Parents for Community Living (Waterloo, Ontario Canada)

22 June 2020

THE AGENCY THAT COULD The story of Parents For Community Living began over 30 years ago when a handful of visionary parents started a little organization called Parents for Community Living (PCL). The hero’s in our story are the dedicated employees who work at the agency today – most of whom are Direct Support Providers (DSP). With their help we offer meaningful services and supports to over 160 children & adults with exceptional abilities in the Region of Waterloo.

The Role of a Direct Support Provider at Parents for Community Living has many rewards including the privilege of playing an instrumental role in some very special people’s lives. DSP’s get a front row seat as they help our friends achieve independence, be part of the community and reach their goals. But as any Direct Support Professional knows, the job can also be very hard at times with risks of burnout. With this top of mind, PCL made it a priority to ensure that staff feel appreciated, listened to and supported.

Surveys were sent out to all Direct Support Professionals at PCL focusing on employee engagement, satisfaction and recognition. Valuable information was collected about the individuals who work for the organization including their interests, how they wanted to receive communications and how they would like to be recognized. It was also clear from the surveys that stress and mental health were of concern for a many of their staff.

With all this information in hand and guided by PCL’s core values and competencies, a small group of PCL employees made plans to address these concerns. Several different programs were created or enhanced to help focus on specific concerns and to engage as many people in the organization as possible.

PCL’s Health and Wellness in the Workplace Program is run by a small but mighty committee. In 2019 PCL created a customized wellness calendar featuring a new health focus and challenge each month. Challenges were created for both staff and the individuals supported to do together. PCL held a sleep challenge, spent the month playing mindfulness bingo, did a walking challenge, chili cooking challenge, a no junk food challenge and held Zumba classes. Prizes were awarded on a monthly basis to both PCL staff and individuals supported.

The Not Myself Today Program – “It’s ok, not to be ok”. PCL committed to promoting a mentally safe and healthy environment for their employees to work in. They partnered with the CMHA and the Not Myself Today Program to help reduce stigma and provide resources to reduce stress and anxiety in the workplace. PCL held a special launch event for the program and enjoyed a very exciting game of Family Feud! Materials and activities from the Not Myself today program were enjoyed at staff team meetings and trainings. PCL also started a new program to have a Wellness Ambassador at each home (Direct Support Professionals). The ambassadors were instrumental in promoting the program throughout the organization and ensuring that the importance of a mentally healthy workplace was not forgotten.

Leadership and Development – PCL listened when several employees shared an interest in developing leadership and professionalism skills so that they could grow in their chosen field. Together they created a Leadership from Within Training program and offered it to employees. 23 Direct Support Professionals attended and passed this training and have continued to learn and grow as mentors of the organization creating a culture of mentorship throughout.

Employee Recognition Opportunities – This past summer PCL introduced an Above and Beyond award which was peer driven. Employees sent in inspiring stories of fellow co-workers who had gone above and beyond the call of duty. PCL celebrated and recognized all the winners at a special event in the summer attended by staff, people supported and their families.

This isn’t the end of PCL’s story. There is an overwhelming need in the community for support and programs for people with exceptional abilities and there is a shortage of Direct Support Providers in the Province. Employee satisfaction and retention is going to be key to Parents for Community Living being able to continue to serve the community with excellence. We will continue to respond to the feedback we receive from employees, provide recognition, training and support as we build today’s workforce for tomorrow.


JANUARY 24: HR Power Hour Webinar

19 January 2019

Risk Management: Youth Exploitation and Human Trafficking Webinar for Social Service agencies

Sincron HR Software Power Hour Webinar - Human Trafficking, Sexual Assault and Youth Exploitation

Human trafficking, a great shame to humanity, is the third most rapidly growing criminal industry involving many parts of the world. This forced exploitation of humans includes slavery, child labour and sexual exploitation. According to Psychology Today, 200,000 women are forcibly involved in sex trafficking in the United States. In Atlanta, CNN found people involved in this criminal business earning around $35,000 a week – more than any criminal human activity. 

Why aren’t we identifying human trafficking or youth exploitation with greater success? What are the risk factors for the client groups we serve? Do policy and procedure manuals adequately equip team members to assess internal and external risks? Would staff know what to do if they suspect trafficking? Is human trafficking addressed in safety plans, screenings, treatment plans, discharge summaries, etc.? 

Joy Kelleher will unpack these questions and more as she shares critical insight on how to address human trafficking in the workplace through compliance and risk management. 

Topic: Risk Management: Youth Exploitation and Human Trafficking Webinar for Social Service agencies featuring Joy Kelleher (Carter Brown USA

Host:Sincron HR Software – The premier HR platform for Social Service, non-profit and education organizations in North America. To learn more about how Sincron HR Software is tailoring its platform to help the social service industry please click HERE

Audience: HR professionals and supervisory staff in the Social Services sector 

Date: Thursday, January 24, 2019 

Time: 10 am PST | 11 am MST | 12 pm CST | 1 pm EST 

Length: 60 minutes 

Cost: FREE 

Register Here

Top 7 Trends Marking the HR Industry in 2019

06 January 2019

In the past few years, technology has taken over more and more of the repetitive processes carried out by HR departments. Due to the increasing efficiency of  human resources management software more HR departments are being tasked with strategic initiatives involving the implementation of business strategies.

This includes efforts to update and align privacy policies to legal (GDPR) requirements, managing large amounts of personal data, addressing staff shortages, working on employer branding, and diversifying recruitment channels to include social networks, job fairs and career events.

Let’s see what we might expect from 2019 when talking about HR industry trends.



The year 2018 marked the launch of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the European Union affecting multinational organizations worldwide. Many HR departments struggled to adopt the new standards because of the significant volume of personal data requiring review and updating. HR software solutions were also required to be in alignment with the new laws.

Process digitalization, a trend which brought changes to human resources departments, continues to be a challenge. A recent KPMG survey* (comprising the opinions of 1,200 HR leaders throughout the world) entitled “The future of HR 2019: In the Know or in the No” found companies approaching digitalization in very different ways.

One the one hand, we have the trend-setters, the organizations that quickly adopted digitalization, but there are also companies that are reluctant to change or afraid of it, which prefer to ignore the phenomenon, at least for the moment.

The past few years were characterized by the entry of “generation Z” to the employment market, the digital natives. They are the children of the baby boomers and of generation X, and technology holds no secrets for them.

The members of generation Z were raised to be independent, with high adaptation power; money is not the most important argument  for them when selecting a job – as it was the case for their predecessors, the millennials. The youngsters from generation Z are more likely interested in the possibility to do what they want, in having some flexibility in their schedules and responsibilities, and they like to know that what they do matters – for them, as individuals, and the community in general.

This large and intelligent generation has brought a series of changes in employee management that will certainly continue – more flexibility in the workplace, increasing relocation requests, and the quicker embracement of technology. These trends will become more pronounced as this generation attains a more significant position in the employment market.

HR Industry Trends in 2019

Digitalization. Technology impact for the HR team

Many companies understood the importance of automating repetitive processes consuming HR departments. The decision to invest in a human resources software allowed HR specialists to focus more on the essential aspects of the strategic activities being carried out.

Some companies chose an all-in-one solution, such as Sincron HR Software, a complete HR platform. It integrates processes such as organization management, recruitment and onboarding, personnel management or employee assessment. Sincron HR Software also includes modules for time and attendance, training management or internal communication, along with employee self-service features and HR analytics and reports. Many companies chose to integrate (via API) their HR information system with their payroll provider (i.e. Payworks, ADP, Inclusion, IBEX, Quickbooks, Sage etc.) so their payroll department was able to use industry-leading software that complimented their HRIS. This is important as it allowed these organizations to generate important reports and eliminate duplication of data entry. From a risk management perspective, their data is more secure, they could add single sign-on capability, and their payroll team were not left using a less capable internal payroll module.

Many organizations chose to automate the processes requiring high energy and attention input from employees – given the legal implications and their repetitive nature – such as staff management, timesheets, and payroll.

The advantages of automation also relate to the observance of GDPR standards, to which HR software platforms such as Sincron HR Software have already aligned.

The strategic role of the HR team adds to their classic, functional role  

HR departments are going through a series of changes pertaining to the critical role they play within the organization. If the classical role was a functional one relating to payroll, staff management, recruitment etc., the past years have marked a change, towards a more significant role in executing critical business strategies.

Data digitization and workflow automation play a part in this change. In HR systems taking over repetitive tasks, HR employees are able to contribute directly to the organization’s development strategy. The title of HR Business Partners is being used increasingly for positions dealing with consulting and shaping HR strategies in a company.

A different approach for recruiting the best candidates  

The classical recruitment channels – job-boards, job fairs or career events, are being supplemented by new channels. Social networks, particularly LinkedIn, are used more often to identify talent. New concepts have emerged lately, such as, for instance, employment branding. Potential employees, especially those belonging to the Millennials and Generation Z, are swayed by the reputation of the company that they will be working for, and/or to the compatibility of its values and mission to their own, hence the need to establish and consolidate a strong and fair employer brand.



In some countries, laws regulating telework, or work from home, were adopted in 2018, though many companies were already offering this option.

The reluctance of employees and employers to adopt this trend continues to diminish as technology further develops in the field facilitating better communication between the teleworking employee and the rest of the team.

Remote workers may help companies reduce overhead costs and improve retention while helping employees, for example, with family commitments or increased flexibility in their schedule.


Potential to increase wages weighed down by the fear of recession  

Favorable economic performance and staff shortages have increased pressure to raise wages. The number of experts forecasting a crisis in the following years has increased.

Employee attitude is becoming increasingly important  

When discussing talent recruitment, it is notable that organizations place more and more value on a certain attitude, in line with the company culture and the way it operates.

While experience is important a company will appreciate a candidate willing to learn and contribute to the development of the company and who has initiative and ideas that can be put into effect. This profile is frequently sought by recruiters – for many positions. A lack of experience can be quickly recovered by a positive, forward-looking attitude and desire to learn.



2019 will certainly be an important year for the HR industry. The increasingly quick evolution of technology will help unburden HR departments from repetitive tasks while involving them more in strategic initiatives.

Sincron HR Software: Happy Holidays!

18 December 2018

We want to wish you, your team, and your families a safe and happy holiday season!

With the holiday season upon us we thought to dedicate this post to you our Sincron family network.

Your feedback on the Sincron HR Power Hour, at the conferences, on the phone, and in person has allowed us to refine the platform to help clients better organize content, provide more consistency in learning management, integrate strategic plans to foster a culture of accountability, and improve recruitment outcomes.

One of the more interesting discussions we had this fall focused on employee performance and key performance indicators (KPIs). To learn more on what constitutes effective KPIs and the difference between strategic, program and role KPIs check our blog post on this topic written by Sincron HR partner, Rikka Bouseh (CPHR), of Surge HR Solutions and John Thornburn (MA) of Sincron HR Software.

Key Performance Indicators

We know the holidays can be a stressful time for you and that planning for 2019 has likely commenced. So to help you we have included two articles on these topics.

Ways to help staff manage holiday stress

Hiring forecast for 2019

May you, your team, and your families enjoy a safe and happy holiday season!

The Sincron HR Software Team

Manage Employee Performance with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

16 December 2018

Sincron HR Software Power Hour - Driving results

By Rikka Bouseh and John Thornburn

Rikka Bouseh, CHRP, is the founder of Surge HR Solutions. John Thornburn, MA is a partner at Sincron HR Software.

Managing your employees’ performance is vital not only to your organization’s success but also to your employees’ engagement levels. To drive the best results from your employees, it is important to define Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and develop processes and systems to measure performance accurately. By establishing KPIs for each role, you can ensure that the feedback to your team is relevant and measurable. This will help your organization thrive and help your team members succeed.

A Key Performance Indicator is defined as a measurable value that shows how effectively a company is achieving its key business or service objectives.  Organizations, profit and non-for-profit, can use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.

In order for KPIs to be effective, they must have the following three characteristics:

  1. They must be clear and measurable.
  2. They must be relevant to the team or organization.
  3. They must be communicated to the employees responsible for achieving the goals.

To help you apply these characteristics, this article focuses on the three types of KPIs listed below:

  1. Strategic KPIs
  2. Program KPIs
  3. Role KPIs

Strategic KPIs monitor progress or trends towards a stated destination.  Your strategy should focus on your organization’s short and long term targets as well as the key milestones required to reach them. The KPIs that you define for your team should directly correlate to these objectives. For Strategic KPIs, it is important to monitor them over time so you can get an accurate view of the progress of the strategic goal.  For example, if the strategic goal were to develop resource homes in new communities, the KPI may be identifying one new possible rental home per month.

Program KPIs monitor the success of a program.  For example, if the program objective was to support youth to develop independent life skills, the KPI may be that each employee will need to deliver 25 hours of life skills education per month.  Another example would be each part-time employee must deliver two hours of life skills programming per week that they work.

Based on the employee’s results, you would be able to assess the employee’s performance, whether the target is achievable, what efficiencies can be made to reach the target, or whether the right employee has been assigned to the program.

Role KPIs can be used to monitor the efficiency or effectiveness of an employee and are generally found in the job description as “tasks” that must be completed.  Role KPIs help to identify the key tasks  of the employee’s job and creates measurable targets for each task (or responsibility).  

Role KPIs can be measured in a few different ways. For example, to monitor your team members efficiency, you may create a task KPI such as an employee completing their daily checklist 95% of the time. Or you may want to measure the success of an initiative by developing a responsibility KPI for developing successful relationships with youth. The measurement for this KPI would be scoring at least 90% or higher on satisfaction surveys.

In addition, you can measure your employee’s success by developing skill KPIs such as an employee applying their MANDT training with no errors 100% of the time, or competency based KPIs to assess whether an employee consistently generates creative, resourceful solutions in crisis situations.

Not only can you drive results by managing KPIs for long term results, but you can develop KPIs to measure the successful completion of short term projects.  An objective KPI example would be where an employee must draft a Person-Centred-Plan within one week which ensures that the team member will meet their customers needs within the required period of time.

If used effectively, KPIs are a useful tool to evaluate an organization’s success at reaching their targets.  There is flexibility that allows the organization and managers to focus their training, feedback and accountability in key areas that are crucial for organizational success. By understanding what is important to your organization’s success, your KPIs will motivate your team members to reach their individual targets which will ultimately lead your company to achieve its goals.

Let us show you how Sincron can help your company manage all of these in one solution

Talk to a Consultant today



07 December 2018

Employee Culture: Driving Results through Effective Performance

Featuring Surge HR Solutions founder Rikka Bouseh

Sincron HR Software Power Hour - Driving results
Employee Culture: Driving Results through Effective Performance
During this webinar Rikka covered how to manage your team’s performance by developing and implementing effective performance management programs. Throughout the presentation Rikka discussed why performance management is important, but also explained how to execute both informal and formal feedback channels to help lead your team and drive results. 

She also demonstrated how performance management could: 

• Increase employee engagement 
• Improve productivity 
• Increase retention 

Topic: Employee Culture: Driving Results through Effective Performance featuring Rikka Bouseh (Surge HR Solutions

Host: Sincron HR Software – The premier HR platform for Social Service (CARF, COA), non-profit and education organizations in North America. 

Length: 20 minutes 

Cost: FREE 

Featured Speaker: 

This month we were happy to host CPHR professional and founder of Surge HR Solutions – Rikka Bouseh. With over twelve years of HR experience Rikka Bouseh has managed all aspects of human resources; from legislative compliance, compensation analysis, policy development/implementation, performance management, employment engagement and more.

She works with C Level Executives and their Management teams to ensure her client’s meet their strategic organizational needs. Rikka’s consulting experience has touched many industries including but not limited to, tech, health care, construction, insurance, digital media, non-profit and regulatory bodies. 

HR Power Hour: 

The Sincron HR Power Hour was launched to provide executives in North America free online professional development by HR experts in the field, foster networking opportunities and allow for open discussion on hot topics in HR. 


Sincron HR Software helps companies centrally manage their HR processes: organization management, recruiting, onboarding, personnel management, performance and goals, training and internal communication. A unique platform means HR process optimization, accurate and up-to-date employee information, high responsiveness, easy communication, informed decision making and efficient use of company resources. 

Sincron HR Software connects everyone in the company, offering access to information not only to specialists in Human Resources, but also to all managers, employees, contractors and volunteers. Serving a wide variety of organizations – from 60 to 16,000 employees, Sincron HR Software includes among its clients Renault, Miele, Ecovis, Pathway Community Services and Family Builders. 

In Partnership With:

Succession Planning

13 April 2023
Hey there, fellow HR pros! Today we want to talk to you about something that’s near and dear to our hearts: succession planning.

You know what succession planning is, right? It’s the process of identifying and developing future leaders for your organization. It’s not just about filling vacancies when someone leaves or retires. It’s about building a talent pipeline that ensures your company has the right people with the right skills and potential at the right time.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not so fast. According to a recent 2023 survey only 35% of organizations have a formal succession plan in place. That means 65% of you are winging it when it comes to preparing for the future of your business. That’s a huge risk.

Why is succession planning so important? Well, let me give you three reasons:

1) Succession planning helps you retain your top talent. When you have a clear and transparent process for identifying and developing high-potential employees, you show them that you value their contributions and care about their career growth. You also create a culture of learning and development that fosters engagement and loyalty. And you know what they say: people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. So if you want to keep your stars, you better have a plan for them.

2) Succession planning helps you avoid talent gaps. When you have a succession plan in place, you can anticipate and prepare for changes in your workforce. You can avoid scrambling to find replacements when someone quits or retires. You can also avoid over-relying on external hires who may not fit your culture or have the same commitment as your internal talent. And you can save time and money by reducing turnover and hiring costs.

3) Succession planning helps you achieve your strategic goals. When you have a succession plan in place, you can align your talent strategy with your business strategy. You can ensure that you have the right people with the right skills and potential in the right roles to execute your vision and mission. You can also foster innovation and agility by developing leaders who can adapt to changing market conditions and customer needs.

So how do you create a succession plan? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but here are some steps that I recommend:

– Start with your vision and mission. What are your long-term goals and objectives? What are the key competencies and behaviors that you need from your leaders to achieve them?
– Assess your current talent pool. Who are your high-potential employees? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their career aspirations and motivations?
– Identify your critical roles. Which positions are essential for your business success? Which ones are hard to fill or have high turnover rates?
– Create development plans. How will you prepare your high-potentials for future roles? What training, coaching, mentoring, feedback, and exposure opportunities will you provide them?
– Monitor and evaluate progress. How will you measure the effectiveness of your succession plan? What metrics will you use to track performance and potential? How will you adjust your plan as needed?

Succession planning is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process that requires commitment and collaboration from all levels of the organization. It’s also not a guarantee of success. It’s a way of increasing your chances of having the right talent at the right time.

If you want to learn more about succession planning, I highly recommend reading The Talent Advantage by Alan Weiss and Nancy MacKay. It’s a great book that offers practical advice and best practices for creating a talent-driven organization.

Remember: talent wins games, but succession planning wins championships.

Sincron HR Clients – Please check the Sincron Learning Hub to discover how to maximize the use of the career and succession planning functionality in the Sincron HRIS. If you have not subscribed to a plan that includes succession planning please Contact US

Nonprofits (TechSoup) Members – Learn more about qualifying for deep discounts on HRIS subscriptions – Click Here


SincronHR: Helping US and Canadian Non-Profits via Techsoup

06 March 2023

With many non-profits across North America struggling with digitizing employee records, tracking documents, onboarding, performance management, training, meeting accreditation standards, and engaging and retaining employees, Sincron HR is proud to announce a new partnership with (USA) and TechSoup Canada. Both and TechSoup Canada, are part of a global network dedicated to empowering charities, non-profits, and libraries through the effective use of technology.

Working with TechSoup and industry partners, we aim to support organizations through a mix of workshops, HR management and accreditation prep support, and discounts on our HR platform.

Get started with Sincron HR Essentials:

  • Employee HR file management – Paperless HR files
  • Administrative pre-hire and hiring processes
  • Role and job description management
  • Employee leave management (Vacation, Sick, remote work requests)
  • Intranet for organizational and department communications


  • Legal and regulatory documentation
  • Leave and remote work administration
  • Communication with employees


Sincron HR customers have 24/7/365 access to the online learning and support center. Email support is also available depending on the subscription plan.


  • Setup Cost – Free ($1000 Value)
  • Licenses – $1/user/month (Discount from $2)
  • Flat fee of $20/month for companies with less than 20 users (Discount from $100/month)

Upgrade Discounts:

Need more functionality?

Save 25%-50% on our modules – recruitment (ATS with Indeed API), contract management, time and attendance, onboarding, performance, training and more

To take advantage of this offer please select one of the links below based on which country you are a TechSoup member.

2022 – Looking Forward & Being Thankful

16 December 2021
This pandemic year has had its share of divisive issues so it’s important to remember what binds us together. We sometimes get sidetracked thinking about what we don’t have (compared to others) or thinking what could have been different if only…

Think Different!

The best solution is surrounding yourself with a group of people who share a can-do attitude and share common goals and beliefs aligned with a vision/mission statement. Here at Sincron HR, we focus on finding solutions to everyday problems experienced by key stakeholders in our clients’ organizations. While the stress of deadlines, budgets, setbacks can sometimes feel daunting we always end the year knowing that the new processes, new user interface, or new functionality have helped reduce stakeholder stress, save them money, and/or save them time. The holy grail is when all three elements are realized.

Find solutions

Looking back we were able to integrate critical feedback from multiple clients of various sizes to streamline the evaluation process, complete a more complex API integration with both and Sage Payroll/Accounting, and integrate digitized employee contracts and complex union rules within various elements of the platform (i..e leave management, scheduling). The team even launched a new succession planning mode to help HR teams prep for change and completed major prep work for automating more reports to key funders (various levels of government and accreditation bodies).

None of that is possible without patience, perseverance, and a common vision.

Remember what it’s all about!

So a BIG THANK YOU to the team – our staff and clients (on both continents) – for all your hard work in 2021. Your efforts continue to make a positive impact in our local communities.

2022 here we come!

Where did all the GOOD hiring candidates go?

16 November 2021
Have you recently received an urgent message from an executive or manager that an employee has quit and, already short-staffed, they need somebody by Monday?

You’re not alone! In September alone 4.4 million Americans left their jobs. Unemployment rates are currently low across Canada and the USA. Organizations are facing 30%+ turnover rates.

Why are they leaving?

We have all heard the same reasons: Low wages, going back to school, seeking a better challenge, moving etc. But is there something else afoot? Are people passing judgement on your organization and deciding there are greener pastures elsewhere?

More importantly, are your organization’s values aligned with those of your employees? Are employees proud of who they work for or is this just a stepping-stone before moving on to something better? Are you selecting and onboarding the right employees?

Tools at your disposal!

The good news is not all is lost. Living in the information age you have a number of tools at your disposal:

Who has the time?

Perhaps this is the crux of the problem. Your HR departments is already stretched thin just trying to find new employees and off-board current ones. Rinse and repeat. You want to focus on strategic HR and be more proactive if your team only had more time. That’s where creative solutions can be found if you change the equation and think like an entrepreneur.

Think Different

You probably have heard of this old Apple slogan, but what if you thought like an entrepreneur to scale a business: “Use other people’s money and other people’s time?”

Some strategies”:

  • No budget to hire more staff? Recruit volunteers, or co-op/practicum students
  • No time to track credentials or conduct performance reviews? Find a free, or low-cost HRIS, with HR support
  • Join an HR association or HR forum (LinkedIn has many!) to bounce ideas/challenges off seasoned professionals. Most are quick to respond.


Government Sponsored Recruitment and Onboarding Workshop (Just $25 for 3 online sessions). The Federation of Community Social Services of BC will be hosting a Sincron HR online workshop focused on recruitment and onboarding that starts November 30, 2021.

Seats are limited, but you can follow this FCSSBC link to register.


Sincron HR has developed a variety of tools to help organizations. During the pandemic, Sincron HR rolled out its newest version of the platform – Sincron HR Essentials –  designed to help organizations with accreditation (i.e. CARF) conformance,  24/7 support, and currently offered at only $1/user per month.

Learn more about the Sincron HRIS – recruitment, onboarding, personnel management, scheduling, performance management, training, employee self-service, social media management, payroll integration, HR analytics, and more at

Return to Office Tips – post COVID

09 June 2021
As COVID-19 numbers decline, many companies are starting to consider how, if, and when employees will return to work. Transitioning employees back into the office is not an easy task. Many employees are hesitant to go back to work for health reasons, and others are happy with their current remote work arrangements. There is even evidence to show that many employees would rather quit than return to the office.

Whether you’re planning to have all employees return to the office or only certain employees, there are many factors to consider such as safety measures, work schedules, and office occupancy. Not to mention the impact that these factors have on company culture and employee morale. The work environment won’t look the same, and that’s okay. There are a number of ways to implement a return-to-office plan that takes care of the mental and physical health of employees as well as company culture.

Create a Return-to-Office Plan:

Whether it’s their health and safety or their new commute time, most employees will have concerns about transitioning back into the office. A return to work plan that communicates expectations and outlines health and safety measures will help address employee anxiety around the unknowns. When creating health and safety
protocols, you should consider whether you will:

  • Expect employees to sign in and out
  • Limit occupancy in meeting rooms and other shared spaces
  • Change the office layout to allow for more physical distancing
  • Offer additional sanitizing or handwashing stations
  • Implement alternating work schedules to limit the number of people in the office

The move to full-time remote work has proven it can be done successfully and you shouldn’t feel rushed to bring employees back to the office. Take your time to create a return-to-office plan that works for both you and your employees.

Keep Employees Informed:

A good communication strategy is essential to rolling out new health and safety protocols and keeping employees informed about return-to-office timelines and expectations. You should consider using different channels like virtual town halls and employee surveys to ensure two-way communication and employee inclusion and buy-in. In terms of the actual return-to-office schedule, employees should be told as far in advance as possible. This will allow time for them to make childcare arrangements, investigate transportation, etc.

Assess Progress:

Once all or some of your employees have returned to the office, you must gather feedback regularly. Conducting pulse surveys and connecting with employees in all-hands meetings are ways that you can increase transparency and assess how employees are feeling about the transition. It’s essential to provide the time and opportunities for employees to tell you if they feel safe at work, if they’re encountering issues with their commutes, and if workplace hygiene practices are being followed. There are bound to be challenges with a change this large and feedback and two-way communication is an essential part of keeping in touch with employees and making adjustments to make it a better workplace for them.

Sincron HR Software

Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can use the Employee Portal to communicate their return to office plan, use Sincron’s scheduling module to create or edit alternating work schedules, and create employee pulse surveys to assess how employees are feeling about the transition. In addition:

      • HR managers can keep employees informed in the employee portal by posting articles and events
      • Organizations have the option of automatically tracking employee sign-in and sign-out using the scheduling module
      • The new HR Essentials platform is now available for just $2/month per employee
      • Training and tech support (call, text, video library, etc.) is included

To learn more Contact Us Today!

Performance Reviews and Compensation

01 June 2021
Performance reviews and compensation are naturally linked – both are important contributors to employee satisfaction and retention. For many companies, compensation adjustments and performance reviews go hand-in-hand, but decoupling these conversations is actually more productive for employee growth.

There are two main reasons why you should consider discussing compensation and performance independent of one another:

Employee Frame of Mind

Whether it’s expecting a pay raise or requesting one, salary discussions put employees in a defensive position and this creates anxiety and stress. When employees are feeling tense and anxious, they’re hardly in a frame of mind to receive performance feedback. Removing compensation from the conversation allows the performance discussion to focus on learning opportunities and career development.

Employee Competitiveness

Holding performance reviews and compensation reviews at the same time can create an unhealthy competitiveness among employees. Rather than employees focusing on their own professional development, performance reviews become about comparing salary increases among peers. This is not productive for company culture or employee morale.

If you want employees to be more receptive to performance feedback and less anxious about compensation discussions, creating more transparency and publishing career progressions can start you in the right direction.

Be Transparent

Whether it’s once per quarter, every six months, or once per year, all employees should know when compensation discussions will occur. It’s important not to let the topic of compensation creep into performance discussions and salary conversations should be scheduled at least a few weeks apart from performance reviews. By keeping the two conversations distinct, employees will be able to focus on feedback and professional development while understanding when they’ll have time to talk to their manager about compensation.

Create Career Progressions

By creating and sharing professional development paths, you can help your employees understand potential role and salary progressions. This sort of framework outlines different career paths, the skills required for each, and the compensation progression. Providing this structure removes any mystery from compensation discussions and can reduce employee anxiety.

When performance reviews are tied to compensation, it can be difficult for both employees and managers to focus on anything except money. Removing compensation from the equation allows everyone to focus on the true purpose for performance reviews – employee development and growth.

Sincron HR Software

Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can create and customize performance evaluations then implement and track their success. In addition:

      • HR managers can include a 360-degree evaluation into an individuals employee evaluation process
      • HR managers can assign individual development plans (including training) during the evaluation process to address areas of concern
      • The new HR Essentials platform is now available for just $2/month per employee
      • Training and tech support (call, text, video library, etc.) is included

To learn more Contact Us Today!


360 Review – Pros & Cons

19 May 2021
Many organizations are using 360 reviews as a way to obtain a more holistic assessment of employee performance. Unlike a traditional performance review in which an employee’s performance is evaluated by their manager, a 360 review includes input from various people at different levels throughout the organization. This could include peers, direct reports, indirect managers, and customers. The name ‘360 review’ comes from the process of soliciting feedback from all directions in the organization. As a result, the employee will receive feedback that helps them understand how their performance is viewed throughout the organization, not only by their manager.

In practice, organizations use a variety of methods to obtain 360 feedback. A manager may ask others for feedback about the employee and then look for patterns of behaviour as well as positive and negative feedback. The manager then relays the important points to the employee making the feedback easier to understand and action. A 360 review can also be done through electronic surveys that score employees on specific metrics. This type of system makes it much easier for all parties to solicit and submit feedback. In organizations with a strong climate of trust, employees may provide 360 feedback directly to each other. This type of 360 review is less common as it requires a specific type of organizational culture and sufficient training for all employees on how to deliver and receive feedback.

As with any process or approach, there are both pros and cons to 360 reviews:

Pros of 360 reviews:

Soliciting feedback from a variety of individuals lessens the possibility for discrimination in the review process.
Team dynamics will improve as employees become more accountable to each other when they are involved in the review process.
Organizational development issues can be uncovered and addressed if 360 reviews reveal that employees and teams are not working successfully together.
Many employees believe that 360 reviews are a more accurate representation of their performance and this makes them more useful for professional development. In fact, more than 85% of Fortune 500 companies use 360 reviews in their leadership development process.
Customer service will improve when employees receive feedback directly from customers and understand how they can service them better.

Cons of 360 reviews:

Since the feedback is typically anonymous, employees need resources that they can approach for clarification and guidance. Effective 360 reviews require supervisors and managers who are trained to help employees understand and action feedback. Without this, employees may become frustrated and unmotivated.
When reviewers are inexperienced or untrained, feedback can become overly negative, overly positive, or so generalized it’s not constructive. Sufficient training is an essential part of successful 360 reviews.


When implemented successfully, 360 reviews will make a positive contribution to your performance management system. A thoughtful rollout of the 360 review process and sufficient training for reviewers is essential. When done successfully, 360 reviews become a tool that can motivate employees and improve organizational relationships.

Sincron HR Software

Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can create and customize 360-degree employee performance evaluations then implement and track their success. In addition:

      • HR managers can include a 360-degree evaluation into an individuals employee evaluation process
      • HR managers can assign individual development plans (including training) during the evaluation process to address areas of concern
      • The new HR Essentials platform is now available for just $2/month per employee
      • Training and tech support (call, text, video library, etc.) is included

To learn more Contact Us Today!

Effective Performance Reviews

17 May 2021
Although performance reviews can vary widely in type and approach, they are a critical part of an employee-manager relationship. Performance reviews can be a great tool for employee motivation by helping them understand where they’re excelling and where there is room for improvement. Performance conversations with underperforming employees can be tough, but there are a number of things you can do to make sure those discussions are motivating and not deflating for the employee.

No Surprises

Regardless of whether an employee’s performance is great or not-so-good, the performance review conversation shouldn’t be the first time they’re hearing about it. Performance should be a regular conversation, as often as daily or weekly depending on the employee. The performance review should highlight points that have been previously discussed with an employee and it’s an opportunity to tell them how you’ve watched them improve or track towards goals.

Provide Structure

Your employees should understand the structure for the performance review well in advance of the actual conversation. It’s important to share the evaluation criteria and how they are being assessed. This includes defining what constitutes exceptional performance vs. average performance vs. poor performance. You should also explain what you’re expecting the employee to bring to the conversation. If they are expected to complete a self-evaluation, share that format with them well in advance.

Keep Records

If you’re evaluating employees twice per year, for example, make sure to keep regular records of performance. Without those, you’ll have a hard time avoiding recency bias and your performance review will be coloured by recent events that may or may not reflect the employees’ overall performance.

Keep it Balanced

Even if an employee is having some performance issues, try to keep the conversation time evenly split between positive feedback and constructive feedback to help them improve. When delivering negative feedback, it’s important to be direct and use specific examples. This can help the employee understand your concerns more clearly than non-specific feedback. For employees that are performing well, focus on how they can continue to excel and ways in which they can develop further professionally.

Ask What You Can Do

Near the end of the performance review, encourage your employee to share how you, as their manager, can help. You can ask questions like: What do you expect to be the most challenging for you this quarter?; What support can I provide to help you reach these goals?; How often would you like to receive feedback?; Is there more I can do to help you on a weekly basis?

The effectiveness of a performance review is largely a function of how you decide to approach the conversation. If you genuinely want to support and help your employee improve, the conversation will be much more effective. Your employee needs to trust that you support them and have confidence in their ability to improve in order to receive feedback and leave the conversation motivated.

Sincron HR Software

Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can customize online employee performance reviews then implement and track their success. In addition:

      • HR managers can assign organization, department, or individual goals to employees as part of the evaluation process
      • HR managers can assign individual development plans (including training) during the evaluation process to address areas of concern
      • The new HR Essentials platform is now available for just $2/month per employee
      • Training and tech support (call, text, video library, etc.) is included

To learn more Contact Us Today!

3 Tips for Creating an Employee Referral Program

17 May 2021
Using job boards for recruitment is a common strategy, but it can be frustrating when you receive dozens of unqualified applicants. No one wants to spend time reviewing resumes only to come up empty-handed. After all, successful recruitment is about quality, not quantity.

If you plan to hire in the coming weeks or months, it could be the perfect time to create (or revamp) an employee referral program. An employee referral program provides a structured, organized way for current employees to recommend people in their network to open positions within your company. An employee referral program is not only an excellent source of candidates who you might not otherwise find, but it can save you up to $7,500 per hire in recruitment costs.

Creating an Employee Referral Program

  1. Employee referral programs are an excellent source of pre-vetted candidates and can help you save you time and money in the recruitment process. To get the most out of your employee referral program, make sure you incorporate these three things:
    Define the job requirements: When you ask employees for referrals, make sure to provide more than the job description. Employees who are referring people in their network to jobs within different functions or departments may not understand the nuances of the role. It’s a great idea to summarize the role description and highlight what you are looking for in an ideal candidate as well as what you’re NOT looking for.
  2. Try a variety of incentives: Money isn’t always the best incentive for employee referrals. Large monetary incentives in particular may encourage employees to make referrals that aren’t necessarily a good fit for the role or company. Non-monetary incentives like paid time off, gift certificates, or event tickets can generate referrals and may also help create more excitement around the referral program. If you want to use money as a referral, it’s a good idea to give more for harder to fill positions and structure the payout to reward retention. For example, giving the employee half of the bonus when the hire is made and half when the new hire reaches their 6-month anniversary.
  3. Keep employees informed: When an employee refers a candidate, they expect feedback. If you don’t keep employees updated on the progress of their referral, they may be more reluctant to make future referrals. Be sure to thank employees for their referrals, regardless of whether or not they are hired, and communicate with them as the candidate moves through the hiring process (or doesn’t).

Particularly if you’re operating in a competitive talent market, employee referrals can be an essential part of your recruitment strategy. Equip your employees with the information and incentives they need to make quality referrals and keep your candidate pipeline full.

Sincron HR Software

Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can implement and track the success of employee referral programs and their associated costs. In addition:

      • Sincron HR configures the ATS (recruitment module) to ensure the ROI for organizations tracks expected/realized outcomes
      • The new HR Essentials platform is now available for just $2/month per employee
      • Training and tech support (call, text, video library, etc.) is included

To learn more Contact Us Today!

How to Create an Emergency Plan

27 April 2021
Every business has experienced a recent workplace disruption as a result of COVID-19 and these experiences have highlighted the importance of emergency planning. A solid emergency plan will help protect your employees and the business in the event of a natural disaster or other serious incident. If you do not have an emergency plan, these practical steps will help you get started:

Form an Emergency Planning Team

Workplace safety requires a team approach and it’s critical to have participation from individuals across different departments and levels of an organization. When selecting the team you should consider employees who actively volunteer for other activities in the workplace, have an interest in emergency preparedness, and can motivate others. To develop the safety plan, soliciting input from individuals with occupational health and safety expertise is critical. Those people may be internal or external depending on the company size. It’s also important that the planning team have a leader. Assigning the lead position to someone with a high level of seniority in the company can help demonstrate the company’s commitment to safety and emergency preparedness.

Create a team structure and planning budget

The planning team should have a defined structure so that they have defined responsibilities and leadership. A timeline and budget should be created by the team so that the company knows how long it will take to create the plan, the date for the rollout, and the costs associated with training materials and outside experts.

Assess potential hazards and emergencies

The business impact of an emergency should be evaluated with respect to employees, customers, and other stakeholders. The impact of a partial or complete interruption of business should be evaluated along with any plans or policies that already exist. Hazards should be identified and ranked based on both probability and severity.

Incorporate regulations

Workplace safety regulations are clearly outlined by governmental occupational health and safety organizations. When you’re developing your emergency plan, don’t forget to follow the established laws and guidelines including exit routes, first aid, fire extinguishers, alarms and security, and fire prevention plans.

Identify resources for handling an emergency

Review your internal resources to see how responsibilities can be shared or redistributed in the event of an emergency. Consider cross-training if specific capabilities are limited to one or two people who could not be replaced in the event of an emergency. It’s also important to consider the outside resources that you can call on in the event of an emergency. This could include government organizations, utility companies, insurance providers, and local medical facilities.

Create your emergency plan

The critical components of the plan include:

  • Key personnel: responsibilities, authority, and contact details
  • Types of potential emergencies
  • Location of the offsite emergency response center
  • Phone number to call in the event of an emergency
  • Emergency response procedures:
  • Reporting procedures
  • Escape routes
  • Shut down of critical functions
  • Accounting for all employees
  • Protection of property
  • Informing stakeholders

Once you have an emergency plan in place, it is critical that you implement it effectively. All employees must understand the plan and their role. Specialized training will be needed for key personnel who play specific roles in the event of an emergency as well as general training for all employees. Training should include information on roles and responsibilities, threats and hazards, emergency notification and communication, emergency response, evacuation procedures, and emergency equipment. Emergency drills are also a key part of effective implementation.

As with any new workplace initiative, soliciting feedback and making changes based on input from employees is important. The health and safety team needs to ensure that there is a way for employees to contribute their own ideas around safety best practices. It’s also important to review and update your emergency plan on a regular basis, or sooner should there be significant changes in the workplace or occupational health and safety legislation.

Sincron HR Software

Using the Sincron HR platform HR managers can post the emergency plan and accompanying resource information in the employee portal for managers and employees. In addition:

      • The platform features a full learning management system (LMS) to train manager and employees
      • Sincron HR configures the platform to ensure organizations meet or exceed industry/accreditation standards
      • The new HR Essentials platform is now available for just $2/month per employee
      • Training and tech support (call, text, video library, etc.) is included

To learn more Contact Us Today!