Tom Ceconi

Find me on:

Recent Posts

Five Ways to Prevent Workplace Harassment [Video Blog]

Posted on Jul 17, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Every employer should make preventing workplace harassment a top priority Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that may violate federal laws such Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a list of best practices for employers to use to prevent harassment in their workplaces. These include:

Read More

Six Steps for Avoiding Rejected Job Offers [Video Blog]

Posted on Jul 3, 2019 5:00:00 AM

A rejected job offer for a key position can cost your organization thousands of dollars in wasted time and expenses. Fortunately, rejected offers are not inevitable. Creating a great job offer requires research and the ability to sell both the position and your organization. Taking a few simple but necessary steps can help get you and your ideal candidate on the same page. Consider the following:

1. Gather information from employees. Survey your new hires to find out why they accepted their jobs. Ask them which parts of the offer were most attractive, which were neutral, and which were negative. While you’re at it, ask these new hires—and even applicants—about your recruitment process. This is the only aspect of your company an applicant will have been exposed to, so he or she may judge the company overall based on impressions formed during this time.

2. Take a close look at your offer letter. Is it effective in describing the job and painting the company in a positive light? Does it include all the perks, benefits, and incentives available to employees? Does it stand out among the competition? You can even ask your new hires if they’d be willing to share offer letters they’ve received from other organizations to assess whether you’re in line with industry norms.

3. Talk to the ones that got away. Reach out to candidates who declined your offer and ask if they’d be willing to complete a survey. Most will initially cite salary as the reason they rejected your organization, but this may not truly be the case. If you contact them three to six months later you are likely to receive a more complete answer. Also consider running focus groups at industry events to learn why people in your field accept or reject offers.

4. Sell the supervisor. A candidate’s perception of his or her direct supervisor is critical. It is always beneficial for the supervisor to interview the candidate. Both parties need to evaluate their potential relationship. Most applicants are concerned with open communication; flexibility; growth and learning opportunities; and control of whom they work with and when their work must take place. Tell applicants what they can expect on a daily basis, both in terms of the relationship with their manager and their role within a team or department.


5. Think about timing. The timing of your offer can make a big difference. If a candidate receives an offer from another company, you should make your offer sooner to compete. If your recruit is not actively job searching, it may be more effective to move slowly. This gives your candidate time to get comfortable with the idea of making a move.

6. Tailor offer to the specific candidate’s needs. During the interview process, ask questions like “What elements of the profession do you want more or less of in your next job?” and “What would be your dream job in terms of location, co-workers, projects, work environment, and manager?” Ask, “What is your worst-case job situation, and why?” Use this feedback to create a job offer letter that speaks to the individual.

In closing, remember that even seemingly ideal job offers get rejected. There are only so many variables you can control. But gathering information, evaluating your process, and being willing to make changes will go a long way toward limiting your number of rejected offers.

Read More

Six Tips for Overcoming Workplace Negativity [Video Blog]

Posted on Jun 19, 2019 5:00:00 AM

Employees can lose motivation during periods of layoffs, high turnover, economic downturns, and other challenging situations. A negative atmosphere can set in and damage productivity. But all is not lost. You can engage and encourage even the most cynical employees with a few simple strategies.

1. Begin at the top. All senior- and junior-level managers must be on the same page. Employees should be encouraged to think positively, focus on organizational goals, and move past negativity. A consistent message is essential to promoting an environment of togetherness.

2. Make a management change if necessary. Even a top executive should be replaced if not performing to the best of his or her ability. Demonstrating a strong work ethic is key during challenging times at your company. The commitment to exceed potential must begin with company leadership.

3. Find leaders from within. There are always motivated people in an organization. These are employees who continue to perform, despite organizational setbacks or a pessimistic work culture. They should be recognized as role models who can encourage and teach others.

4. Don’t let fear overtake your culture. Remind employees about the positives in the organization’s outlook, even if your company is going through a rough time. Do your best to communicate regularly and honestly with employees.

5. Embrace change. Encourage employees to experiment with their methods. Take a look at different ways of doing things. New processes may seem foreign at first, but they can be more effective and efficient in the long run.

6. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to solicit help. Seek out those who are good at conflict resolution, motivating others, and curbing negative attitudes. Ask them for advice on how to turn a corner with employees who are resistant to change.

Overcoming negativity in the workplace isn’t easy. But it is possible. Managing with these tips in mind can help move your organization in a positive direction, even in challenging times.How to Keep Your Employees  Motivated and Productive [Video Blog]
Read More

Apprenticeship Programs [Video Blog]

Posted on Jun 5, 2019 5:00:00 AM

Finding qualified job candidates can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially when you’re searching for skilled workers. If this sounds like your situation, it may be time to consider an apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeships are growing in popularity across the United States, and with good reason: these programs benefit workers and business owners alike. Employees learn necessary skills while earning a paycheck, and employers develop a staff of qualified workers trained to their specifications.

This steady flow of talent can help companies maintain productivity and workflow. For example, when a senior employee retires or leaves, a trained apprentice might be ready to fill that opening right away. Apprenticeships are also useful in building loyalty among the employees you train, and in bolstering your reputation in the community. This is especially true if your program partners with a local school.

Apprenticeship programs are popular in many fields. Some are industries with a long history of apprenticeships, including skilled trades like electricians, plumbers, machinists, and builders. A few of the other top areas for apprenticeships are nursing, pharmacy, and information technology. All told, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than a thousand occupations currently use apprenticeships.

Every apprenticeship program is unique, but they are generally governed by similar guidelines and regulations. They typically last one to six years, during which time your apprentices will be working and learning. This means on-the-job training combined with formal education such as high school or post-high school classes; online courses; or in-person courses at an on-site classroom or training center.
Apprenticeships can be run by employers; sponsored by professional associations; or administered by employer/labor partnerships.


Apprenticeship programs must comply with state and federal laws. Some industries also have management or labor organizations that set standards and supervise apprenticeship training. Make sure you understand and comply with any laws, regulations, or standards that apply to your program before you put it in place. These include:

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): This law requires that apprentices are at least 16 years old and sign an agreement to learn a skilled trade.

• Wage regulations: Apprentices can be paid less than minimum wage. Usually, they begin at a third to half of the rate for skilled professionals, and their wages increase as they learn. Laws may require raises at given intervals, such after the first six months.

• State laws: Individual states may have laws about the number of working hours allowed and the minimum wage required. If an apprentice ever performs the work of a professional—say, during a worker shortage—the pay must usually be a professional rate.

A written agreement is useful for clarifying the terms of the apprenticeship for both the employer and the apprentice. This document should specify how the apprenticeship works; how long it will last; pay rates; and what work qualifies for pay.

The Department of Labor is a great resource for employers interested in apprenticeships. You can even formally register your apprenticeship program with the agency. The Department’s Office of Apprenticeship will then work with you to design a training program and curriculum that fits your business. They will also help connect you with job seekers in your industry. You may even qualify for state tax benefits. You can learn more about apprenticeship by visiting the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

You may not have considered apprenticeship as a staffing solution in the past. But it’s an option worth thinking about, especially if you’re having a tough time finding skilled professionals. Apprenticeship programs are a valuable investment in your employees, your industry, and the future of your company.

Read More

Do's and Don'ts for ADA Reasonable Accommodations [Video Blog]

Posted on May 22, 2019 5:00:00 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. In 2008, the law was updated to broaden the definition of disability. Among other things, the law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals during all phases of employment. Failing to comply can result in costly lawsuits and enforcement actions.

Let’s look at some simple Do’s and Don’ts that can help you avoid common mistakes about reasonable accommodations:

DO begin with the decision to educate yourself. Knowledge of the law will help you prepare, so you can protect your company from liability.

DON’T end the conversation too quickly if you can’t easily identify a reasonable accommodation. These might include working part time, reassigning the employee, or providing an unpaid leave of absence.

DO keep job descriptions up to date, including essential functions. You have a responsibility to reasonably accommodate an employee who can’t perform an essential function. But you are not obligated to eliminate an essential function, such as lifting, standing, or working long hours. Accurate job descriptions can help legally prove which functions are essential and which are not.

DON’T take a manager’s word that a specific function is essential. This can be contested if the issue goes to court. Employers should investigate for themselves and decide whether a function is essential.

DO create and distribute a reasonable accommodation policy to show your commitment to ADA compliance. The policy should direct all reasonable accommodation requests to Human Resources, not supervisors. HR professionals are better equipped to deal with the nuances and legal risks of handling ADA requests.


DON’T overuse the undue hardship provision to deny accommodations. Factors such as cost or other employees’ reactions are generally not acceptable reasons for refusing an accommodation.

DO train supervisors to refer reasonable accommodation requests to HR. In addition, they should know how to handle ADA situations in job interviews and daily work with employees.

DON’T discuss details of an employee’s disability with his or her manager. The manager needs to know only about the accommodation being provided. An exception would be a disability that affects how the manager will interact with the employee, such as a hearing impairment.

DO consider other laws applicable to an employee’s disability. For example, a disability under the ADA often also qualifies as a serious health condition under FMLA, so FMLA provisions might come into play.

DON’T outright reject a request because it seems impractical. Follow the process and work toward a resolution.

DO make sure to properly document all accommodation requests, particularly those that are denied. Careful documentation will help you defend your decision in the event of future litigation.

DON’T be tempted to eliminate essential functions of a job, even for a limited time. This can make it harder to argue later that the function is essential for the current or any future employee.

DO take responsibility. Employers are ultimately responsible for investigating possible accommodations. If an employee doesn’t offer suggestions after a request, do try to find an accommodation for them.

DON’T take performance into account when deciding if an accommodation is reasonable. All workers should be treated the same in this process, whether high performers or underachievers.

In closing, remember that the burden has shifted to employers to provide reasonable accommodations and to show care in handling disability issues in the workplace. Keep your organization in compliance by learning about the ADA and the ADA amendments act. This can help protect you from costly lawsuits and penalties down the line.

Read More

7 Steps to Creating a Mentoring Program [Video Blog]

Posted on May 8, 2019 5:00:00 AM

Mentoring programs are a great way to build a knowledgeable, productive, workforce. They’ve been shown to boost employee satisfaction and engagement, and to reduce turnover. Whether it’s to ease the transition for new hires or to develop skills in longtime employees, mentoring makes sense for companies of all types.

Read More

5 Tips for Managing Chronic Complainers [Video Blog]

Posted on Apr 24, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Managing employees can be a challenge, especially if one of them is a chronic complainer. Most of us know the type: employees who always see the glass as half empty. Nonstop gripers disrupt their colleagues and create a toxic environment for everyone. At the same time, these employees may be good at their jobs or have special skills you need, which makes the situation even trickier to handle.

Read More

Managing Employees Through Winter Weather [Video Blog]

Posted on Apr 10, 2019 7:00:00 AM

The science of predicting snowstorms has grown increasingly accurate. Still, meteorologists sometimes get it wrong, warning of "snowmageddons" that never materialize, but whose threatened arrival cause businesses—and even entire cities—to shutter needlessly. So what’s an employer to do when snow is in the forecast?

Read More

Five Childcare Benefits for Working Parents [Video Blog]

Posted on Mar 22, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Time and again, working parents identify childcare as their top concern. As a manager, you recognize that the benefits you offer have a strong effect on how job candidates view your company. Your ability to attract working parents may come down to whether you offer childcare help as a benefit.

Indeed, childcare can be a crippling expense for working parents, with costs for at-home care averaging more than $28,000 a year in the United States. Easing this burden with strong workplace initiatives can help you attract and retain employees. The following strategies can enhance your appeal to employees with children.

1. PTO and flexible scheduling. Paid time off is often used to attract talent, especially millennials. However, it should also be pitched as a family-friendly benefit to working parents. Parents need time off for things like children’s medical appointments, unexpected illnesses, family vacations, and school events. Generous PTO and flexible scheduling make juggling work and home life much easier for families.

2. On-site childcare. This option may be expensive; it will also require considerable buy-in from management. However, on-site care addresses many concerns shared by working parents and could prove to be a “make-or-break” retention benefit for your workforce. Research shows that employees perform better and come to work more regularly when using on-site childcare. Employees also report that on-site childcare improves their ability to concentrate on their jobs.

3. Childcare subsidies. On-site childcare may not be possible. But consider enticing working parents by paying a portion of off-site childcare costs. With childcare ranking as one of largest expenses working families face, offering a subsidy can tip the scales in your favor when employees are weighing career options.

4. Childcare referrals. Even if you can’t afford on-site childcare or a subsidy, you can still help. Consider offering childcare support by establishing a resource network for your employees with children. Gather recommendations and information about local childcare providers and options, and make it readily available.

5. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). Many working parents find it hard to balance work and home life, especially after the birth of their first child. This stress can take a toll on their emotional health and work performance. You can help employees navigate this challenging time by offering counseling through an employee assistance program. An EAP is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees. EAPs address a broad and complex body of issues affecting mental and emotional wellbeing. You can choose the right EAP vendor for your organization’s needs and tailor the program to your workforce. EAPs are usually entirely paid for by the employer. Their benefits are offered to employees as well as their families.

Every working parent is different. No one solution can address all your employees’ needs. But recognizing the importance of childcare is essential. Offering support and solutions can go a long way toward attracting and retaining valued employees.

Read More

Employee Pay During Weather Closures [Video Blog]

Posted on Feb 15, 2019 6:00:00 AM

In extreme weather, safety concerns, closed roads, and states of emergency might lead you to shutter your business temporarily. But do you have to pay your employees while you're waiting for the storm to pass?

Read More

Subscribe by Email

New Call-to-action

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Posts by Category

see all

Let's Be Friends: Connect with Us