MCCC Business EXCELerator Recap: Attracting and Retaining Top Talent | December 4, 2015

Posted Date: 
December 4, 2015

Small Business Presentation 

Small Business Co-Chairs:
Clark Kendall, Kendall Capital Management
Neil Simons, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Guest Speaker Panel: 

  • Erin Allen, President, ConTemporaries, Inc.
  • Meredith Leader, Director of Recruitment/HR, 5AM Solutions and incoming president of SHRM, Montgomery County Chapter
  • Stephen Spencer, President, Insurance Associations, Inc. (Top 75 Work Places of 2015) 

Topic: Best Practices in Talent Recruitment and Retention

Clark Kendall, Vice Chair of the Small Business Member Exchange Meeting, introduced the panelists and asked them to each share experiences and reflections on attracting and retaining talent. 

Erin Allen began by talking about the process of finding the right employees and then working diligently to keep them.  She has found that referrals often are  . best to identify new employees.  She looks for candidates that are a good behavioral match and then invests in training them.  In a tight labor market, it is even more important to retain your good employees.

Meredith Leader is a HR Director and the incoming president of the Society of Human Resources Management, Montgomery County Chapter. SHRM offers a variety of programs and training for employers and HR professionals and is a great resource for a business owner.  At 5AM Solutions, they have a robust referral program that includes bonuses and $500 toward an electronic devise of your choice, highlighting the competitive nature of recruiting top talent.

Steve Spencer is President of Insurance Associates which was recently voted a Best Place to Work in 2015 by The Washington Post. He credits the recognition to the company’s strong appreciation for work-life balance.  The company gives responsibilities to its employees, fosters team work, respects everyone, treats everyone fairly and makes sure employees know they are valued.  They also use a variety of perks that provide flexibility, generous sick leave, and closing the office at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays in the summer, employee Fit Bits for example.

Some employers use personality and basic financial fluency tests to recruit candidates for positions with companies. The topic of millennials in the workplace was discussed. Attracting and retaining young talent presents challenges. The new normal is to transition to new jobs in a shorter time-frame than workers in the past. As an employer, this is an opportunity to help an employee understand the value proposition of the company and see a path for future growth and development at a company.

A number of examples of recruitment strategies were shared and included:

  • Coffee with the CEO
  • Getting employees involved and invested in decision making and implementing new ideas
  • iReview for micro feedback
  • Mentorship programs
  • Anniversary bonuses
  • Wellness programs that bring teams together
  • has a list of no and low cost ideas

Montgomery County is an expensive place to live and in close proximity to lots of exciting jobs in DC. It can be a challenge recruiting. One advantage of the County vs DC is the availability of parking.  HR departments are important to manage benefit programs and focus on recruitment of the best talent.

GovConNet Presentation

GovConNet Co-Chairs:
Kwesi Rodgers, Federal National Commercial Credit
Lexy Kessler, Aronson LLC

Guest Speaker: Corey Argust, Associate, Labor and Employment, Litigation, and Government Contracts practice group, PilieroMazza PLLC
Topic: Updates to Labor Laws and Employee Relations

In the second half of the presentation, Barbara Ashe introduced GovConNet Council member and committee Chair Lexy Kessler of Aronson. Ms. Kessler introduced Corey Argust who focuses his work on employment laws in the government contracting space.   

There are a number of new labor rules and regulations that are being designed for government contractors. Many of these changes stem from Executive Orders which are then translated into proposed rules and, after a comment period, are issued as final rules.  Government Contractors need to be aware of these potential changes as they may impact existing contracts as well as future bids. 

The presentation addressed the following areas: minimum wage, overtime exemptions, sick leave and fair pay and safe workplaces.

In some cases, as changes are implemented, there will be opportunity to apply for adjustments (as in the case for minimum wage) but not necessarily in other areas (overtime).  It is always important to demonstrate why adjustments are needed (show the work) as opposed to just the amount of the adjustment. Prime contractors will be held responsible for compliance by sub contractors on many of these items.  From a jurisdictional perspective, the Federal Government typically accepts a State or Local labor law that is more generous than a U.S. regulation.

The power point presentation provided details on each of these areas that have the potential to have big impact on government contractors.

All of these new initiatives will cost a business in terms of time, resources and money. There is no mechanism for price adjustments. Currently, only one staffer at each agency will monitor government contractor compliance on these regulations. Changes and updates are anticipated.

To request a copy of the power point presentation, please contact Patty Brown at

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