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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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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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Stress-Free Vacation Prep is Good for Work-Life Balance

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Mon, May 05, 2014 @ 08:53 AM


Warmer weather is approaching, which is typically when many employees like to use their vacation time.  Time off is key to maintiaining a good work-life balance but, if your employees feel too stressed getting out the door, it may be doing more harm than good. Below are some ideas for stress-free vacation preparation. (Not all of these suggestions may fit all kinds of jobs. Consider choosing the ones that fit your industry or profession.) 

  • Plan vacation dates for slow times at work.

  • Put in for vacation requests well ahead, so your supervisor can plan for your absence and work with your supervisor to arrange your workload around your time off.

  • Start the process of getting ahead several weeks before your vacation rather than cramming in the week before.

  • Talk with co-workers about helping each other out for your respective vacations.

  • Set up a vacation e-mail notifying co-workers and customers of your absence and return date, and directing them to another source for their needs.

  • Set up a vacation voicemail with the same information. This is common courtesy and may help lessen your workload upon return as people get what they need from the source you list.

Vacations are very important for a wellness lifestyle. All work and no play makes you more than dull and it can be dangerous to your health. So take time to relax with family and friends and don't let your getaway become a source of stress!

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New York City - Mandatory Sick Leave

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Thu, May 01, 2014 @ 10:31 AM

Excerpt from Client Alert sent March 2014:

The New York City law which requires that employers with more than 20 employees to give paid sick time has been expanded to require employers with 5 or more employees to comply on October 1, 2014.  Employers with 20 or more employees must comply on April 1, 2014 per the original ruling.  Employers with less than 5 employees will be required to provide leave, but it can be unpaid.  There are some exceptions for hourly educational employees and manufacturing employees.

Applicable employers must provide 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year.

Upon hire, employers are required to provide written notice about sick time accruals, the accrual year and the use of sick time.  The notice should also include information about employees’ ability to file complaints and retaliation protection.

Action Steps:

  • Update employee handbooks and policies to


  • Ensure payroll systems are set-up to accommodate

    the new provisions.

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An Entrepreneurial Mind = Employee Engagement

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 @ 01:36 PM


A 2011 Gallup Poll found that 71% of all employees are “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged” with their jobs.  While the survey is a few years old at this point, this is an alarming statistic which likely hasn’t changed significantly.  Disengaged employees are less productive, have decreased motivation and low morale.  They’re also likely to bring others down with them.  In short, they’re not good for business

In contrast, in her Elements of the Entrepreneurs, Heidi Neck of the Babson Entrepreneur Experience Lab, suggests that an entrepreneurial employee within an organization is just the opposite – they are highly engaged and invested in the success of the organization.  For these types of employees, it’s not simply a job for them.  They’re not solely tied to the title and job responsibilities that are listed on their job description.  Entrepreneurs within take responsibility to find better ways to do things and act as change agents.  They are invested in the success of the business.

So, this begs the question, how do I get my employees to think this way?  How do we get them to be entrepreneurs within the organization and invest themselves as if they were owners of the business and to drive the company’s success?  Join us on May 7 for Insight Performance’s Complimentary Seminar and hear Professor Neck address this topic.

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Employee Evaluations Go Beyond Performance Management

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 @ 01:01 PM

Employee Evaluations are a vital part of performance management.  But the attitudes and strategies associated with them are changing.  Read Evaluation Evolution in Retail Leader magazine with quotes from Nancy Mobley, CEO, on how employee evaluations can go beyond performance management to contribute to a company's strategic vision.  

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25% of Employees Are Not Using All Eligible Vacation

Posted by Nancy Saperstone on Mon, Apr 07, 2014 @ 08:43 AM

A survey result found that only 25% of employees took all their accrued vacation time last year and 15% took no vacation at all.  To make matters worse, when on vacation, the majority of employees say they still check in with the office and do work while away. Nancy Saperstone addresses this issue on Fox News Boston and discusses ways businesses can encourage their employees to take accrued time.

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Complimentary Seminar - Entrepreneurial Leadership: Leverage Human Resources for Greater Success

Posted by Julie Sears on Thu, Apr 03, 2014 @ 07:18 PM

Entrepreneurial Leadership seminar

Bentley University Conference Center

May 7, 2014 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Join Insight Performance for this timely Human Resources seminar. Hear expert guidance on how to leverage your most valuable resource - your people - to remain nimble and innovative while focusing on your core expertise. The most effective small businesses understand the need that HR plays in company growth and success. 


You'll hear spirited presentations that address the common and unique concerns of entrepreneurial leadership: entrepreneurial leaders inspire others to embrace extreme uncertainty using a specific methodology.  Hear the best practices of leaders who cultivate entrepreneurs inside their organizations.

  • Learn how to maximize each employee's potential and ensure their career goals align with your company's strategic direction.

  • See how exchanges, defined contribution models and current trends are impacting the employee benefits and HR marketplace.

  • Gain guidance on financial and marketplace trends for 2014 to achieve financial health and wellness.

Keynote Address by Heidi M. Neck, Ph.D. 

Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, Babson College
Organizations are not entrepreneurial. People are. Compelling research identifying the practice of leaders who cultivate entrepreneurs 

Dave Caruso, Founding Chairman/Managing Director,
Coastal Capital Group, LLC  
2014 Market Trends and Considerations for Financial Wellness

From Insight Performance:
From Benefit Exchanges to HR Trends: What Matters Today
See how exchanges, defined contribution models and current trends are impacting the employee benefits and HR marketplace.

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 May 7, 2014!

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