Strictly Business: Adjusting to the Changing Work Climate

By Harel Turkel

For the third year in a row, business leaders from across Maryland will join together at Strictly Business, a networking and awards breakfast that has become the community’s “can’t miss” event for employers.

Hosted by the Jewish Community Services (JCS) Career Center, Strictly Business offers valuable networking opportunities, as well as the chance to hear from impressive keynote speakers like this year’s guests, BGE CEO, Calvin Butler and Towson University President, Kim Schatzel.

The theme for this year’s event is “Cultivating a Respectful Workplace,” a subject that is timely and relevant for businesses of all sizes and industries. At my company, SOS Technology Group, the key to success has been and continues to be training employees to work successfully with their peers; making sure people understand the type of behavior expected in the workplace and making sure they understand what will not be tolerated.  It’s important that everyone feel safe and valued or know who they can talk to if they don’t.  Though we have always fostered a positive climate, recent events have focused attention on the issues of respect, tolerance, diversity and fairness in the workplace, prompting SOS, like many employers, to review and update our current policies.

Because of my involvement with Jewish Community Services, an agency of The Associated, I am also familiar with the well-established policies in place there and throughout the Associated system, to ensure a work environment that is free from harassment and bullying, violence and threats of violence.  These policies can serve as a useful guide for business owners like me as we all try to keep up with the changing work climate.

When our company acquired another firm, the process was complicated.  Issues involving gender and age jumped to the forefront. But sometimes it can be hard to know when policies are needed.  The financial website Balance.com provides this checklist to help employers.

A policy is necessary:

  • if the actions of employees indicate confusion about the most appropriate way to behave
  • if guidance is needed about the most suitable way to handle various situations
  • when needed to protect the company legally
  • to keep the company in compliance with governmental policies and laws
  • to establish consistent work standards, rules and regulations
  • to provide consistent and fair treatment for employees

Everyone deserves a respectful workplace.  When the environment is safe, people feel protected, comfortable, and more invested in their jobs. That leads to greater job satisfaction among employees, improved morale, increased productivity and innovation, and decreased turnover.  Those factors are good for the employees and for the company.

Having attended the last two Strictly Business Breakfasts here in Baltimore, I’m aware of the incredible buzz in the room as business leaders connect, make new deals and get information that can benefit them as employers.  I am proud to be the Chair for Strictly Business 2018, which is being held on Tuesday, May 8 at Woodholme Country ClubThis annual event is a “friend-raiser” (not a fundraiser), enhancing awareness of the comprehensive workforce services the JCS Career Center provides both job seekers and employers, each vital to our region’s economic stability and growth.

If you are a business owner, executive or hiring manager, you will want to be part of Strictly Business. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, you’ll learn more about how others are cultivating a respectful workplace and find out which three companies will be honored with a JCS Employer Partnership Award this year as a thank you for their contributions to our workforce development efforts. We hope business leaders throughout Maryland will join us at 7:00 am on Tuesday, May 8 for Strictly Business.



Harel Turkel, President, Chair, Strictly Business 2018

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go farther and get there faster.  Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition.  For information, call 410-466-9200 or visit ignitecareercenter.com

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