Monday, July 16, 2018

How to Make the Most Out of Your New Hire

How to Make the Most Out of Your New Hire
The hiring process is a lengthy and tedious journey to say the very least. From the initial meetings to their first day, the application and recruiting process is fraught with peril. There are hundreds of decisions that need to be made that will impact not only your team but your company. Most HR professionals are very well aware of this, and there have been significant improvements in the past decade to streamline the onboarding process. We are collectively doing a much better job as a whole bringing in new team members, but there is always room for growth, so before their first day here is how to make the most out of your new hire. 

How to Make the Most Out of Your New Hire

Before your fresh-faced newbie lands in their cubicle, office, or workstation there is still a bit of work that needs to be done. Many organizations are welcoming new hires into the seams with nifty and new innovative ways. There are always those that suffer from confirmation bias that set up the new hire for failure before they ever walk in the door. This unintentional action will undermine the success of the new hire, repeating the hiring process, and wasted resources.

Change Your Mindset

  • “ The last two hires I brought into this department could not perform their job to our standards; I am sure that Sarah will be the same way.”
  • “Remember Jill who worked in the call center? We gave her a bonus after only six months and then she quit without notice.”
  • “His recommendations could have been better. I will need to keep a very careful eye on his work.”

Have you ever found yourself thinking this after filling a new position? If so you are likely setting both your new hire and yourself up for failure. If you felt the employee could not do the work required you would not have offered the position. Feel confident in your decision and approach the new hire as you would any other employee.

Here are five ways you might be setting yourself up for failure. These will signal to your new hire that you are expecting the worst or poor performance from your new hire.

How to Make the Most Out of Your New Hire
  • Calling the first 30 days a probationary period
  • Small or  single infractions result in a formal disciplinary report
  • Not allowing PTO eligibility until six months of employment 
  • “Proof” of illness or bereavement leave
  • Restricted access to required resources or information

At this point, a few of you might be saying that those types of policies are only there to ensure consistency or serves as financial protection. I am not saying that there are some aspects of these policies that are appropriate for your particular type of business.

However, now might be an excellent opportunity to revisit your current policies, especially if they were implemented more than five years ago.

Are your company’s practices and policies designed to bring out the best in your new hires?

Read More »

Monday, July 9, 2018

How to Avoid Feeling Burned Out at Work

How to Avoid Feeling Burned Out at WorkHave you ever felt overwhelmed at work? Intense pressure from your coworkers and/or boss? Feels like no one cares or acknowledges how hard you work? Chances are you have, and I understand where you are coming from because I have been there too. However, when you are going through it, you will feel very alone with this issue. Most people who experience burnout often don’t notice until it is too late. Most will go to great lengths to put on a brave face and remain silent. This is, unfortunately, one reason that by the time it is noticed it has developed into a critical problem. Here is how to avoid feeling burned out at work and what to look for in others. 

How to Avoid Feeling Burned Out at Work

There are more than a few causes for burnout but here are the top three reasons:
  • Political Climate
    • There is no denying that an unstable political climate can raise your stress levels. You find yourself worrying about how new government changes will not only affect the economy but your position at work or benefits. 
  • Social Overwhelm
    • On top of your work and family interactions, you are connected to people all around the world 24/7. This bombardment of information can cause stress and anxiety in your life. Especially if there is an unstable economy or government. 
  • Understaffing
    • This is simply doing more with fewer resources whether it is staff, equipment, or resources. When an organization scales back its workforce, your team's workload will increase at a staggering rate. This leaves your team feeling powerless and undervalued. 

Address The Issues Head on

Once you begin to understand the sources of your stress, immediately take action to limit your intake of negativity. If it is a particular individual or the political climate you need to be aware of the situation. Small doses are fine but know when you need to stay aware and be around people of stories with positive energy.

Create a boundary between you and the source of your stress. You would be surprised how many complain about social media or other sources of stress but never create a barrier. Boundaries are there to help yourself be more comfortable and protect yourself.

How to Avoid Feeling Burned Out at WorkBe open and honest with your higher-ups. It is likely that those in your office are feeling the same way about the lack of resources so a conversation will not be a surprise. Your first step to approaching this situation is to be open and honest. Don’t beat around the bush talking about the weather, simply cut to the heart of your concerns and where you are coming from. If you also come with suggestions, it will make solving the problem more manageable. If your boss does not take your concerns seriously or actively dismisses your concerns it might be time to consider other employment opportunities. No position is worth sacrificing your mental and emotional health.

The Take-Away

Find a company that will value the feeling of its employees and actively tries to prevent burnout. If you are currently looking for a position, be upfront with your interviewer and ask about the turnover, workload, pace, and how issues are handled. You will never get an entirely accurate picture of what you're getting into, but you will be able to pick up some critical clues to guide your decision.

Read More »

Monday, July 2, 2018

What Happens After I Receive IRS Letter 226-J?

What Happens After I Receive IRS Letter 226-J?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is complicated. The ACA penalty process being initiated by the IRS is no exception. Employers receiving notifications (IRS letter 226-J) must respond within 30 days to avoid further action by the IRS. This year the IRS will begin collecting penalties from businesses that did not comply with the ACA Employer Mandate in 2015. Here is what happens after you receive IRS letter 226-J.

What Happens After I Receive IRS Letter 226-J?

Like I have already stated you will only have 30 days to respond to the IRS. However, depending on whether you agree with the assessment made the IRS you may need more time to review all of your information. If you request additional time within these 30 days, you may be granted an extension.

Strategizing Your Response

As an HR manager or a member of the benefits department, you should not handle this alone. Contact your CFO, owner, or any other internal experts that should be a part of the conversation. Depending on your organization it might be in your best interest to seek external or internal legal counsel.

Understand Your Liability

While your current 226-J letter is about your compliance in 2015, the penalty process will not only be limited to that year or specific payments. Work with your team to ensure you fully understand the scope of payment and penalties you may owe for any additional years.

Review Forms 1094-C and 1095-C

If you are in disagreement with the IRS, it is essential that you review your Form 1094-C and 1095-C. It could be that the inaccuracy was the cause of the incorrect penalty assessment. If you need to correct any information on these forms, do not resubmit an amended version to the IRS. You will need to make these corrections in your response to the IRS.

Respond to IRS Letter 226-J

What Happens After I Receive IRS Letter 226-J?It is critical that you respond to the IRS within 30 days. Responding is especially true if you do not agree with the IRS. You will need to complete Form 14764 to return to the IRS and indicate whether you agree with their assessment. If you agree with the penalties, you will need to include your organization's payment.

If you disagree with the assessment, you will need to explain your discrepancies. You will need to provide extensive information proving your claim as well as specific corrections that need to be made to your previously filed forms. 

Wait For Confirmation by The IRS

Once you have submitted Form 14764, you will receive IRS letter 227. This letter will contain what steps your organization must take next. If you disputed the penalty payment, your letter might request more information or even a new amount. If you disagreed with the penalty, you could then ask for a Pre-Assessment Conference with the IRS Office of Appeals. This, however, must be completed within 30 days of receiving IRS letter 227.

2018 ACA Compliance and Reporting

Are you looking for a full-service ACA compliance and reporting software? Well, look no further! ACAwise is an all-inclusive online software with secure and reliable ACA compliance tracking year round. With our ACA solution, you won’t have to worry about receiving another 226-J letter from the IRS again. Contact our 100% US-based support team for more information.

Sign-Up For My Free Demo

Read More »

Monday, June 25, 2018

What Employers Need to Know About 2018 ACA Compliance

Employer researches changes in the Affordable Care Act for 2018 ACA Compliance This time last year we were all watching anxiously as Washington discussed the possible “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). No matter what side of the debate you were on, the thought of having to start from scratch with a new set of rules was a daunting thought for all HR managers and employers. However, as we currently stand, the ACA is holding steady which means you are now moving forward with planned compliance with current regulations. Here is what employers need to know about 2018 ACA compliance.

What Employers Need to Know About 2018 ACA Compliance

This past year did see the end of the individual mandate. Now individuals will no longer be penalized if they do not carry insurance under the ACA. However, on the other hand, the employer mandate is still holding steady.

The most significant development we have seen this year is employers receiving enforcement notices concerning 2016 ACA compliance (IRS letter 226J). Approximately 30,000 notices have already been sent out to employers in 2018.

Employers and HR manager get together to plan 2018 ACA compliance for the employer mandate Congress is still currently considering a bipartisan bill that would make several small technical modifications to the ACA. The Commonsense Reporting Act (H.R. 3919 and S.1908) which was proposed this year would ease some of the regulatory burdens on applicable businesses. It would help to reduce cases where new employees get an individual ACA subsidy after being added to the business’s healthcare plan. This would reduce the costs for both the employees and the employer.

Currently, employers and HR should continue to keep a close eye on regulation changes if they offer wellness benefits to employees. Even if the ACA does not change regulations on wellness plans are supposed to be updated. However, filing issues for regulatory boards have delayed the updates.

2018 ACA Compliance and Reporting

ACAwise is an all-inclusive online software with secure and reliable ACA compliance tracking year round. Simply upload your employee information each day to ensure your full-time employees are receiving the ACA required minimum coverage. From your dashboard, you can see compliance tracking the form of reports like Eligibility & Affordability, Monitoring & Forecasting Compliance, and even Penalty Calculations.

Sign-Up For My Free Demo

Read More »

Monday, June 18, 2018

6 Powerful HR Tips to Unlock Employee Potential This Summer

Summer time in the office requires special tips and tricks to keep your team focus while it is beautiful out
Summer is here, the change of season brings several human resource related challenges unique to this time of year. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and your staff is sitting quietly in their cubicle. To help keep your employees invested in their work here are six powerful tips to unlock summer management.

6 Powerful HR Tips to Unlock Employee Potential This Summer

1. Working on A Summer Day

Picture this: It is a beautiful summer day, but you and your staff are inside working hard to grow the business and revenue. As the days get longer, you will find yourself losing focus, and this can also be said for your staff. If you find your team lacks motivation here are a few ways you can help.

  • Encourage your staff to take vacations
    • Studies show that when your employees take a vacation, they return rejuvenated and refocused.
  • Be Flexible
    • Hold a standing meeting, go outside for a walk, or let your staff work outside for an hour. Or if possible let your team leave early on Friday to start the weekend.
  • Update Goals
    • Usually, goal setting is done at the beginning of the year, but the summer is the perfect time to set new challenges for you and your staff members.

2. Summer Dress Code

As temperatures climb into the 90s and even 100s, it might be time to update your dress code. While your business might have a more lenient dress code, it is still worth updating the code, so there are no awkward situations.

The dress code needs to reflect the season while remaining comfortable and business appropriate.

3. Summer Internships

If you experience an increase in business during the summer months hiring an intern is the perfect solution. However, before you bring on a student, you should be aware of the Department of Labor (DOL) laws that pertain to payment procedures.

Use the primary beneficiary test to determine if your intern is an employee or not.

4. Summer Health Risks

Manufactures, landscapers, and any employee that has employees working in high temperatures need to be extremely mindful.

If your employees are exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time, there could be health risks and possible endangerment.

While there are no specific standards for working in a hot environment, you should still recognize hazards in the work environment.

5. Scheduling During Summer

No matter your business type we can all agree that summer is a time of weird and busy schedules. From baseball games, summer camp, vacation, and everything that goes along with it your employees need flexibility. However, this should not affect the business, and you must do everything possible to make it as smooth as possible.

An easy way to keep your shift schedules and time off requests inline is to ask your staff to request off at least two weeks in advance. Also, have the request processed by their manager first before it comes to you. They work close to the individual and will be able to make an informed discussion.

6. Get Organized

One of the most vital things you can do for your business this season is to get or remain organized. I know that tax season 2019 seems a long way out, but in reality, with so many employees it is good to be prepared. In addition to payroll related tax information, you will also need to maintain ACA compliance and health care coverage details. Thankfully ACAwise offers an all-inclusive online software with secure and reliable ACA compliance tracking year round.

Simply upload your employee information, health insurance plan(s) details and our program will automatically analyze and track your information each day to ensure your full-time employees (or full-time equivalent employees) are receiving the ACA required minimum coverage. From your dashboard, you can see compliance tracking in the form of reports like Eligibility & Affordability, Monitoring & Forecasting Compliance, and even Penalty Calculations.

Since all of your information is already in our system at the end of the year you can e-file with the IRS in just a matter of minutes. If you are interested in adding ACA compliance tracking to your business please contact our US-based support team.

We hope these tips will help you to boost your summer management. Try them out to find what works best for you and your business. What other strategies do you use during the summer? Let us know in the comment section below! And sign-up for your free ACA demo today!

Sign-Up For My Free Demo

Read More »

Monday, June 11, 2018

What Can HR Do With Workplace Suicide on The Rise?

What Can HR Do With Workplace Suicide on The Rise?Suicide. It is an unbelievably sad and tragic event that has impacted hundreds of thousands of friends, families, and colleagues across the United States. In the wake of yet another sobering loss, many are concerned. As the 10th leading cause of death in the US, many of you might be asking yourself, “What can HR do with workplace suicide on the rise?”

What Can HR Do With Workplace Suicide on The Rise?

This rise in suicides is found across all sexes, racial, and ethnic groups. However, the most significant spike is in middle-aged adults between 45 and 64 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in a recent study that many factors besides mental illness could trigger suicide.

Suicide does not merely affect those closest to the individual, but it also affects their coworkers and the work environment. When a suicide happens in the workplace, the impact can be unimaginable and can cause severe distress for the organization as a whole.

Suicide in the Workplace

As we have previously stated, suicide rates overall are rising but there is also a disturbing amount of those committed in the workplace. In the US between 2003-2010 more than 1,700 individuals killed themselves while at work.
It has happened at a Bank of America Corporation call center in New Mexico, Apple Inc’s Cupertino Califonia headquarters, and Ford Motors plant outside of Detroit. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of suicides at work was 291 in 2016.

Education is Essential

No matter the size or business of your organization it is vital to educate yourself and your employees on the warning signs. If you feel that an employee could be a risk to themselves, you should talk to them with compassion. It is typically difficult to resist talking to someone when they are genuine and compassionate. 

However, I am not a psychologist, and I encourage you to add a suicide prevention plan in your OnBoarding package. Also an annual or biannual class for your employees will help prepare them and teach them more about the warning signs.

Read More »

Monday, June 4, 2018

What You Need to Know About Exempt Employees

When you welcome a new team member on you may see two words floating around: Tax exempt and nonexempt. Isn’t exempt just another word for “excused?” If so, what are they excused from? In this HR guide to understanding exempt employees, we will clarify what these terms mean.

So what does exempt mean? That is an excellent question with a reasonably simple answer. Your new employee is excused from the rules in the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. So that means they might not be entitled to minimum wage or other protections most employees receive.

What You Need to Know About Exempt Employees

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a set of rules and regulations about how individuals should be treated in a work environment. These rules include minimum wage requirements, leave, overtime, record-keeping, and other protections. Regarding classification, the FLSA divides employees into two sectors: exempt and nonexempt. The federal government does this to separate those whom the laws apply.

What Does it Mean to be Exempt?

These types of employees are exempt or not covered by Fair Labor Standards Act rules. Because they are salary and have specific responsibilities, they do not receive overtime and may be ineligible for minimum wage standards.

However, one dangerous misconception is that all salaried employees are automatically classified as exempt. This is not true and assuming this could cost your business severe federal penalties.

Exempt status is linked to the individuals’ work duties, salary and their independence in the work environment. They must meet all of the following conditions to classify as exempt, as outlined by the Department of Labor.

So what is the minimum salary for exempt employees 2018:

Salary Level: Exempt employees are paid at least $55 per week or $23,660 per year.

Salary Base: Your employee's salary is concrete and will not change as a result of performance or sales.

Duties: Employees must be in one of the following roles: Administration, computer/systems, executive level, outside sales, or professional. Your employee does not have to possess one of the titles but rather the duties of the position influence their status.

Simplify Your ACA Compliance

Once you check that task off your agenda, you can move on to the million other tasks begging for your attention. Want a head start on your ACA compliance? Sign-up for your free ACAwise demo, today!

ACAwise is an all-in-one ACA reporting software designed to track and monitor your ACA compliance throughout the year. Then when it is time to e-file we will create Form 1095 and 1094 on your behalf! You will then review your forms and we will securely e-file directly with the IRS. We will even mail your recipient copies from our South Carolina based office the next business day.

Schedule Your Free Demo

Read More »