Baltimore at a Crossroads

With the recent resignation, in disgrace, of Mayor Catherine Pugh, Baltimore finds itself at a  crucial inflection point in its history.   The last three elected leaders of the city have left office either as a result of criminal corruption or ineffectual incompetence. During the same period, the leadership of the police department has become a revolving door for the same reasons: one of our recent police chiefs is currently in jail for income tax evasion. The resulting rise in the city’s murder rate can only be seen as a direct result of the poor choices made by those selected […]

Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

Although mortgage rates climbed steadily in 2018, they’ve come down since the beginning of the year. According to BankRate.com, current rates for 30-year mortgages are 3.98% nationally (rates posted online as of this May 17th). While you may have a low rate on your current mortgage, you may want to consider evaluating your refinance options to lock in potentially lower rates. How do I know if a refinance makes sense for me? The most common reason to refinance is to reduce your monthly payment. Even with the fees paid to your lender, a large enough decrease in your interest rate […]

In the Heat of the Moment

Let’s face it, the workplace can often times prove challenging. It’s not always easy to put your best foot forward. And when caught in the act, we are often confronted with feedback, whether we ask for it or not. In the heat of the moment, sometimes the feedback comes across as criticism rather than helpful; as a personal dig rather than a valuable piece of advice. As you can likely imagine, working in healthcare provides many “feedback” opportunities. Working in an industry where customer service is measured constantly, the pressure of financial loss hangs in the background if we don’t […]

Appreciate Your Appreciation

Good news for home sellers in many parts of the US. It’s time to “appreciate your appreciation,” if you are thinking of selling your home. Being a homeowner, these days just might make you feel like a terribly savvy investor, especially in the western US. Home sellers are realizing a sizable return on their investment according to ATTOM Data Solutions. Those who sold their homes in the first quarter of 2019 made a 31.5% return, pocketing an average gain of $57,500. “While home seller gains are down from Q4 2018’s $60,000, they are still up year over year, when price […]

Strategies for Investing Cash

The stock markets are at all-time highs and don’t appear to be ready to change course any time soon. If you have a rollover from an old 401k or some saved cash, you may be asking yourself if this is the right time to invest that money. You may want to have your money invested right away so that you don’t miss the potential upside of the market or you may want to wait on some or all of your investing for fear that the market may pull back. When clients come to me with cash to invest, I typically […]

What Kind of Manager Are You?

I’ve had occasion to watch managers in action over my career. I think we can all agree that managers display many different styles, from completely hands-off to overly involved, and somewhere in between. What is most interesting for me as an HR practitioner is to monitor the impact the varying styles have on employees. When I say “management style,” I’m referring to the way a manager makes decisions relating to their subordinates. The wrong management style demotivates employees, kills productivity, and causes employees to disengage and leave. One successful management style is known as the “democratic” manager. These managers are […]

Proactive HR

There is a big difference between good HR and proactive HR – the difference between HR being important versus worth its weight in gold. We tend to think of HR as practical and reactive to standard issues. Recruitment, retention, employee relations issues (discipline, grievances), pay and benefits, all spring to mind. Certainly, getting these fundamentals right is always critical. But proactive HR requires a deeper level of understanding and a more collaborative approach to these issues. The positive impact it can have on your business is significant. HR policies and procedures often times seem fairly black-and-white, while business certainly is […]

Has Spring Already Sprung?

According to the calendar, spring is just a few weeks old. If you look at the weather, only the hardiest of flowers and trees have started awakening from their winter slumber, and the temperatures are anything but balmy. Nobody I know has put away their winter coats for the season. The housing market seems to hold a completely contrary opinion, however. According to statistics from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the spring market began weeks ago! February existing home sales rocketed to an 11.8% increase from the prior month, while economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal had expected […]

The Equality Act Comes Closer to Reality

The Equality Act is an important topic for our readers. Over the course of the last four years, there has been a significant increase of Congressional support, jumping from 178 members to 239. In addition to this support, some large corporations have publically come on board as well. When first introduced in 2015, only Apple, Levi-Strauss, and Dow Chemical had supported the Equality Act. Joining this group are Google, Facebook, General Mills, and American Airlines. As of now, there are over 150 companies that support this bill. The Human Rights Campaign organized this corporate push with its Business Coalition for […]

Workplace Safety

Preparing for workplace safety has been top of mind for many employers. While in the past the focus had been on Occupational Health & Safety (OSHA) i.e., providing a work environment free from safety and health hazards that could cause physical harm, nowadays there is increased emphasis on workplace violence. How do we define workplace violence? This definition will be organization-specific, but for the sake of this article, I will define it as deliberately causing physical injury to another person, such as shooting, hitting, and other forms of physical abuse, as well as threats of violence (including emails, texts, social […]