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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Big Data's Powerful Applications in HR


Big data, along with its three key features of volume, velocity, and variety, is considered the foundation of modern analytical systems. As of 2013, 91% of America’s top executives have been planning big data initiatives. And finance and marketing industries have already acknowledged (and leveraged) the power of machine learning algorithms to identify profitable stocks and customize catering to clients.

As far as HR purposes go, Google (a data-driven company) has developed a model that can predict promotions with 90% accuracy. Other managers, however, have not been able to use the big data/HR equation because people aren’t ready to hand over control to the computer.

So just how is big data affecting HR and how will it in the future? Let’s explore that!

Big Data for HR
If HR teams were to use a statistical model based on big data, that would mean “replacing presumptions with validation, hunches with data, and intuition with success ratio.” Talent scouts often face a significant challenge when structuring large quantities of different data that needs to be evaluated against a unitary scorecard. Big data offers a solution to that by employing methods specially designed for variety.

Potential Benefits
Taking it a few steps further, big data could provide some serious benefits in the HR sector. These benefits include
  • Decreasing the cost of bad hires
    • -Big data can help cut down on bad hires.
    • -Wrongfully chosen employees can cost much more than just their salary and benefits:
      • -Recruitment costs
      • -Training expenditures
      • -Productivity loss
      • -Negative client reviews
    • -A primary challenge of HR analytics is using big data to predict a match between candidate skills and personal beliefs against company needs and values.
  • Increasing retention rates
    • -Big data algorithms nominate individuals by studying employees’ online activity, profile updates, employment history, job performance, and payroll data
    • -Employees that are red-flagged by the algorithm could be given a raise, a more challenging role, or more training in order to prevent resignations
    • -Companies that already do this, including Xerox, Walmart, and Credit Suisse, have seen retention increase as much as 20% with these algorithms.
  • Performance prediction
    • -When you’re hiring, big data HR analytics models can help you find the best candidate profiles based on the job’s requirements and existing top performers.
    • -They do this by using existing records of successful candidates to create high performer profiles which you can use as to create a targeted head-hunting tool to send personalized messages to the right talent.
    • -Predictions are necessary to evaluate future job openings, promotions, and even layoffs, and aligning models to your business strategy can help you use big data to save time and money on recruitment.
  • Improving benefits packages
    • -Using big data similar to insurance companies, employers can gather health related data of their staff and candidates to create more attractive and useful packages.
    • -Keep in mind that you should be transparent about collecting such data, stating your final goals, to avoid legal issues related to discrimination practices.

Legal and Ethical Issues
Although there aren’t any legal statements against using big data for HR analyses and evaluations, ethical concerns are still a factor to consider. Privacy is an important concern and many people are afraid that the numbers could work against them and even encourage discrimination.

Of course, stereotyping and unfair treatment of an individual outlier based on the general performance of a group is not acceptable in the business sector and is an unsolved problem that could result from using big data with HR. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that algorithms do not have intuition and are unable to assess undocumented progress, which is where HR representatives come in.

Just make sure to keep everything as transparent as possible and continue to work within employer/employee laws and guidelines when utilizing big data for HR purposes.



So what do you think? Will you begin using big data to improve your HR department and the reliability and productivity of your employees? Do you use it already? We’d love to hear all about it - just leave us a comment below!

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Why Cloud-Based HR is Set to Make Rapid Gains


Folks, we’re experiencing a trend shift in the way Human Resources are handled. The cross from traditional on-premise HR software to cloud-based alternatives is happening in droves and the Information Services Group (ISG) has the market research to confirm it.

The Switch to Cloud-Based
ISG’s study is based on data collected from over 200 “senior leaders” in the HR management, business operations, and IT fields. Each respondent represented a large company with at least 1000 employees. Because companies of this size tend to play a role in industry trends, researchers were able to gain insight of where the market is headed, especially in terms of new technologies and other wide-reaching changes.

What they found was that HR automation services are the big ticket items on the agenda.

Crunching the Numbers
According to their study, ISG learned that 12% of their participants represent companies that handle HR activities exclusively in the cloud. An additional 10% rely on a combination of on- and off- premise software. Based on information provided about the participants’ technology roadmaps and growth projection, ISG believes this will double to 44% of firms using at least one cloud-based system in 2018 and should reach 54% by 2020.

And we could even see a bigger growth given that the tally increases to more than 75% of organizations when we include those that use internally-developed HR systems hosted on cloud infrastructure and other off-premise deployment models. In other words: cloud-based is on the fast track to becoming the norm for HR departments.

Why Cloud-Based Works Better
During the study, representatives provided answers for what they hope to achieve by switching to the cloud, which provided some insight into the increase in its use. 41% of respondents listed cutting costs among their top priority when switching to cloud-based. 30% of respondents utilize cloud-based as a way to make HR staff less dependent on the IT department and to provide a better experience for employees overall. And just over 25% of respondents cited “access to ongoing innovation” as a benefit of cloud-based programs.



To read ISG’s full report, click here. And to learn more about ACAwise, a cloud-based program that helps you with everything health care benefits- and Affordable Care Act compliance-related, sign up for a free demo here!

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

The 3 Best Practices in HR Analytics


Strategic use of the statistics you gather from Human Resources (HR) analytics can make a powerful difference in the success of your business. That’s why forward-thinking businesses have embraced data analysis in the interest of business performance and, ipso facto, higher profit margins.

So what are the three most important practices you should be doing with your HR analytics? We’ll tell ya!

Gathering Data
Believe it or not, companies used to not collect all that much in-depth data on their employees and hardly any on their consumers. If they did collect employee data, it tended to focus on the past - the employee’s history with the company, number of days absent, compliance and retention.

Today, companies collect much more data and not just on their current employees. Data is regularly analyzed on brand image, potential recruits, customer reach and retention, demographics, and hiring patterns. The more data you gather, the more you’re able to interpret. For example, one report found only 30% of the US workforce is actively engaged at work. That’s a pretty low percentage all things considered, right? Not exactly: if you factor in an internal data analysis that revealed 82% of the time candidates are placed in the wrong position, that low percentage of engaged workers makes more sense. And if we get proactive with this information, business owners and HR personnel can work to ensure the right people are in the optimal positions.

Knowing Your Consumers and Your Team
Unilever VP of HR for UK & Ireland Placid Jover said it best:
“It’s key to realize that today we compete based on insight. It doesn’t matter whether it’s soup and soap, fizzy drink or cars, success is based on knowing your consumers, users or shoppers and their habits, and then being able to quickly mobilize your organization to embrace and action the insight.”
There really is no substitute for having a thorough grasp of your employees and your consumers. For the employee side, when you have a team you can rely on to intuitively spring into action, you’re far less likely to lose out to your competition or find yourself and your company at the center of a public relations or legal debacle.

As far as your consumers go, if you can predict what they want before they do, you put yourself on the cutting edge in providing them with the solution they need.

Building a Better Business Strategy
Using HR analytics and data analysis when approaching your business plan can lead to new and innovative approaches to your strategy. In the case of sportswear giant, Adidas, analysis of HR analytics caused an increase in employee engagement levels and revamped how management, communication, and other departments work together. Three driving core pillars - data, metrics, and the employee experience - were able to provide them with insight into “employee behavior, skill-sets, and talent.” Combining a business strategy with a people strategy helped work toward the betterment of the company as a whole.



One way you can gain more insight into your HR analytics is with ACAwise! While our main focus is Affordable Care Act compliance, the employee information you enter to complete ACA e-filing can offer key insights into the healthcare plans you offer as well as employee needs, attendance, and enrollment. Schedule a free demo today to learn more about the analytics reports you can generate through ACAwise as well as how it benefits HR professionals as a whole!


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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Have You Heard About DC's New Paid Family Leave?


Earlier this year, Washington D.C.’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 came into effect (on April 7, to be exact). Under this act, employees are entitled to 90% of their regular pay while taking covered leave. The money is to come from employer contributions equal to .62% of employees’ wages.

Eligible Individuals
Under the new paid leave act, eligible individuals can request paid leave following certain qualifying events, subject to a one-week waiting period during which time no benefits are payable. Those who qualify as eligible individuals are
  • -Those who have been “covered employees” during some or all of the 52-week period prior to the qualifying event
  • -Self-employed individuals who have opted into the paid leave program who also spent at least 50% of their work time in D.C. during some or all of the 52-week period prior to the qualifying event.

Employee Entitlements
The new paid leave act provides “eligible individuals” up to eight weeks of paid leave each year. This time may be taken intermittently and it may include any combination of
  • 1. Up to eight weeks of parental leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the birth of a child, the placement of an adopted or foster child, or the assumption of legal guardianship of a child
  • 2. Up to six weeks of family leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the diagnosis or occurrence of a family member’s serious health condition
  • 3. Up to two weeks of personal medical leave
    • -This must be taken within one year of the diagnosis or occurrence of the employee’s serious health condition
Under the act, “serious health conditions” include physical or mental illnesses, injuries, or impairments that require inpatient care, continuing health care-related treatment, or supervision at home.

Recommendations for Employers
It’s been recommended that D.C. area employers should continue to monitor developments related to the act over the coming months and years. While the act and its regulations were enacted this year, employees will not be able to claim benefits under the act until July 1, 2020. Employers should also review their leave policies to ensure compliance with new regulations as they’re published.


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

9 Easy Ways Your Small Business Can Save Money


When you own a small business, the phrase “a penny saved is a penny earned” takes on a whole new meaning. That’s your bread-and-butter, after all, and why it’s important to save on everything you can. So here are nine easy ways you can save even more to put right back into your small business’s growth!

1. Ask for a Discount
Tons of large retailers offer small business discounts, although they may not advertise it. That’s why it never hurts to ask! This approach typically works better on larger items, like home office equipment. But you never know: you may even get a few cents off Post-It notes if you ask.

2. Check Out Executive Suites
If your growing small business is still home-based, it may be time to look into getting some office space. Executive suites and shared office spaces can help you to improve your business’s prestige as well as offer more services. Some spaces even come with receptionist services, private mailboxes, and part time office hours so do your research!

3. Chill on the Meetings
It can be tempting to have long meetings with your staff to discuss the direction and growth of your small business, but there are better ways for everyone to spend their time. Try to evaluate the true cost of your meetings because where you can save time, you can save money.

4. In the Beginning, Make Outsourcing a Priority
If you’re just starting out, employees may seem helpful but they can be costly. To keep your budget in order while you’re growing, look to outsource workers you may need. Independent contractors can get the job done without the salary, office space, and benefits costs you’d need to provide employees.

5. Join an Association
Business and trade associations offer more than just networking through membership. By joining an association, you could save quite a bit on business-related expenses like insurance, car rentals, and phone services.

6. Keep Track of Petty Cash Down to the Penny
It should go without saying, but you need to keep a record of all your business-related expenses. Petty cash drawers should be accounted for just as carefully as your checking accounts.

7. Showcase Your Expertise
This tip may cost a little time but can save you a lot of money on marketing: look for opportunities to attract the attention of your target market by showcasing your expertise. You can do this by teaching a class, writing an article, or addressing your community directly.

8. Skip the Delivery Fee
You can save a few extra bucks on pizza by picking it up instead of getting it delivered and the same goes for certain office supplies. Look into being your own delivery driver for orders of reams of paper and other smaller bulk office supplies to help cut costs.

9. Utilize The Cloud
Instead of allocating part of your budget toward hardware that may be outdated before you even make it through your first year, look into cloud-based tools for accounting, project management, marketing automation, customer relationships, and more.

And speaking of cloud-based software: as a small business owner, you face specific requirements for Affordable Care Act compliance. ACAwise is a cloud-based software that can help you keep track of these requirements all year long! Schedule a free demo today to learn more about keeping your business compliant with the ACA!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Do New Laws Enacted to Ban Salary Inquiries Affect You?


Did you know that a growing number of states are enacting laws that address pay equity by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants how much they earned in previous jobs? Delaware and Oregon are the most recent states to enact measures, but first: a brief history!

Recent Laws & Bans
The basic idea behind salary history laws is that pay inequality can follow employees from job to job. If a worker experiences pay discrimination over the course of his or her career, disclosing past salary details could put them at a disadvantage when negotiating subsequent salaries or compensation packages. This has the potential to reduce a person’s earning power across his or her entire career.

Enter laws enacting bans on salary history inquiries. Massachusetts, New York City, Philadelphia, and Puerto Rico have already passed restrictions like this. San Francisco is set to pass similar measures after approval from the city’s Board of Supervisors June 27.

Delaware
The Delaware measure, known as House Bill 1, was signed by Governor John Carney (D) on June 14 this year. Essentially, House Bill 1
  • -bars employers from seeking pay histories of applicants before they’ve made employment offers,
  • -prohibits salary-based job applicant screening where prior compensation must satisfy certain minimum or maximum criteria, and
  • -allows the confirmation of salary history information after an employment offer has been made and compensation terms have been spelled out.
Delaware’s law will take effect this coming December.

Oregon
The Oregon measure, House Bill 2005, signed June 1 by Governor Kate Brown (D) enacts similar restrictions as Delaware’s House Bill 1. The Oregon law, however, goes further:
  • 1. It expands existing equal pay provisions to prohibit pay discrimination based on race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, marital or veteran status, disability, and age in addition to gender-based bias.
  • 2. It allows pay disparities to be permitted if they exist because of seniority or merit systems, earnings tied to quantity or quality, workplace locations, travel, education, training, experience, or any combination of these factors.
  • 3. It allows employers to avoid compensatory and punitive damages if they’ve conducted an audit and taken steps to eliminate current pay inequalities.
Oregon’s law takes effect in September, however, employers can’t be sued for violating these pay history provisions until January 1, 2019. They also won’t face penalties in the form of compensatory or punitive damages until 2024.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Schedule a FREE Demo Today for Better ACA Compliance


Are you curious about ACAwise? Always wondered how it worked but wasn’t sure if it was for you? Well guess what: you can request a free demo with one of our expert support team members to get all of your questions answered!

How to Request a Demo
To request your very own free demo, just go to our homepage, www.ACAwise.com.

Next, find this Request DEMO link in the upper right-hand corner of your screen:


And you'll come to the demo request screen! Then, all you need to do is fill out the following information:


For business type, you’ll choose between Applicable Large Employer (ALE) or Third Party Administrator, but other than that everything here should be pretty straightforward. Once you fill everything out and hit “Send,” you’ll get an automated email from us that we received your request (check your Spam folder if you don’t see it at first).

Then - usually the same day - you’ll hear from one of our friendly support team members to confirm your demo request. They’ll also send you a bit more information about logging into the demo when the time comes!

What You’ll Cover
In your demo, you’ll learn all the basics of starting and maintaining your ACAwise account. Your ACAwise representative will ask a few questions about your company to figure out how you’ll be using the program in order to create the perfect, personalized account for you.

You’ll then go through a user-friendly, standard walkthrough of an ACAwise account. Our support team member will explain how to use your dashboard, including how to upload information, what reports you can generate, and how to interpret your compliance data. We’ll also answer any questions you have before, during, or after your demo.


If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to sign up with ACAwise, scheduling a demo is the perfect way to learn more about us. And all it’ll cost is about 30 minutes of your time! Click here to schedule your free demo now!



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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

5 Tips for Getting Payroll Right Every Time


A recent American Payroll Association survey - “Getting Paid in America” - revealed that 92% of American employees are confident in the accuracy of their paychecks each pay period. But are you as confident in your payroll process?

It’s no secret that mistakes in payroll, even innocuous ones, can lead to complicated issues that end up being costly. Ensuring consistent, accurate pay is one of the most essential components to building employee trust and loyalty.

So here are five tips to make sure your payroll process is always efficient:

Accurately Document New Staff
Be sure you’re starting everything off on the right foot. There’s a lot of data to document when a new employee comes on board and compiling it all accurately is vital. Make sure you’ve got a reliable checks and balance system in place when adding new employees to make the onboarding process simpler.

Constantly Audit Your Process
When you’re running a business, the only constant thing is change. This applies to your payroll process as well. As your company grows and you expand your workforce, it’s important to constantly audit how you do payroll. What worked for 5 employees won’t necessarily work for 20. Auditing your payroll process helps you know everything’s working and also allows you to verify employee data, generate accurate reports, and update employee benefits.

Keep Track of Time & Attendance
Whether you’re paying employees by salary or on an hourly basis, it’s important to collect accurate time and attendance of all your employees. It’s perhaps more important now than ever as this past December the Department of Labor made changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act regarding overtime pay. Now, anyone making less than $47,477 annually is required to receive time and a half pay for overtime. So be sure to clock those hours!

Stay Up-to-Date on Payroll Laws
It’s important to keep in mind that not only do payroll tax laws vary from state to state, but they’re also changed and updated fairly regularly. Avoid unnecessary noncompliance fees by staying informed of the latest payroll rules and regulations as they apply to your industry.

Utilize ACAwise!
While not strictly a payroll software, ACAwise can help you immensely in staying compliant with your payroll policies, especially with regards to the Affordable Care Act rules and regulations. Year-round tracking and accurate, real-time reports that you can access right from your account help give you an extra advantage when it comes to payroll and ACA compliance.

You can learn more about ACAwise by scheduling a free demo with one of our expert support team members. Or feel free to contact us anytime with questions you may have by phone, live chat, or email!

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

3 Ways HR Professionals Can Benefit from ACAwise



As a human resources professional, you’ve had to deal with a unique set of record-keeping and IRS reporting challenges since the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). That’s why we designed ACAwise with people like you in mind! Here are three of the main ways ACAwise helps make ACA compliance simple and convenient for you!

Cross Walk Feature for Easy Coding
In order to complete Forms 1095-C for your ACA return, you’re required to enter in specific codes on lines 14 and 16. These codes provide the IRS with more information about the individual listed on that 1095-C Form, like their employment status and the health care offer and coverage provided to them.

ACAwise comes with a Cross Walk feature that allows our program to interpret your employee data as you have it and automatically generate the codes you need to complete Form 1095-C. With this feature, you won’t have to interpret IRS regulations or codes so your ACA reporting gets done faster.

Full-Service Compliance Reporting
A fair amount of confusion surrounding the ACA stems from having to learn the new rules and regulations in order to stay compliant with the IRS. With ACAwise, you don’t have to worry about that! That’s because we stay up-to-date on all the IRS’s business rules for ACA compliance to help ensure your information is in line with IRS and ACA policy.

From your Dashboard, you can even generate reports for the most recent interpretation of your data and whether you need to make any adjustments to remain ACA compliant.

Simplified, Streamlined E-filing
Since ACAwise securely tracks your data all year to ensure ACA compliance, it’s perfectly set up to handle your ACA return e-filing each year. As you probably know, you’re required to complete either a Form 1095-B or 1095-C for each person/employee to whom you offered health insurance coverage throughout the year. ACAwise does this for you: it automatically generates the forms for your return for you to review. You can then e-file the return directly with the IRS and even have us mail your recipient copies for you as well.

Of course, the best way to find out all the ways you and your business can benefit from ACAwise is to schedule a free demo with a member of our support team! They’re also available to answer any questions you have about the program in English or Spanish by phone (704-954-8420), live chat, and email at support@ACAwise.com.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Miss the Second Quarter Form 941 Deadline? Here's What to Do



July 31, 2017, was the deadline to have 941 Forms reporting second quarter information sent to the IRS. The quarterly business tax form reports the federal income tax, social security tax, and Medicare tax employers are required to withhold from employee wages. It’s also used to calculate and transmit the employer’s portion of Medicare and social security tax. And if you missed the deadline to file it yesterday, you’ve got some work to do!

First: Know What You’re Up Against
The penalties for filing Form 941 and any associated taxes late are no joke, but they’re unfortunately unavoidable at this point. But no need to wallow: just take this as a learning opportunity to file on time next time! Here are the penalties you’ll need to watch out for:
  • -Failure to file on time penalty: 5% of the total tax amount due
    • -Plus an additional 5% each month the return is late, up to 5 months
  • -Late payment penalty: .5% of the unpaid tax amount, charged each month following the payment due date
    • -Increases to 1% of the tax amount after 10 days, following a notice from the IRS
    • -Caps at 25% of the total tax due
  • -Late deposit penalty: 
    • -1-5 days late: 2% of the unpaid tax
    • -6-15 days late: 5% of the unpaid tax
    • -16+ days late: 10% of the unpaid tax
    • -After IRS notification: 15% of the unpaid tax, to be paid immediately

Second: E-file & Pay Any Taxes Owed ASAP
As you can see, your penalties will only get worse the longer you wait to file and pay, so it’s important to get that done as soon as possible. Luckily, you can quickly and easily e-file Form 941 - even after the deadline - with ACAwise’s sister product, ExpressTaxFilings! Built by the same people who’ve brought you the ACA compliance and e-filing you trust, ExpressTaxFilings breaks down Form 941 into an interview-style format, helping you get it done faster and with fewer errors.You can even make any tax payments you need while you’re completing your e-filing!

Optional: Apply for a Signature PIN for Faster E-filing
Something you can do to help get your 941 Form e-filing done faster next time is use an Online Signature PIN to e-sign your quarterly return. Instead of having to fill out Form 8453-EMP, all you’ll have to do is enter the IRS-issued 10-digit PIN and e-file your return. It usually takes about 40 days for the entire PIN process to be complete, but you can apply for one as easily as you e-file over at ExpressTaxFilings! Go ahead and apply for one today so you’ll have it in time for the 3rd quarter deadline in October.



So if you haven’t filed your second quarter 941 Form, head on over to ExpressTaxFilings NOW to get it done! They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have over there and even help you get started. Just give them a call at (704) 684-4751 or send them a live chat or email to support@ExpressTaxFilings.com!

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