, 2014 @ 12:12 PM

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Question:  I have employees who need the money and want to work overtime, but I cannot afford to pay them overtime. A group of them have approached me and said that they will agree in writing to be paid straight time and not take 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for hours over 40, they just need the extra hours and money. I want to help them out, can I do this?

Answer:  Unfortunately, no. An employer and its employees are not allowed to make special contracts that defeat the Fair Labor Standards Act. While federal law requires employees be paid time and one half for all hours worked over 40 in that weekly pay period, some state laws require overtime to be paid after 8 hours in a day. Please check your specific state law to ensure compliance.

Dave Wilson has spent over two decades litigating wage and hour, employment, real estate, maritime, and general commercial disputes in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Dave spends a significant amount of his time acting as a business partner with his clients, counseling and training them in all areas of employment relations law. Please visit the Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP website for more information.

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