Month: June 2015

Employee Benefits that Improve Hiring and Retention

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Employee Benefits that Improve Hiring and Retention

Employee BenefitsA new benefit survey of human resource professionals found that around a third of companies had more trouble hiring and retaining employees at all levels in 2014 than the two previous years. Some 29 percent of businesses leveraged their incentive packages to gain new staffers while 25 percent utilized them to retain current team members during the previous 12 months.

Health Insurance Tops the List

To overcome recruitment and retention hurdles, 85 percent of companies relied mostly on health insurance to attract new hires while 74 percent used that perk to retain existing workers. Retirement savings and planning programs came in second with 72 percent promoting those rewards to hire personnel and 62 percent offering those enticements to keep present employees. In third place, 51 percent of organizations used leave benefits to hold onto their best staffers.

As businesses compete for top candidates, employers are distinguishing their advantages by emphasizing employee motivators. With 56 percent of companies struggling to attract highly skilled recruits, 32 percent publicized incentives to draw in talent. But just 9 percent reported that their workforces have significant knowledge about their employers’ available perks. And 22 percent agreed strongly that their communication efforts relate reward information to their staffers very effectively.

More than 50 percent of respondents noted which fringe benefits they thought would become more important in their employee retention efforts during the next three to five years. Retirement planning and savings came in at 67 percent, health care at 58 percent, wellness and preventive health at 57 percent, flexible work schedules at 54 percent, and career and professional development at 51 percent.

Employer Communications Need Improvement

Some 83 percent of companies provided online or printed benefit enrollment forms, and 70 percent held group sessions with organizational representatives who explained options to employees. Just 4 percent shared perk information with staffers through social media. The surveyors noted that HR communication is vital because previous research shows that benefits are important contributors to workforce job satisfaction. But personnel won’t value extra packages without adequate employer notifications.

If these issues are overwhelming you, outsourcing your incentive management and promotions will keep employees up to date on their total reward packages. National PEO offers extensive benefit administration services including plan election and registration, staff communication materials, vendor payments, payroll deductions, customer service, claims support, and annual renewals. Our expert financial advisors administer, manage, and process various retirement planning options including IRAs, 401(k) plans with and without company matching, and pension plans.

Employee BenefitsWorkforce Confusion

HR experts believe that employees might misunderstand their benefits in these six areas:

  1. Awareness of available company-sponsored perks: Only 9 percent of respondents rated their workers as very knowledgeable about their benefits while 73 percent were somewhat knowledgeable.
  2. Companies’ compensation disclosure effectiveness: Some 22 percent of HR pros agreed strongly that their firms conveyed their employee reward information very effectively while 58 percent agreed somewhat.
  3. Perk communication budget changes: Respondents reported that 32 percent of employers upped their benefit explanation funds for 2014, compared to 2013. But 9 percent decreased that budget.
  4. Employee resource material changes: According to HR staffers, 63 percent of organizations revised their reward materials during the previous 12 months. Throughout 2014, 70 percent of employers scheduled meetings with organization group representatives to announce benefit details, compared to 62 percent in 2013. Companies using online or printed newsletters went up from 34 percent in 2013 to 41 percent in 2014.
  5. HR disclosure approaches: The two top ways organizations offered benefits to workers were online or printed enrollment forms at 83 percent and/or staff meetings with organizational reps at 70 percent. Some 52 percent of businesses offered private sessions with reps while 46 percent posted details on company intranet sites.
  6. Social media communications: Just 4 percent of respondents disseminated benefit information via social media. Among the rest, 8 percent planned to initiate social media announcements during the next year.

Upgrading Benefit Information

The survey report included three recommendations to increase workforce knowledge:

  1. Allocate funds for your employee resource disclosure program: Understanding overall compensations better can boost job satisfaction, so budget ways to explain available perks’ values.
  2. Revisit your reward promotion efforts routinely: Because changing laws, strategies, and costs keep the benefit landscape in flux constantly, reviewing your strategies and communications regularly is vital.
  3. Explore social media usage: Consider using multiple social media avenues to reach and increase employee benefit awareness.

Key Start-up Business Development Tips

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Key Start-up Business Development Tips

Key Start-up TipsEstablishing a new enterprise is an exciting adventure. But like other firsts, owners learn important lessons when initial attempts require modifications. Three business founders share their real-life examples for you to consider as you undertake your new venture.

Pursue Your Passion — and Revenue Will Follow

Many enthusiastic entrepreneurs’ top priority is bringing in money. But Adam McLane says that passion should fuel any business dream that’s worth achieving. If you hone in on your driving force to provide the finest quality products and/or services instead, financial gains will follow.

Outsource Specialized Services

Launching your own business involves much more than the rush of pursuing your passion finally. If you’re not careful, tedious yet necessary duties like accounting, payroll, ordering supplies, employee management, and legal issues can eat up too much of your time. Besides organizing your schedule and tasks, delegating certain functions to other professionals can be very helpful. Don’t waste valuable hours attempting to understand confusing payroll taxes just to conserve a little money, Nick Andrews advises.

Your time is a precious commodity, so outsourcing functions that aren’t among your core competencies makes financial sense. National PEO can take the payroll administration burden off your plate so you can concentrate on growing your business. We guarantee speedy accuracy as our experts handle taxes, offer multiple convenient payment methods, and produce custom reports that reflect details like sick and vacation days. And our affordable service fees are under what you’d pay your own office staff.

Utilize Online and Cloud-Based Tools

Google everything, McLane suggests. You’ll find expert tips and advice on creating your organization free online. Numerous, often-free tools also are available to assist new business owners. Andrews recommends for a wide range of tools that facilitate establishing and running your company. The U.S. Small Business Administration website offers advice via articles, online training, videos, and discussion forums. Google’s cloud-based work tools including Google Docs, Drive, and Calendar are helpful wherever you are. Using WordPress templates, you can custom build a website without an expensive web designer.

Set Realistic Expectations

Creating and managing a company is a time-consuming challenge. To fix your mind every morning, Daniel Horgan suggests listing achievable goals with appropriate and distraction-free time allocations. Then complete each task before moving on to the next so you don’t waste time bouncing between them.

You may spend countless hours working and many others contemplating your responsibilities, says Andrews, so set practical expectations for your spare time. Be sure family and friends are okay with your new venture claiming your focus. Or strike a reasonable work/life balance by making time to enjoy people and activities away from work.

Key Start-up TipsAlways Focus on Your Clients

If you don’t align your business plan with creating exceptional customer value, your company won’t endure. You must offer solutions to meet your clients’ needs continuously, Andrews says. To monitor customer feedback, Google your firm’s name to find online reviews and social conversations.

Don’t let single negative comments discourage you. Look for similar response trends instead. If your start-up is too young to have significant opinions available online, use surveys or contact patrons directly. Most people are eager to describe their personal experiences, so use consumer feedback to improve your organization.

Get Free Advice through Networking

The numbers of fellow entrepreneurs who are generous with helpful knowledge will amaze you. Networking provides free guidance that enhances your enterprise, helps you locate potential employees, and opens doors to reach prospective clients.

The start-up collective is surprisingly supportive, so engaging with it is key. Andrews recommends LinkedIn for connecting with other new business owners, joining groups, collaborating with members, and finding new clientele.

Listen More and Talk Less

You may be anxious to promote your products and/or services to others, but listening more than you talk can be enlightening. Horgan recommends noting common questions people ask, your responses, and listeners’ reactions. Discover which answers resonate with others most. Pay special attention to what people aren’t saying, and follow up with questions that will uncover key details that distinguish your brand.

Test Constantly

Your clients deserve ongoing innovations. Andrews advises that every business type should test new ideas, methods, products, and services continuously. But don’t overcomplicate the process. Before testing, determine what you’re assessing and how you’ll measure it. Then conduct small experiments with minimal risks, and opportunities to realize massive wins may follow.

Keep Your Company’s Job Interviewing Questions Legal

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Keep Your Company’s Job Interviewing Questions Legal

Job Interviewing Questions 1Fair hiring guidelines became laws over four decades ago to give all job seekers equal opportunities during interview and selection processes. Yet today, employers still question applicants about forbidden and insulting topics that are unrelated to job duties and performance.

A recent CareerBuilder survey found that at least one in three businesses is unsure if specific interview questions are legal for HR and hiring managers to ask contenders. And one in five has posed an illegal question unknowingly.

Sample Illegal Topics

CareerBuilder provides a sampling of typical interview questions that companies didn’t realize are illegal:

  • What’s your ethnicity, race, or color?
  • Do you have any disabilities?
  • What’s your age?
  • Are you in debt financially?
  • What’s you marital status?
  • Do you have kids or plan on starting a family in the future?
  • What political party do you support?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • What’s your religious preference?
  • Do you smoke or drink socially?

Why Protected Class Inquiries Are Off Limits

Asking any questions about protected classes like race, nationality, gender, age (40 plus), military status, and religion is illegal, advises HR attorney Charles Krugel. Other employment lawyers and experts describe why under law interviewers shouldn’t ask these common questions.

Who cares for your kids while you’re working? Even if prospective employees mention having children voluntarily, law prohibits you from basing hiring decisions on gender stereotypes, explains Tom Spiggle. You can’t assume that parents have a lower work commitment than childless people.

But if positions require working evening hours, you have the right not to offer jobs to candidates who mention being unable to stay after 5 p.m. because of their young children. Basing decisions on applicants’ work restrictions rather than improper stereotyping is acceptable.

When do you plan to have children? You can’t judge job seekers’ work dedication by whether or not they’ll have future children. Davida Perry suggests wording questions carefully to measure potential employees’ devotion. Try “What hours are you available to work?” and “Do you have any commitments outside of work that will hinder certain job duties like traveling?”

Asking noticeably pregnant interviewees when their babies are due can be problematic, cautions Lisa Schmid, because discriminating against pregnant women is unlawful. Some states have laws prohibiting explicit pregnancy questions.

What caused that limp, scar, or any other physical irregularity? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) goes beyond prohibiting discriminating against people with actual disabilities to include those you can regard as disabled, warns Kelly Kolb. The ADA forbids you from questioning candidates about physical qualities that reflect actual or perceived disabilities.

Don’t ask applicants to reveal their medical histories or describe how their conditions affect their work abilities. But you may ask if prospective workers can perform essential job functions with or without special accommodations.

How often do Army Reserve deployments occur? Kolb says that employers can’t make hiring decisions according to military memberships or active-duty schedules. Essentially, you can’t ask about the effects of applicants’ military service on their abilities to work for your company.

Do you have an arrest record? You may ask if courts have convicted candidates with committing crimes. But legally, you can’t inquire about arrests or nights spent in jail, counsels Shari Shore. Judges may have dismissed cases without convictions, or courts may have lowered original charges to lesser ones.

Job Interviewing Questions 1Structured Questioning Is Key

Understanding which questions company reps do and don’t have legal rights to ask job applicants protects interviewers and interviewees, explains CareerBuilder’s Chief HR Officer Rosemary Haefner.

Despite hiring managers’ harmless intentions, she warns that job seekers could claim employers used certain questions to discriminate against them. Such inappropriate inquiries might set you up for legal action.

National PEO offers a full scope of employee recruitment services to avoid these problems. Our human resource experts advertise your job openings according to labor laws and find recruits through many additional sources. Consistent resume´ evaluation, interviewing, and selection practices are key to following fair hiring laws.

Our interview process is uniform to treat all applicants equally and impartially. We know which standard questions to ask and which problematic ones to skip. National PEO professionals stick to questions about contenders’ past work performance and capabilities to perform essential job duties. Then we wrap up our turnkey services with candidate evaluations, reference and background checks, and onboarding paperwork so quality new hires can get to work.

Handling Evolving Employee Manual Issues

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Handling Evolving Employee Manual Issues

Employee ManualMost organizations issue employee handbooks, official documents covering their rules on numerous aspects from appropriate conduct to benefits. A new survey of 521 company representatives found that business sectors influence guidebook prevalence.

Nonprofits topped the list with 94.9 percent providing policy guides while 92.6 percent of private-sector enterprises and 86.1 percent of public-sector employers followed suit. And 46 percent of organizations without manuals plan to create theirs within the next year. To complicate this process, various rules need updating to reflect changing labor laws and technologies.

Common Business Practices

According to the survey, 78 percent of firms modified their employee handbooks during the last two years while 14.2 percent did so in the previous three to five years, 3 percent between six and nine years, 2.1 percent 10 years ago or longer, and 2.8 percent were unsure when their last amendments occurred. Some 64 percent of employers plan to revise their policy manuals during the next year.

Keeping handbooks current with ever-changing workplaces and workforces was the greatest challenge for 41 percent of surveyed organizations. Matching updated laws came in second at 35.6 percent. Third place at 11 percent was coaxing staffers to follow company policies. For just 3.4 percent of respondents, the main challenge was tackling state requirements.

The leading new and evolving workplace issues that the latest American employee handbook versions address include:

  • Employer-paid sick days (79.4 percent)
  • Information protection (67.2 percent)
  • Social media usage (64.2 percent)
  • Vaping electronic cigarettes on site (20.6 percent)
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) protection (17.2 percent)
  • Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies (14.5 percent)

Interestingly, most of these modern concerns weren’t issues in past decades. Despite medical marijuana being a tricky workplace challenge that’s legal in almost 50 percent of states, just 6.4 percent of respondents addressed this topic explicitly in their employee handbooks. Wearable tech devices like smart watches and head-mounted displays may be hot new trends, but only 4.1 percent of businesses have announced official policies in their manuals.

Policy Guidelines

Addressing fluctuating workforce issues is a complex responsibility. Revising your employee handbook to incorporate evolving laws and innovations ? even ones that have yet to impact your business ? will help avert misunderstandings among your crew if situations arise. Being proactive also could help your company avoid legal troubles. As a vital tool that ensures management consistency, your manual also familiarizes all supervisors and staffers with their obligations and rights. But incorrectly prepared rulebooks may create potential liabilities, leaving you susceptible to workers’ legal claims.

Employee ManualNational PEO is a great resource to overcome such complications. We’ll write or amend your basic employee handbook or custom create complex versions with unique criteria for diverse factions. About one of five surveyed companies provides multiple publications for different teams. Typical variations include:

  • Permanent and seasonal employees
  • Hourly and salaried staffers
  • Office and field personnel
  • Union and non-union workers
  • Exempt and non-exempt employees
  • Staffers at the corporate office and various state locations
  • Managers and their reports
  • Staff, faculty, and administration positions

Because misstating and violating federal and/or state laws in your rulebook is illegal, research is crucial. In addition to explaining your company guidelines and policies, we’ll include all mandatory compliance notices and ensure that special policy requirements meet industry standards.

Handbook Preparation and Distribution

The survey showed that 58.5 percent of respondents use in-house human resource staffers to prepare their employee handbooks for lawyer reviews. But workers received 18.8 percent of internally produced manuals without attorney oversight. In-house HR Departments handled 83.4 percent of updates while 3.7 percent of internal legal teams, 2.5 percent of outside consultants, and 1.4 percent of external law firms took on that responsibility.

If your firm tackles the major task of writing an initial handbook or its updates internally, keep your content brief but accurate in easy-to-understand terminology. Introduce your policy manual as a positive step to protect your organization, current staff, and future employees. Realize that by establishing company policies, you’re creating obligations that executives and managers must follow and enforce consistently.

Some 64.5 percent of businesses continue to distribute guidebooks in traditional printed form with intranet access coming in at 55.3 percent and email following at 28.2 percent. To track delivery and compliance, 92 percent of survey takers require workers to acknowledge and date receipt in writing. Typical employer statements assign workers with the responsibilities to read, understand, and follow their current handbooks’ rules and regulations.

Rehiring a Former Employee

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You’re Fired . . . Or, Maybe Not: Rehiring a Former Employee

Rehiring a Former EmployeeFor most people, getting fired means that the door to that company is closed completely. Most bosses aren’t going to go to all of the trouble of terminating someone if they aren’t completely sure that the person is not suitable for the position, or if the employee does something so egregious that termination is the only option.

Except there have been cases in which the words “you’re fired” didn’t exactly mean, “You’re gone forever.” While the likelihood of someone being rehired for the exact same position under the exact same supervisor is usually unlikely, fired employees might find that they can land a different position within the company, or do similar work if they can prove that they have made changes to address the deficiencies that led to their dismissal in the first place.

The issue of rehiring a fired employee can potentially be a contentious one, and needs to be handled with care. The potential fallout could hurt morale — and if you make a bad decision, you could find yourself in the position of having to terminate again. At the same time, rehiring an employee could prove to be a great boost to productivity and morale in the company. So how do you decide?

3 Pros of Rehiring a Former Employee

There are several good reasons that you should consider rehiring an employee who has been let go in the past, whether for the same or a different position.

1. Improved Morale

Sometimes, a fired employee is a popular one, and his or her termination leads to decreased morale among the other employees, especially when the decision comes as a surprise. Not only does bringing a well-liked and respected employee back into the fold make people happy, it also sends a message that, as an employer, you are willing to be fair and give people second chances.

2. Correction of Deficiencies

One of the most important parts of the termination process is to outline the specific reasons for the firing. Simply saying, “You’re not a good fit,” is not enough; you have to give the employee specific reasons for his or her termination.

If the decision was made due to performance reasons, but the employee can prove that those deficiencies have been corrected, then it may be worth giving him or her another chance, especially if there weren’t any other problems.

3. Smoother Transition

Employees who have worked for your company before already “know the ropes” and tend to have an easier time assimilating into your company culture. You may even be able to save time and money, since you may not have to provide as much training to someone who has worked at your company before.

Rehiring a Former Employee3 Cons of Rehiring a Former Employee

Of course, for all of the potential upsides of hiring a former employee, there are some drawbacks as well. For example:

1. Morale Could Suffer

While the return of a popular employee may be applauded, someone who had contentious relationships or caused drama can cause those feelings to resurface.

Employees might also feel that there is no incentive to perform, since even if you get fired, you can just come back to work.

2. Problems May Still Exist

Even if the employee appears to have corrected deficiencies, there is always a chance that they could still have problems, or that old behaviors and habits could return. You might find yourself having to address those problems again.

3. Resentment

Former employees who return and begin taking on plum assignments can incur the wrath of others. There could be a sense that the new-old employee has not yet paid his or her dues and earned those assignments. That could cause resentment, gossip, and even destructive behavior.

Things to Consider Before Rehiring an Employee

Opting to rehire a former employee is not an easy decision, nor should it be made as a knee-jerk reaction or a means to avoid doing the hard work of the hiring process. Turning to a former employee to fill a role in order to prevent having to interview a large number of candidates or complete the full onboarding process rarely works, and is bound to backfire. You can use our services to recruit new employees if you’re trying to reduce your workload.

Terminated employees who wish to come back to your company should have to go through the same hiring process as any other candidate, although it’s reasonable to expect that you will scrutinize those applications more closely than others.

Among the factors that you should consider include:

  • The circumstances of the termination. How serious was the offense, and how were other employees impacted by it?
  • The former employee’s relationships with co-workers.
  • How will rehiring affect other employees?
  • What steps has the former employee taken to correct deficiencies?
  • In what capacity would the employee be working? A different position in a different department might not create the same animosity or issues as someone returning to work in the same department.
  • Are there any legal issues associated with bringing someone back to the company?

Determining whether to rehire a former employee can be a difficult decision. Much depends on the circumstances of the termination, and the overall affect that someone’s return can have on the company. As they say, time heals all wounds, and it might just be that time away can turn a poor employee into a great one.