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March 12, 2020


To: All Employees

We, at The Alpha Group, Inc., understand your concern about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and our hearts go out to all of you who've been touched by this in your lives.

We want to keep our employees healthy and safe. Please think about washing your hands many times during the day, using hand sanitizer, and coughing or sneezing into your sleeves or tissue. Be aware of your co-works and your teams to ensure that anyone is cooperating and taking the necessary steps to keep your environment free of germs. Follow regular cleaning practices using a disinfectant formulated to kill the coronavirus.

We will continue to refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other public health agencies to determine the safest course of action for all of our employees.

For the latest information about coronavirus, we encourage you to visit the link below: 

At The Alpha Group, Inc. we truly care about your health and well-being. We value you as an employee, particularly during these challenging times, and we thank you for your commitment and for being part of our team.

Stay Positive and Be Well!

Lory Taylor

Human Resources Director

Have you ever been in a situation where there was a job to be done, but no one did it? No one stepped up to the plate and made it happen. Then everyone started pointed fingers and blaming everyone else for the failure.

Take a moment and ask why this happened. What could have been done to make sure the job was completed? Was it that everyone thought someone else would take care of it? Was there a lack of leadership, clarity, or communication of who was to do what? Was is it similar to Charles’ Osgood’s “The Responsibility Poem?”

It's Done! The overtime rule has been finalized. Effective January 1, 2020 the new rate will take effect. Refer to the infographic to help you better understand the changes. 

Good to Know: Protest Review – Massachusetts DUA Online 

To everyone that protests claims with Massachusetts unemployment, we would like to provide you with some information for submitting information online:

Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

Soft skills are personality traits and behaviors. Unlike technical or “hard” skills, soft skills are not about the knowledge you possess but rather behaviors you display in different situations.

Let a tough problem marinate overnight.

Write it down before you go to bed. Let your mind turn it over, and then write more in the morning.

Who used this method? Thomas Edison. He once said: “Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”

— Adapted from “10 Things the Most Successful People Do Every Day,” Eric Barker, Time.

U.S. Department of Labor Releases Long-Awaited Overtime Rule

Originally Published By: Troutman Sanders LLP on March 12, 2019

Last week, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-awaited proposed change to the minimum salary threshold for the white-collar exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The new minimum salary threshold is $35,308/year (or $679/week).

This new rule is not finalized nor in effect now. Rather, the new rule is open for a notice and comment period, with the DOL accepting public comments for 60 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register. The Department of Labor predicts that the new rule will likely become effective in January 2020.


8 Expert Tips To Having A Healthy Company Environment

Originally Published By: John Rampton on February 18, 2015

Arguably one of the most important elements in motivating and engaging employees is by having a healthy company environment. But, how exactly can you make an environment where team members are productive, happy, encouraged and accepted? Try these eight valuable tips and you’ll be on your way to having a healthy company environment.

1. Build Trust
According to 90% or workers, honesty, trust and fairness are considered the most important attributes valued in the workplace. But, how exactly can you establish trust in the workplace? According to Eva Rykrsmith on QuickBase, an organizational psychologist and HR/OD leader, you can begin by doing the following:

This 5-Day Workplace Meditation Challenge Will Make Everyone in Your Office Happier

PUBLISHED ON: FEB 6, 2018 By Matthew JonesContributor, Inc.com

You don't know yourself.

You spend your life pretending to understand yourself, others, and the world. But the truth is that you have no idea--you're just doing what everyone else does: going with the flow instead of engaging in meaningful introspection.

But you want something more.

You're aware that, despite your limitations, there's still plenty of fulfillment to be discovered in this lifetime. So, you're trying to walk the fine line between professional success and personal fulfillment.

Winter in New England is always unpredictable. Take a moment to review some Winter Driving Safety Tips to help you and your colleagues travel to and from work safely.

Originally Published By: WCR Insurance

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Take a few minutes to cover a few basics

  • Get an earlier-than-usual start and plan for the trip to take longer than normal.

  • Clear your entire vehicle of snow. Snow left on the roof and hood can easily end up on the windshield or rear window, obstructing your view.

  • Clear ice off all windows and side mirrors. Clearing just a peephole will get you out of the driveway faster, but will also obstruct your line of vision.

  • Remove snow from your shoes before you get in the car to avoid fogging up the windows and creating slippery gas and brake pedals.

  • Always use your seatbelt and insist any passengers do so as well.

Originally Published By: Greg Okhifun

Having a job in many ways improves an individual’s health and overall attitude toward life. However, many people face significant stress in the workplace that it outweighs any possible benefits and even poses a threat to their health.

The United States’ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health defines job stress as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can, in turn, lead to poor health and even injury.

Many workers report experiencing work-related stress at their jobs and this compromises their performance and health. A recent survey by Northwestern National Life revealed that about 40% of workers reported that their jobs were extremely stressful. In another survey by Yale University, 29% of workers reported feeling extreme stress because of their jobs.

Forbes Human Resources Council
POST WRITTEN BY: Expert Panel, Forbes Human Resources Council

Several years ago, organizations clamored to fill their offices with ping pong tables, bean bag chairs and a pantry full of snacks, because that's what they believed millennial employees valued most. While those types of perks may be viewed as fun, they're not necessarily the things that will get a team member to stick around for the long haul.

So what do your employees really want to get when they come to work for you? We asked a panel of Forbes Human Resources Council members to weigh in. From flexible work options to a simple sense of belonging, here's what they had to say.

Changes to the Law on Leave for Veterans
By Michael C. Birch of HRW October 24, 2018

On August 28, 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law An Act Relative to Veterans Benefits, Rights, Appreciation, Validation and Enforcement (the “BRAVE Act”). The BRAVE Act goes into effect on November 7, 2018. Among other things, the law changes the requirements for employers to grant leave to veterans on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

The old law, which only went into effect in 2016, required employers to grant veterans time off on Veterans Day and Memorial Day to participate in an exercise, parade, or service in their community. The law also required employers with 50 or more employees to pay veterans for leave taken on Veterans Day.

The Family and Medical Leave Act protects workers' jobs under four sets of circumstances, but employers and employees must earn eligibility before the law can cover them.

Learn about important changes to the EMAC law. These changes will go into effect beginning January 1, 2018.

You have received an EMAC Supplement Liability Determination, what happens now? Mass.gov has provided the below materials on how you can begin the appeal process.

Give ‘Em a Break: Employees Want Their Lunch Break Back

Even though employees value lunch breaks, many don’t take them. What can employers do to address this and make sure their workforce is energized in the afternoon?

Minimum wage

Date                                Standard Minimum Wage              Tipped Minimum Wage

January 1, 2019           $12.00                                                $4.35

January 1, 2020           $12.75                                                $4.95

January 1. 2021           $13.50                                                $5.55

January 1, 2022           $14.25                                                $6.15

January 1, 2023           $15.00                                                $6.75

The Legislature has reached an agreement on a deal to raise the minimum wage to $15, institute paid family and medical leave and create a permanent sales tax holiday, in an attempt to keep multiple proposed ballot questions off the November 2018 ballot.

The ‘Teens, Social Media and Technology 2018’ report from Pew Research was just released, and YouTube is now the most popular social media channel amongst this demographic.
YouTube Is the Most Popular Among Teens.

Each month we select an employee who demonstrates excellent work ethic through productivity and diligence, is timely and loyal, and displays behavior that promotes the needs and goals of the client company while holding to a commitment of quality and professional growth.

Employers in Massachusetts will need to remove rate of pay and salary questions from their  job applications to comply with the new law.

Each month we select an employee who demonstrates excellent work ethic through productivity and diligence, is timely and loyal, and displays behavior that promotes the needs and goals of the client company while holding to a commitment of quality and professional growth.

Since almost the beginning of management research, we’ve known that social dynamics affect workplace performance. Indeed, one of the pivotal questions of Gallup’s famous employee engagement survey asks whether respondents “have a best friend at work.” But while friendship at work always being a good thing is a strong assumption, recent research suggests that having a close friend in the workplace might be more nuanced than we assume. There are definitely benefits, but there are also costs.

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