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What to Wear on Your First Day at a New Job

Just like the first day of school, the first day at a new job can be exciting and a little nerve-racking. Maintaining your self-proclaimed “efficiency in Excel” or thinking about the commute is usually at the forefront of your mind, but what you wear is a key detail to successfully stepping into your new career. Here are some tips on what to wear on your first day at a new job:

The Basics
Wearing “Business Casual” attire is always your best bet when starting a new job. Even if the office is more casual (jeans and a t-shirt) or traditional business (suits and high heels), you will fit right in between the mix with a business casual choice. Once you’re clear on the company culture overall, you can adjust your attire, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Secretly you get a small pass on wardrobe as no one expects you to know exactly what to do on your first day anyway.

BEWARE: Even in business casual attire, you can make the mistake of wearing something too tight that can either be unflattering or show a bit too much. When in doubt, go with loose and comfy clothing and do the “fingertip” test (then add 2 more inches) for skirts.

Follow the Clues for Cues
A little tip – if you read this article BEFORE you start your first day and you have a chance to do a “second interview” or somehow get into the office before your official first day, pay attention to what other employees are wearing and model their attire.

A Staple Piece
Business casual is safe but, do not be afraid to add your own flair and “brighten up” your look. A great necklace or piece of jewelry is always a good way to make your first-day outfit “your own”. It’s been said that a unique piece of jewelry, shoes or accessory is always a great conversation starter. If you want to really show off, you can throw the colors of the company into your color/ clothing options.

It’s All in the Details

Fashion Stylist Natalie Sexton says, “Remember that details matter, and it’s often the simple things that pull your look together: a fresh haircut, manicured nails, and a classic makeup look”. We completely agree! Neatness, cleanliness, and tailoring can take your look to the next level and it’s an easy way to show your commitment and desire to represent the company well– even when you’re out of the office on business travel or at a networking event. Your appearance could be the difference between you getting a promotion!

Ultimately, the clothes really do make the man or woman. Fashion guru and life coach Mary Patterson always says, “ Dress how you want to be addressed!”. To many employers, your appearance translates to how you’ll perform in that role. It is also an indicator of how you will represent the company when you are out of the office. If you’re a manager with aspirations to become a CEO, get into the habit of dressing like a CEO now.

Workopolis Careers Advice
Elite Daily

Personnel Files: What’s in Your File?

Every employer maintains a personnel file for each employee that includes pertinent and private information. A personnel file usually contains information about a staff member’s employment history with details about compensation, disciplinary actions, etc. Within each personnel file, there should be two sections – one being a general file and the other being a confidential file.

The Basics

The general personnel file should contain documents related to selection, hiring and employment (e.g., job descriptions, job advertisements, applications/resumes, references, disciplinary documents). The confidential personnel files contain all the documents that generally only the HR department would have access to, like medical documents, background check records, drug testing records and investigation documents. Just as the file’s name suggests, this file is confidential and should be privy to individuals with a professionally legitimate “need-to-know” basis.

There are times when a manager who is a subordinate to an HR Director or CEO may have access to some of the information in a confidential file. For an example, a hiring manager would be notified when an applicant passes/fails a drug test, but they would not be granted access to the document itself because of the confidential data it may contain (e.g., the drug test result document may contain the individual’s social security number and generally managers do not need, nor should they have access to social security numbers).

Additional Files

In some cases, managers may maintain a separate “working desk file” or supervisory file that usually includes employee performance and behavior. The sign of a good manager is one who (according to the University of Texas at Austin) does the following:

“…managers [should] adopt a process of documenting what is directly observed and notable about an employee’s performance as well as content of informal conversations with employees about their performance and/or conduct. These notes should be factual, objective, dated, written in a timely manner, and cover both positive and negative observations and discussions. Having these notes will improve the manager’s ability to write a thorough annual performance review including examples and dates.” (University of Texas at Austin, Human Resources)

Onboarding Documents

Outside of the file folders listed there are other documents like I-9’s and EE0-1 forms that should be maintained in a separate binder away from personnel files. Just like the general and confidential files, these documents should be kept under lock and key with limited access.

Employee Access to Files

Employees have the right to access their personnel files and it is good practice for them do so periodically. Some companies choose a formal request method with a trail of paperwork and others allow informal requests via email. Regardless of the method, each company should be sure to create a solid policy and procedure that is clearly communicated to employees and managers.
Another good practice is to maintain Personnel Files Access logs for each file. To ensure accountability and accurate record-keeping, individuals should be granted access through a Single Sign-On (SSO) process. Sometimes employees take documents or make changes to documents without fully understanding that those actions may jeopardize the company; since the HR department is responsible for maintaining compliance standards, a representative from the department should always chaperone these access visits.

As always, HRinMotion, LLC is here to assist you with your policy and procedural needs. Give us a call at 240-838-7142 or email us at to schedule your consultation.


Boomerang Employees: Should You Rehire a Former Employee?

You’ve thrown a fun and honorable “Going Away” party and have already started the hiring process for an employee who has decided to leave the company. Then you catch wind that this same employee would like to return to the company. How do you handle the decision to rehire a former employee?

While rehiring is very common with seasonal jobs or in niche industries where the amount of qualified candidates are scarce, rehiring was typically frowned upon years ago;however, times are changing as pools of talent are becoming smaller and smaller. In 2017, Jobvite reported that 65% of HR recruiters report that the biggest challenge in hiring is a shortage of talent. (EBI,Inc.) A 2015 survey by Workplace Trends also noted that 76% of HR professionals say they are more likely to hire these “boomerang employees” now than in the past. (Glassdoor)

That being said, there are pros and cons to rehiring employees and as a hiring manager or CEO, it is important to consider all angles before opening the door to the past.


  • A former employee is familiar with the company. Former employees have a leg up on the competition when it comes to understanding company culture, having experience with internal processes and familiarity with current staff. It isn’t the worst thing to have someone from the family return to familiar waters.

  • A rehire may return with improved skills and new knowledge. Boomerang employees may return with more than their favorite coffee mug. If you decide to let a former staff member return, they will be eager to share new skills or or any continued education they’ve acquired since leaving.

  • An employee returning may be a testament to a healthy and supportive work environment. If an employee returns, this can be seen as a good sign for the company. Although upon first glance it may seem like the employee is just desperate and is willing to go back to a job they dreaded in the past, it still shows that they would rather come back to their former workplace than to explore (too many) other options and companies.


  • A former employee may cost MORE money. In some cases, rehiring a former employee may save you money. You may spend less time (and money) onboarding and training or maybe the employee will keep their former salary;however, a former employee may come back with very high demands. In some cases companies may recruit former employees during a restructuring phase and if they are in management, they may be privy to the allocation of funds and require more for doing more. While this isn’t the most unfair stance, companies may save money by hiring a new employee with lower salary demands.

  • A rehire may bring down company morale. Some employees may not be so happy to see a former employee walk (back) through the door. If there was friction when they left, that friction may return with them. Other staff members who may have been vying for institutional change or even for that former employee’s position may feel threatened and unhappy. Check the pulse of your staff members and consult with your human resources department about complaints or internal issues that could arise.

  • An employee who returns may leave again. Employees leave companies for many different reasons. Sometimes those reasons are out of a company’s control and other times the reasons are a direct (and negative) result of their experience in the same work environment. An employee may want more money or an opportunity for upward mobility which is not always viewed negatively from either side if there’s just no room in the budget or company. On the other hand they may not like working conditions, hate the commute into the office or may not be in the field they actually plan to stay in long-term. Those variables are usually a sign that this boomerang-er may actually leave again. If you’re considering rehiring a former employee, be sure you’re clear on why they left the first time and while most employees won’t be completely honest, trust your gut if you feel this employee will exit stage left (again).


Four Ways to Enhance Your Business This Summer

Soak up the sun and enhance your business this summer! Use the sunshine months to incorporate these great marketing strategies into your planning:

Clean House

Spring has sprung but a good old spring cleaning this summer would be great. Use the summer days in the office to clean your workspace or paint a new accent wall. Prepare for success by organizing your files and emails. Take this opportunity to clean and get organized so you can get a jumpstart on the successful future of your business.

Reach Out to Your Customers

Host a Meet & Greet cookout for your customers. Ask a local vendor to give you coupons and distribute them to your customers with a nice handwritten note. Find fun and easy ways to connect and gain visibility with customers. They will remember you when it’s time to do business later in the year.

Plan Your Future

Unless your industry’s busy months are directly connected to the summer months (ice cream parlors, summer camps) the summer is usually a downtime for most businesses. Employees usually take vacations and the office can look like a ghost town. This is a great time to generate plans for your fall and winter initiatives. Have you been wanting to do a cause marketing campaign for the holidays? Start the conversation with a local nonprofit organization now.

Company Outing

Company gatherings are great for boosting company morale, increasing staff retention and allowing the staff to bond outside of the office. While some companies opt for a formal holiday party, hosting an event in the summer can offer the same benefits in a less formal (and sometimes cheaper) setting. Get group tickets to a baseball game or visit your local theme park. Wine festivals and company picnics are fun options as well. Don’t forget to take pictures and post them to your company’s social media page – it never hurts your business to show you and your employees having fun together.

Inclement Weather, Emergencies, and Payroll

Snow days. Hurricanes. Icy road conditions. Tornado warnings. Business closures. Power outages.

As a business owner, how often do you think about these types of scenarios and what they mean to your company’s payroll? The answer is probably not often enough– that is, until inclement weather conditions arise.

Many business owners then conclude that “if the business is closed, no one gets paid”. As a premier human resource consulting firm, we tend to hear this from business owners and managers far too often and it’s scary. There are employment and labor laws at the federal and state level surrounding such incidences that dictate several compensation requirements, because there are times you must pay an employee even if the business is closed due to inclement weather.

Generally, when a business closes due to inclement weather, exempt employees (those who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)) must be compensated if they are willing and able to work and perform some work within the payroll period (even as little as a few minutes). This applies even when an employer does not have any work for the employee. However, when the business closes for the same reasons as above, a non-exempt employee (those who are not exempt from the FLSA and receive overtime) would not be compensated if they do not work.

Here are a few scenarios you can use as a guide for your specific situations:

SCENARIO 1: A non-exempt employee refuses to come into work.

RECOMMENDATION: You do not have to compensate the employee because they did not perform any work.

SCENARIO 2 A non-exempt employee arrives to work late.

RECOMMENDATION: You must compensate the employee for the time they actually work.

SCENARIO 3 An exempt employee refuses to come into work.

RECOMMENDATION: You do not have to compensate the employee for the day because it would fall under what the FLSA calls a day off for personal reasons.

Note: An exempt employee who refuses to come into work but performs work at home must be paid. Employers may discipline an employee for who refuses to come into work in accordance with their policies on the matter.

SCENARIO 4 An exempt employee arrives late to work.

RECOMMENDATION: You must compensate the employee for the full day.

Note: An exempt employee who performs even a few minutes of work is to be compensated for the entire day.

As mentioned, you can discipline the employee for not reporting to work at the designated time in accordance with your policies on the matter. The rule of thumb for non-exempt employees “No work, no pay”. The rule of the thumb for an exempt employee: “Pay to Play”.

As always, HRinMotion, LLC is here to assist you with your compliance needs. Give us a call at 240-838-7142 or email us at to schedule your consultation. It is always a pleasure serving you and your organization.

The Fair Labor Standards Act and How They Affect Small Businesses

Being a small employer may shield you from complying with some hefty laws, but it will not shield you from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA). The FLSA applies to all employers, regardless of size, but it does have a few exceptions. The focal point of the law is wage and hour standards that affect minimum wage and overtime, employment of minors, and recordkeeping requirements.

Employee Classification

The first step to compliance of the law is accurately classifying your workforce as “employees” or “independent contractors”. You will then further classify your employees as either “exempt” or “non-exempt”. These two categories (exempt and non-exempt) are for FLSA purposes. Non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked after 40 hours in a workweek. Exempt employees are not entitled to overtime. HRinMotion, LLC can assist you in appropriately classifying your workforce.

Minimum Wage and Overtime

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 (since 2009). Most states have their own minimum wage. Employers are to pay covered non-exempt employees the higher of the two. For example, federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour while the District of Columbia’s minimum wage is $12.50 per hour (increasing July 2018). The District of Columbia employer must pay the non-exempt employee at least $12.50 per hour. Covered non-exempt employees are also entitled to overtime pay for any work performed after 40 hours in a workweek. The overtime pay rate is one and one-half the employees regular rate of pay.

Employment of Minors

The FLSA enacted child labor provisions which established the requirements employers must follow when employing minors (those under the age of 18). For example, a 16-year-old may work unlimited hours, but may not be a coal miner.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Employers are required to display and maintain an official FLSA poster. The poster is to be displayed in an area where employees frequent (e.g., a break room). Employers can obtain an FLSA poster from the Wage and Hour Division. In addition to the poster, employers must maintain employee records regarding their hours and compensation (e.g., payroll records, time cards, etc.). Record retention rates vary.

Penalties for Violations

An employer may be subject to civil or criminal actions. Per the Wage and Hour Division, willful violators may be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $10,000 with a second conviction (possibly) resulting in imprisonment. Per the Wage and Hour Division, civil penalties adjust annually for inflation with the current maximum penalty for each repeated or willful violation of minimum wage and/or overtime at $1,925. Employees can also file suit for damages and attorney fees. Wage and hour enforcement is not only at the federal level, but most states have enacted their own legislation to impose further regulation. For example, Maryland enacted the Maryland Lien for Unpaid Wages law which allows employees to file a lien against their employer for unpaid wages. The Secretary of Labor may also sue employers with the winnings going to the employees who were owed.

Additional Notes

An individual’s immigration/citizenship status does not exclude them from the protections of the law. Undocumented workers have been awarded settlements under the FLSA and related legislations.

As always, HRinMotion, LLC is here to assist you with your compliance needs. Give us a call at 240-838-7142 or email us at to schedule your consultation.


Department of Labor. (2016, December). Wages and Hours Worked: Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay. Retrieved from

Department of Labor. (n.d.). Compliance Assistance -Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Retrieved from

Employee Handbook Contents

Employee Handbooks are one of the most common tools an employer possesses, yet, it is also one of the most undervalued business tools. Unfortunately, many employers miss the mark on the purpose of an Employee Handbook because of a one-size-fits-all approach, not making appropriate revisions, or even properly distributing the book. The content, how it is used, and where it is accessed are all equally important.

Content. The internet is a powerful tool, but do not be fooled by everything you read. The internet has generated an idea that businesses can just download a handbook and call it a day. I am here to say it is not that easy, provided you want an instrument that will work for you and not against you. There are many websites that offer handbook building solutions and while these can be a great starting point, it is not the end all be all. Every organization is different and a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. You must customize the handbook so it makes sense to your organization (e.g., take into consideration your industry, state/local laws, your current practices and culture, etc.). For example, if you have nine employees you will not need a federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy; however, state law may apply. You do not want a handbook full of policies (or legalese) that do not apply to your organization. This would open your organization up to trouble. The employee handbook, when done correctly, will serve as an employer’s bible providing consistency in the business practice application. It is a tool, that when used the right way, can help an employer and employee achieve the mission of the organization. It sets forth the conditions of employment and the expectations for all parties.

Once your organization has built a handbook, it should be revised at least bi-annually. Employment and labor law is ever changing and you want to ensure that policies and procedures accurately reflect such changes. I know that the recommended frequency may be unwelcomed, but I promise you will be thankful should an incident occurs, your Employee Handbook will be accurate; and up-to-date to support your actions in the court room. A helpful tip to making that annual revision go smoother: make notations throughout the year on policies that need revisions; however, policies that are affected by law should be revised and distributed immediately.

Distributing handbooks can be done via paper or electronic. Whichever method you choose, make sure to obtain a signed Employee Handbook Acknowledgement form. I know, I know, most employees do not even read the handbook, but that’s neither here nor there. Employees not reading the handbook does not make the policies void. Now, you as the employer should be consistent in your practices and train your staff. This will cut down on the “I didn’t know” claims.

As always, HRinMotion, LLC is here to assist you with your handbook needs. Give us a call at 240-838-7142 or email us at to schedule a consultation. It is always a pleasure serving you and your organization.

Written by:
Kristy Brown, MSHRM, SHRM-CP
Chief HR Compliance Officer

3 Ways to Help Your Employees Reach Their Potential

Whether you are cultivating succession a plan or you just want to see your employees reach their full potential, it is important for you to understand that as a leader, the true measure of your success is how well you can grow others. Each person is unique and people are typically motivated by different tactics, but here are three surefire ways to help your employees reach their full potential:

1. Identify and praise them for their strengths.
Words are very powerful. Just telling someone they look nice can change the trajectory of their entire day. Imagine how powerful it would be for your employees to hear praises from you? says, “All leaders have tremendous power simply by being in a position of authority, and can use their words to influence how others view themselves. The act of expressing belief in your employees and focusing on setting high, but achievable standards for them has real repercussions.”

2. Create programs and opportunities for them to excel.
Do you have a continuing education program in place? How often do you provide opportunities for outside training sessions or reimburse for industry memberships? Incorporating small programs like this not only promote employee growth, but they increase productivity and creativity as well. Talk to your employees about their career goals and research similar corporate programs to cultivate a system that works best for your employees and company budget.

3. Reshape what it means to fail and emphasize the importance of effort.
Failure in any area of life is inevitable. Employees will make mistakes at some point and it is important to reshape how you respond to their failures. One way is to be transparent about past failures in your own career to humanize yourself. The next step would be to encourage employees to always do their best and even if they do fail, to look for the lesson. When employees understand that the company will avoid being overly critical, they are open to trying things that could be beneficial to their careers and the company’s growth.


5 Things You Should Not Talk About at Work

1. You’re looking for a new job.
This seems obvious but most of us have a few trusted work friends and we tend to share everything with them. You may not follow this rule completely but just remember, if someone lets the cat out of the bag, your boss may catch wind and you may be pushed out of the door sooner than you think (or want).

2. You have a part-time job, start-up business or side hustle.
If you are moonlighting as a waiter to save money or you’re finally starting your dream clothing line, it may require you to stretch yourself and work differently. Maybe you need to use your lunch break to shop for fabric or do some planning for your business. There is nothing wrong with using your personal time to do what you want to do; however, if you ever happen to come in late or make a mistake, it would be easy for a co-worker to use your “outside projects” as the reason (even if they are wrong). All it takes is for someone to know your attention is elsewhere and they will look for a reason to use it against you. Jealousy and envy of others can be a detriment to your current job and future aspirations.

P.S. Be sure to only use your personal time and personal property to conduct business. Understand that once you decide to add another job to your plate, you must work extra hard and be even more on point at work.

3. How much money you make.
Again- another obvious one, but it rings true forever. People can usually guess your ballpark salary range but the confirmation of one’s salary can stir up jealousy within the workplace. It can also make people reconsider how they work with you. If you make more money than your peers, they may try to dump more of the workload on you to make you “earn it”.

4. Your political and religious views.
It never turns out well. Ever. It can create divisiveness and judgement. Just don’t do it.

5. Your germs.
No one wants to catch your germs. You’re probably not as efficient when you’re sick and you risk infecting others which directly affects their productivity as well. If you must work, work from home. Just keep the germs to yourself.


3 Ways to Get a Promotion Before the End of the Year

Introduce a New Process

It is easy to complain about problems in the workplace. Your boss can even confide in you about upcoming issues before the next Executive Board Meeting or how a new project will tax your department. Take this intel and run with it! You can create a new process or offer a solution to pending issues within your company. Start by doing research and creating a small proposal to present to your boss. You don’t want to go too far into the project but think of questions your boss or team will ask and pose questions for them to address when you present your plan as well. Your idea can be anything from revamping the team’s vacation schedule to researching a way to help with budget issues. The point is to present yourself as an innovative thinker and valuable part of the company. Just proposing great ideas shows your willingness and dedication to your company and that should scream “Give me a promotion” to your superiors.

Update Your Wardrobe

The way you dress says a lot about your self-esteem and your respect for your job. Your skills, work-ethic and education could be identical to another co-workers but if you put less effort into your outward appearance, the competition will win every time. Dressing well does not have to cost a million dollars either. Using apps like Pinterest can give you ideas for how to spruce up your current wardrobe. Start by examining your closet and getting rid of clothing that is too big or too small. Anything you have not worn within the last two years should be tossed as well. This will give you a better picture of what you can actually wear and what you need to purchase. Look at updating your wardrobe as a fun and fresh start to your career.

Clean Your Workspace

Having a clean office or workspace is a direct reflection of your professional and personal image. If your workspace is disorganized and junky it tells your co-workers that you cannot be trusted to handle the details of bigger projects. It shows that you’re overwhelmed. The cleanliness of your workspace also reflects the company’s image and your superiors will pay attention to these small details when they choose employees to represent them in client-facing settings. June, July and August are usually slow months in the business world so take advantage of the office being a little more empty and clean up!