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!

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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.

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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.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

How to Make Your Team Meeting More Engaging

Team meeting where the staff is not engaged and the meeting is boring
Human Resource team meetings are essential, but often the attendees are unengaged and unable to deliver any useful input. Team meetings are already notorious for being boring, and many of your employees frankly think of most of them as a waste of time.

So it is up to you to bring the spark to your meeting and keep your employees engaged. To help you get started, we are sharing how to can make your team meeting more engaging today.

How to Make Your Team Meeting More Engaging

1. Encourage Discussion

People tend to avoid disagreements and tension in meetings, so they avoid specific topics. However, this is an opportunity to spark a healthy discussion among colleagues. Get the critical issues on the table and encourage your employees to voice their opinions and concern.

2. Team Meeting Agenda

Before the meeting, ask your staff to bring a team meeting agenda with talking points. It is so easy for a team meeting to turn into a lecture instead of a productive and mutually beneficial discussion. Give your staff members an opportunity to contribute their points. The chance to contribute and participate will help to keep your employees engaged.

3. Standing Meeting

Yay HR has learned how to host an engaging meeting If your organization is anything like mine, my team and I are continually sitting during the day. So instead of sitting during your meeting try removing the chairs. It is a proven fact that attendees are more engaged and are more creative during brainstorming sessions while standing. Now if the meeting is longer than 15 minutes alternating between sitting and standing to keep the mojo flowing.

4. Visual Simulation

Add visual tools to your meetings, such as graphics, sticky notes (my favorite), or idea mapping. Visual tools add more, and they will help to drive the meeting points home. If this is an unusually long meeting, your attendees can look back at the visual aids to remind them of all the goals and plan accordingly.

5. Meeting Groups

Break your team into smaller groups for a more in-depth discussion of the topics and have them come back together. This will give more people a chance to talk and contribute. The more your employees get the chance to speak and add ideas the more engaged and involved they become.

Also, for shyer team members this is far more comfortable than contributing in front of a large group. Just because a staff member will not speak up in a larger group does not mean they do not have ideas that could help your business succeed.

We hope these tips will help you create more engagement in your team meetings. Try them out to find which ones work best for you and your business. What other strategies do you use in your team meetings? Let us know!

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Monday, May 14, 2018

This New Hire Onboarding Checklist Will Blow Your Mind

As a human resources professional, you understand the value of employee onboarding. From better job performance to higher retention the benefits of onboarding are quantifiable. Failing to properly onboard a new hire can cost you and your business a significant amount of time and money. So to help you we put together this new hire onboarding checklist that will blow your mind.

Get your employees started on the right foot before they even enter the workplace. There is a slew of relevant documents and paperwork that must be filed and prepared beforehand.

This New Hire Onboarding Checklist Will Blow Your Mind

Before Starting Work

Prepare Relevant Paperwork: Transactional Onboarding
Before your new hire starts their first day, you must prepare all of the relevant paperwork and information. Begin finding and recording the employee’s basic information.
  • Employee Name
  • Date of Hire
  • Employee Contact Details
  • Additional Information
  • W-4
  • I-9
  • Insurance Forms
  • Direct Deposit Forms
  • The Non-Disclosure Agreement

Position, Goals, and Tasks
During the training period, your new hire will need to work closely with a supervisor or a trusted mentor. This will help to ensure they are properly oriented to the position, policies, and facilities.

  • Speak with the supervisor about the new hire and their role/position within the organization.
  • Discuss the set goals for the new hire and appropriate task that will help acclimate the employee:
    • Employee Position
    • Employee Goals
    • Tasks and Projects

Employee Workstation and Equipment
Before your employee starts their first day it is important to prepare their workstation in advance to avoid delays. For example:
  • Desk
  • Chair
  • Telephone
  • Computer
  • Office Supplies
  • (Go the extra mile and have a t-shirt, mug, or backpack with your company’s logo on the employee’s chair or desk.)

Give Access
Prepare all the login information they will require.
  • WiFi Password
  • Email List of Coworkers
  • Department Phone Numbers
  • (Remember that there are often additional passwords or keys they will need for their position.)

Company Accounts:
  • Company Email
  • Company Phone Line
  • Company Accounts

Prepare Employees Benefits Package
It is imperative that each of your employees understand what benefits are available for their position. Here is information your employees will require:
  • Confirm Position Funding
  • Example Benefits Package
    • What they will receive
    • Budget Details
    • Potential promotions
    • Salary Range
    • Vacation time and Health Benefits
  • Summary of All Information (Hard Copy & Digital)

New Hire’s First Day

Often, new employees start during busy seasons where deadlines are hurtling towards you at an alarming rate. While your staff tries to keep up with the increased workflow, it is easy to overlook new hire training. To ensure you adequately onboard your new hire, here is what you need to know.

Avoid the confusion by creating a straightforward schedule and make the new employee your number one priority on his/her first day.

Office Tour
Before starting their first day take your new employee around the office. Show them all the relevant and common areas of the workplace such as:
  • Kitchen/Break Area
  • Bathroom
  • Work Station
  • Your Office
  • Human Resources
  • Managers/ Supervisors Office
  • IT Department

Your Goals and Expectations
If you want your employee to perform well, you need to tell them what is expected of them explicitly. Give a detailed outline of their position with goals and deadlines. Here is what you should consider:
  • What goods and/or services does their position produce?
  • What are their long-term and short-term goals?
  • What is the impact of their position on the rest of the team?
  • What are your expectations for their behavior toward coworkers and clients?
  • What organizational skills do you expect?

Company Culture
This step should be handled by your human resources officer or team. Have them speak with your new hire to explain details such as:
  • Dress Code
  • Arrival Time
  • Parking Locations
  • Building Access
  • Time-Off Policy

Mentor Assignment
Assign your new employee a mentor. This is to ensure they have the opportunity to seek help when needed and work productively. A mentor will help them learn about the job quickly and provide assistance through the transition.

Remember it is essential to assign a mentor that is well suited for your new hire. A mentor should not be in such a high status that your employee feels uncomfortable asking questions or seeking help.

ACA Reporting

While we cannot help find a mentor or train your new employee, we can help with all your ACA reporting. 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 form our South Carolina based office when it is time to file.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Is Obamacare Gone? Tell The IRS That

Becuase of the widespread interest concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one would think that most American would be well informed about its current state. So is Obamacare gone? If so someone forgot to tell the IRS. According to research finding by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 68% of American know ACA is still in effect. But 68% of the general public are not aware of the Individual Mandate repeal. 

Is Obamacare Gone? Tell The IRS That

After five attempts to overhaul the current health care law, Republicans in Washington are involved in the sixth attempt that will be processed later this year. But for now, the ACA is here to stay….

Attempt #1: Repeal and Replace

On Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Republicans made their first efforts under the current administration to repeal and replace Obamacare. This effort raised the 51 votes needed to start the debate but fell short in the final Senate vote.

Nine Republican senators including conservative and moderators voted against the replacement plan. The proposed Senate bill allowed for a rollback on Medicaid expansion and capped spending budget, less comprehensive plans, and the elimination of the individual/employer mandate.

Attempt #2: Straight Repeal of Obamacare

Republican Senators came together to revise the 2015 GOP bill that was previously vetoed by former President Barack Obama. This would have introduced an amendment to bar federal dollars for abortion fundings. A simple majority was needed to pass the bill, but seven Republican Senators voted the measure down.

The bill would have repealed many of the regulations set down by the Affordable Care Act without implementing an immediate replacement. The plan was to have the health care bill repealed in two years giving lawmakers additional time to pass a replacement act.

Attempt #3: Skinny Repeal

Three Republican Senators effectively squashed the last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare as part of the budget process. With the party unable to push more sweeping legislation leadership crafted a “skinny” repeal plan that left much of the current Affordable Care Act in place. Medicaid and subsidies were to be left untouched, but this would have eliminated the individual/ employer mandate, and medical device tax.

Attempt #4: Graham-Cassidy

On September 30th, 2017 the budget reconciliation expired blocking the GOP’s opportunity to overhaul the Affordable Care Act with just 50 voters. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana revised their former draft of the Republican plan to repeal and efficiently replace Obamacare. This would install additional funding provisions and regulatory change aimed at securing senators support.

This plan would have eliminated the following: Medicaid expansion, cost-sharing subsidies, tax credits, and the Individual/Employer Mandate.

Attempt #5: GOP’s New Bill: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

On December 22nd President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act after the House passed the tax bill with a historical party-line vote. This tax reform bill reduces the federal budget deficit by approximately $318 billion by eliminating costs associated with the individual mandate.

Attempt #6: 20-State Coalition File Injunction Against Obamacare

A coalition of twenty U.S. states sued the federal government over Obamacare. They claim the law is no longer constitutional following the repeal of the Individual Mandate. Leading the lawsuit is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in partnership with the Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. The case was filed Monday, February 26th, 2018 in the United States District Court Northern District of Texas Fort Worth Division. The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief file as case number 4:18-cv-00167-O is a 33-page document stating the beliefs and understanding of the combined twenty states.

For more information on your ACA reporting and filing, obligations click here.

Affordable Care Act 2018

Despite the continued efforts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, your business will still be required by law to offer health coverage and report required information returns.

While the road ahead might be rocky, ACAwise will continue to provide full-service ACA reporting and compliance. Getting started is easy, and, with volume-based pricing, you will get the best deal available! Get to know one of our knowledgeable product managers and learn how we can help you smoothly record your ACA compliance.

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Monday, May 7, 2018

How to Motivate and Manage Seasonal Employees

Seasonal employees are a great solution for the increase in demand, but they do come with their own set of challenges.
The countdown to summer has begun! As businesses across the nation prepare for the annual summer rush many will be adding a few more hands on deck to keep up with more customers. Seasonal employees are a great solution for the increase in demand, but they do come with their own set of challenges. Here is how to motivate and manage seasonal employees.

How to Motivate and Manage Seasonal Employees

Seasonal employees are typically younger individuals coming from a variety of backgrounds and skill levels, and they may require more training time than your year-round employees. But seasonal employees are key to achieving your business goals this season. Use this information to get your business, and your temporary hires set up for a successful summer season.

Recruiting Seasonal Staff

When it comes to hiring seasonal workers, it is important to start out on the right foot. When you start the recruiting process hire, the best seasonal employees. It may sound much easier said than done, but there is the simple secret you need to know: Hire early. Don’t wait until the last-minute to hire your workers. Employers should start hiring for summer positions in May, and for the holiday season, you should start in early August.

Give your business the best chance of hiring the best candidates by posting job ads before the busy season. You will have access to a bigger pool of candidates and have the time to vet your potential hires properly. This will also give you ample time to schedule and train your seasonal employees.

Seasonal Staff Vs. Year-Round Employees

Even though your seasonal will only be with you a few months, it is crucial you treat them the same as normal employees.Even though your seasonal employees will only be with you a few months, it is crucial you treat them the same as normal employees. This includes fair scheduling. Don’t schedule them only during the shifts your year-round employees don’t want. Avoid commenting on their limited tenure with your business.

If you divide your team into “year-round” and “seasonal” employees, it will make it hard to work as a team. Recognize and praise all employees for their performance and give them opportunities to learn. It is a fact that happy employees are more productive and have better sales. While your seasonal employees might not be a part of your team long, they are still a vital part of your summer sales. 

Seasonal Staff Training

The summer sales season is one of the busiest and stressful times of year for your business. You don’t want a poorly trained employee to slow down your team. It is tempting to skimp on training and get your employee working as fast as possible, but taking the time to properly train them will save you from future problems and headaches.

Remember while your seasonal staff might not be there long your customers are. Your staff members leave lasting impressions on your customers long after the season is over.

Seasonal Staff Expectations

Be upfront about the length of your seasonal employee's tenure with your business. While some employees wish to have a more permanent position, others are happy with the temporary commitment. If a more long-term position is available, it can be a great motivator during the season.

Going forward, make a habit of agreeing on a number of weeks or an end date when offering the seasonal position.

The ACA and Seasonal Staff

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) and Third-Party Administrators (TPAs) to offer health insurance to full-time employees (30+ hours per week). However, there is an exception for seasonal staff. If your business includes 50 or more full-time equivalent employees for no more than 120 days and the staff in excess at the time are seasonal workers, so your business is not considered an ALE.

However, if you are considered an ALE, you will need to offer coverage to employees who work 30 or more hours. But if you have a waiting period before health benefits go into effect, they may no longer be with your business.

Start The Season Off Right

Seasonal staff can be a challenge for anyone. But with careful planning, hiring, and training you can get your team ready to tackle your summer sales season. If you are looking for a full-service ACA reporting and compliance software, ACAwise is your answer. We offer volume-based pricing, so you know you are getting the best deal possible.

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