Human Resources

HR Done Right: 3 Big Companies That Are Leading the Way

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Creating a great place to work can be challenging. There are so many factors that go into creating satisfied, productive employees, from the actual work that needs to be done to the benefits package and other perks that come from working for a company — not to mention, the actual leaders of the company and their management styles.

However, there are some companies that have crea ted excellent and desirable places to work. The one thing they have in common? Great human resources management, and a commitment to making their employees happy to be at work. Read on to learn more about three major companies that are well-known for their HR, and what they are doing that can influence your own HR practices.


Google receives millions of resume each year, and with good reason: Not only is the tech giant known for being an innovative and exciting place to work, it also has one of the most buzzed-about workplace cultures in the world. In fact, Workforce magazine rated Google No. 1 on its 2017 Workforce 100 list for HR excellence, recognizing the company’s leadership in the core areas of HR.

So, what makes Google so great when it comes to human resources? National HR experts note that it comes down to a few key aspects of the company’s culture:

  1. Google focuses on building a happy, healthy workforce. One of the hallmarks of working at Google is work/life balance: Leadership makes it a priority for employees to be happy and healthy both at work and at home. This means everything from providing plenty of time off from work and healthy meals in the office, to hiring managers that focus on training and development of employees — as well as plenty of recognition for high achievers.
  2. Google managers must meet specific criteria. Managers themselves must complete specific training and coaching requirements, but overall, Google managers must have certain traits and skills themselves in order to be in their positions. These skills range from empowering your team and expressing a clear vision and mission, to having the technical skills necessary to do the job.
  3. Google uses data. It should come as no surprise that Google uses data for everything — including HR decisions. Nothing happens at Google without data to support it. Managers act on information, not gut feelings or outdated ideas or policies.

In short, employees at Google are assigned to work that they are happy and engaged with, receive plenty of reward and recognition for their work, have opportunities to continuously grow and develop, and most of all, are treated as a person — not just a cog in the wheel.


Holding the No. 2 spot on the Workforce 100 list is Facebook, another tech company that’s gained a lot of attention for its HR policies and strategy.

One of the pillars of Facebook’s HR strategy, according to VP of people Lori Goler, is a culture of continuous, honest, and frequent feedback that permeates every aspect of the company. Whether you are running a meeting or working on a big project, she notes, asking for feedback on what is working and what isn’t creates a culture of continuous learning and improvement. This also allows Facebook employees to take chances and be more innovative, which keeps engagement high.

However, Facebook does more than just create an environment of innovation. The company takes a unique approach to keeping morale and engagement high, by not using the term “work/life balance,” which HR leaders believe places a priority on one over the other. Rather, they focus on “work/life flexibility,” which makes employees’ lives easier and gives them more ownership over their work, so they can pursue interests and passions when and where they want to.

Some of these innovations include plenty of food available in the office, “chill out” lounges for relaxing and recharging, and plenty of opportunities to keep families involved, with dedicated family events, the option to bring spouses and children along on work trips, unlimited sick days, and plenty of maternal/paternal leave and “baby bonuses” for new parents. Combined with the company’s unique recruiting and hiring policies and procedures (no college degrees required, contest-based job openings, and encouraging employees to refer others for jobs) and it’s no wonder that Facebook is rated No. 1 for employee satisfaction by Glassdoor.

The Walt Disney Company

Coming in at No. 6 on the Workforce 100, the Walt Disney Company takes happiness seriously. After all, when you’re known as the “happiest place on Earth,” you can’t have grumpy, dissatisfied employees, can you?

The foundation of Disney’s HR management is to treat employees (“cast members”) like customers, focusing on their happiness. In turn, those happy employees will treat customers the same way, going above and beyond to deliver excellent service, even in the most challenging of circumstances. What this translates to in real terms is rewarding and recognizing excellent performance, making executives accessible (and executives themselves doing whatever it takes to create a great experience), offering plenty of services and perks to employees, including free park tickets and the ability to take care of errands at work, such as registering to vote, and finding innovative ways of solving problems. For example, performers complained that acquiring and returning costumes at the start and end of each shift was taking too long, so leaders went to work developing a computerized system for managing the clothing that eliminated wait times.

If there is a common thread among these leaders in national HR excellence, it’s that they put employees first, and focus on employee satisfaction and morale. Happy employees are productive employees. Even if your company cannot go to the lengths of these multinational corporations, you can still work on policies that will keep your employees engaged and happy to be at work.

How to Create a Paid Time Off Policy for Your Company

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Among the benefits that employees want from their employers, paid time off (PTO) is often at the top of the list. Everyone needs time off to regroup and recharge their batteries — or take care of things in their personal lives — and the availability of PTO allows them to do that without a significant financial impact.

However, despite the fact that a majority of American companies — including 73 percent of small businesses — offer PTO, there is no one-size-fits-all policy for this benefit. Not only do companies need to determine the most fiscally responsible way to pay employees for hours they aren’t at work, but they also need to consider productivity and staffing levels, how PTO is earned, how it can be used, and a host of other issues. In short, a paid time off policy is a bit more complex than simply offering two weeks of paid vacation per year.

So, how do you develop a paid time off policy? Follow this guide to create a policy that is both attractive to employees and supportive of your bottom line.

The First Question: How Much Time — And Who Gets It?

There are several types of PTO, which generally fall into two categories. In the first category is the time off that you are required to offer by law, including jury duty, disability, parental leave, and bereavement leave. In the second category, is vacation, holidays, personal time, and sick leave. The latter are the types of PTO that you will need a policy for.

Some companies break their paid time off policy into multiple categories, providing paid time off for specific holidays, as well as a set number of sick days and vacation days. If you opt for this route, you need to specify exactly which holidays are covered, and how many sick and vacation days each employee receives. One option is to use a formula, in which you calculate the number of billable hours required to cover overhead and reach your profit goals multiplied by an employee’s average billing rate. Given that most employees are able to bill (or are productive) for about 75 percent to 80 percent of the time, an offer of 20 percent to 25 percent of the calculated overhead is usually a fair amount of vacation.

Many companies take a simpler route, and offer vacation time based on seniority. The longer you work for the company, the more time you earn. A typical tier breakdown is 10 days for one year or less; 15 days for years two to five; 20 days for up to 10 years, and so on. Another option is to allow employees to accrue time off based on hours worked, with the amount of PTO earned increasing each year. For instance, an employee might earn 10 minutes of PTO per hour worked in the first year, with an additional minute of PTO earned for each year of service. Employees can then deduct hours from their PTO “bank” when they wish to take time off. In some cases, this pool of hours covers all time off, including holidays and sick days.

Typically, a paid time off policy is a benefit for full-time employees, although some small businesses do offer less PTO to part-time employees. Your first order of business, then, is to determine who is eligible for PTO, and when. Some companies will only allow employees paid vacation time after they have worked for at least 90 days; others require a longer period of employment, up to six months or longer.  When developing your policy, specify a time period for the PTO, usually either a calendar year or employment anniversary. In other words, when does the “two weeks per year” begin and end?

In summary, then, your PTO policy must:

  1. Outline what types of PTO your company offers.
  2. Specify who qualifies for PTO.
  3. Specify when employees can begin earning PTO.
  4. Specify how much PTO an employee receives, and how it is earned.
  5. Specify any holidays that employees are paid for.
  6. Specify the number of sick and personal days an employee is allowed, if applicable.
  7. Specify the time period for PTO accrual and use.

Dispersing PTO

Once you determine who qualifies for PTO and how much they get, you need to outline the process for using the time. Among the points to include:

  1. How do employees request time off?
  2. How much notice is required?
  3. Which employees get priority for popular dates? If two employees request the same time off, what is the procedure?
  4. How many days or weeks can be taken off consecutively?
  5. Any requirements in terms of minimum amount of time taken.

Your paid time off policy also needs to address what happens to unused PTO. Some companies have a use-it-or-lose-it-policy (which is illegal in California), which could mean that any unused vacation time is forfeited at the end of the year. Others allow employees to roll over all or some of their unused time to the next year. Although California does not allow use-it-or-lose-it policies when it comes to PTO, they do allow companies to cap the amount of PTO an employee has earned.

This often comes into play when an employee leaves the company. In some states and jurisdictions, employers are required to pay out all PTO that an employee has earned when he or she leaves the company. This isn’t required in all states, but if your company is located where this law is in effect, an employee with an excessive amount of PTO saved up could be costly. Therefore, your policy needs to address how earned time is rolled over (if at all) but also what happens when one’s employment ends.

Mandating Time Off

Some companies have adopted use-it-or-lose it policies to encourage employees to actually take time off from work. Americans take the least amount of vacation days in the world, but research shows that taking time off is vital to productivity, creativity, and overall work-life balance.

Therefore, your paid time off policy should address requirements for using PTO. Consider requiring employees to take at least one week of vacation per year, and limiting the amount of time that can be rolled over to the next year to ensure that the PTO is used.

Following the Law

Finally, before communicating your PTO policy to employees, confirm that it complies with all local and state laws. Again, rules may vary, and you may be required to offer certain types of PTO or adhere to other guidelines. Keep in mind that remote workers are typically governed by the jurisdiction in which they are working, so you may need to adjust your policies according to other rules.

Some companies have taken their PTO policies to the extreme, offering unlimited vacation and sick time, paid sabbaticals, and even stipends to help cover the costs of vacations. If your company is in a position to offer these perks, don’t hesitate to include them in your policy. However, even if you just offer the standard two weeks and major holidays off with pay, you need a clear, detailed policy to ensure it is fair and effective.

If you need help developing and implementing a paid time off policy for your business, contact National PEO today.

Managing Small-Business Recruiting & Talent: What the Experts Say

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One of the primary functions of HR is to recruit, manage, and retain top talent. It’s also one of the most challenging functions that HR pros face on a daily basis.

As the world of HR evolves, understanding what employees need and want from your company can make a big difference in your recruiting efforts as well as reducing turnover rates. Thankfully, some of the biggest names in HR have a lot to say about these topics. As you think about your recruiting and management strategies going forward, consider what these experts have to say on the matter.

Stacy Zapar on Using Social Media for Recruiting

Social media has become a major aspect of many recruitment strategies. However, employer branding consultant Stacy Zapar notes that social media is not simply a tool for sending out job listings. She says that social media should be used to spark conversation and build a community around your brand. Content should be focused on sharing your company culture and the experience of working with you, and engaging potential candidates — not on getting as many resumes as possible.

Kathryn Minshew on Hiring During Growth Periods

Kathryn Minshew is the CEO of The Muse, a career advice website. The company, which is devoted to helping people find jobs they love, grew 4X in just one year, while still maintaining a very defined brand and company culture. Minshew acknowledges that such rapid growth could potentially alter the company culture or lead to poor hires, but based on her experience with The Muse, she has some solid guidance for companies that are hiring during growth periods. Most important, she says, is focusing on your company’s core values during the interview process, and hiring based on candidate’s alignment with those values in addition to their ability to match performance standards. Minshew also notes the importance of a great candidate experience, making interviewees feel welcome and giving them to opportunity to ask questions, while still adhering to a structured interview process that evaluated skills sets and culture fit.

Robin Schooling on Onboarding

Twenty-year HR veteran Robin Schooling, SPHR, believes that employee onboarding is vital to getting employees off to a great start and establishing the culture of an organization. Unfortunately, she argues, most companies treat onboarding as an event — where employees fill out paperwork and get the “lay of the land — rather than an ongoing process in which individuals from a number of different departments to provide a comprehensive overview of the company. In short, Schooling says, “ensuring new hires successfully adjust requires the input of more than just the HR staff. It does, indeed, take a village.” HR is undoubtedly important in terms of managing the compliance aspects of onboarding, but to really set employees up for success, the organization’s leaders, managers, and co-workers should also be involved in the process to provide a clear view of life at the company and help the newbies hit the ground running.

Suzanne Lucas on Reducing Staff Turnover

Suzanne Lucas is a 10-year veteran of corporate human resources, and better known as “Evil HR Lady” for her unflinchingly honest answers to the toughest HR questions. And when it comes to employee retention, she knows what works. Lucas says that the “best way to handle turnover is to reduce it,” and recommends that to do that, businesses need to not only hire the right people, but also train them well and give them a reason to stay. This including providing thorough ongoing training, including cross-training, to give your employees the confidence they need to do their jobs well, as confident employees are more likely to stay with a company. However, treating employees well is also important, Lucas notes. Paying them a fair wage, providing a competitive benefits package, and above all, treating employees will respect will go a long way to ensuring a happy and productive staff.

Marcus Buckingham on Talent Activation

Researcher and thought-leader Marcus Buckingham is well-known for his commitment to helping individuals cultivate their strengths for better performance. Buckingham believes that leaders should be focused on activating their employees’ talent: That is, turning their potential into performance. However, many of the current methods of employee motivation and engagement, most specifically feedback, are not ideal for improving employee performance. As he says, “Feedback is not the solution — team members don’t want feedback; they want attention. Goal alignment is also not the answer — aligning the employee’s goals with the company’s goals is important, but it’s not going to help people perform better week to week.” Instead, Buckingham recommends taking a coaching perspective, and helping employees work to their strengths rather than simply correcting errors.

For more insight and guidance into small-business HR solutions, be sure to check out National PEO and how they can help you manage employees efficiently, leaving you more time to grow your business.

Common HR Mistakes That Highlight the Need to Delegate

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Delegation is often a sticky subject for many small-business owners. You know you should do it; in fact, you probably have to do it in order to get anything done. But when your business is your baby, and you know the ins and outs of how to do certain things, it’s often more comfortable, if not necessarily easier or more productive, to do it yourself.

When it comes to HR, though, the instinct to DIY and keep everything on your desk can prove overwhelming, or in some cases, disastrous. Sure, you might save some money, but as some small-business owners have discovered, the time you’re spending on HR tasks is usually better spent elsewhere, such as on working on actual revenue-producing tasks. Never mind that in today’s complex employment environment, handling HR without expensive knowledge of laws and best practices could end up being a costly mistake.

For many businesses, the solution is as simple as contracting with an HR consulting firm to help. If you aren’t sure that you need to delegate tasks yet, consider some of these common mistakes that indicate that you need help — and fast.

Mistake #1: Your Hiring Is Disastrous

Often, small-business owners start building their teams by reaching out to their own networks and through referrals. This is often a great source of talent, but as your company grows, you are likely to find that you need more people with specialized skills — and you don’t have the skills required to really evaluate them.

Other common problems that pop up in hiring?

  • Making hasty hiring decisions because you need someone right away and don’t have time for a long process
  • Taking too long to make a decision and losing out on great talent
  • Receiving too many applications and feeling stymied by the process
  • Unintentionally biased recruiting and hiring
  • Inaccurate or incomplete job descriptions
  • Ineffective interviewing skills

In short, there are any number of ways that hiring can go wrong if you aren’t an expert in recruitment and human resources. By hiring an HR consulting firm to help you through the process, you can avoid most of those pitfalls and have a much higher success rate with new hires.

Mistake #2: Policies? What Policies?

Your business probably has a list of dos and don’ts, along with expectations as to how to handle specific situations and comply with applicable laws. Unless you have everything in writing, you could find yourself in trouble should you reprimand an employee for his or her behavior or actions on the job. At minimum, you need an employee handbook outlining your basic code of conduct, communications policies (especially in a BYOD environment), employment and termination guidelines, compensation plans and policies, and your nondiscrimination policy.

However, complete HR policies go beyond the basics. What happens, for instance, to unused vacation time? How do employees accrue vacation time? Or how do you handle discipline? These issues are important, and you need to have written documentation of where you stand. Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult to remain consistent, not to mention avoid trouble if you need to discipline or terminate an employee. If you don’t have clear, up-to-date policies, a PEO can help you develop them, and get up to speed.

Mistake #3: Training Is Nonexistent

Not providing adequate training for your employees is a fast track to disaster. Not only does a lack of training contribute to higher turnover, but it also can lead to issues with customer service, or even lawsuits when your employees aren’t prepared with even the most basic skills.

The problem is that many small businesses approach training as a “one and done” session when new employees are onboarded without any ongoing attention. And training is usually focused on specific tasks for the job itself, and doesn’t address other issues such as sexual harassment, emergency preparedness, or workplace violence, which are all important issues to address. By working with an HR firm, you can correct these deficiencies, and feel confident that your team is prepared to handle most situations appropriately.

Mistake #4: We’re Compliant… Right?

Compliance with employment laws is complex. Many small businesses don’t even realize they are out of compliance until it’s too late. From misclassifying employees to failing to follow OSHA rules for safety, small oversights can lead to big fines. When you work with an HR consulting firm like National PEO, you can be sure that you’re compliant with all applicable regulations.

These are just some of the mistakes that small businesses make when handling HR that can cost them big time. So, while a DIY approach might work for some things, when it comes to HR, it’s best to work with the professionals at an HR consulting firm. Click here to learn more about how National PEO can be your go-to source for all things human resources, and keep you out of hot water and running smoothly.

Avoid Legal Problems With Employees

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Many companies reserve risk management for outside sources like vendors and customers when detrimental lawsuits can be internal. Ignored and mishandled personnel issues that turn intolegalproblems litigations can become costly setbacks. Mitigate your firm’s risks while protecting your finances and reputation by adopting the following smart business practices.

Treat Your Staffers Respectfully

Disrespected crewmembers may seek legal revenge against your company if anyone deprives them of their dignity, humiliates them, or treats them poorly. In courts, juries tend to sympathize with mistreated workers.

Your firm could invite retribution by shaming personnel publicly for inferior performance, spreading staffers’ personal struggles, or enlisting armed guards to escort fired employees from your property. Managers who deal with everyone fairly and politely with equal respect can avoid lawsuits while boosting workforce morale.

Communicate With Personnel Openly

Adopt and maintain a gracious open-door policy. That will help supervisors discover employment concerns early, when they are easiest to resolve. Leaders who listen and inform staffers about job-related issues show that management values everyone’s opinions, a key component for positive workforce relations. Transparent practices and two-way dialogues will minimize the chances of misunderstandings turning into lawsuits.

Be Consistent

Staffers distrust superiors who play favorites or punish scapegoats. Workforce morale will plummet if crewmembers see that executives do not hold everyone to systematic rules. Discrimination complaints are successful when bosses treat employees in comparable situations differently. So apply uniform job performance and personal conduct standards to all team members at all levels.

Schedule Evaluations Regularly

Performance reviews can serve as early-warning signals, indicating impending employment problems. Ideally, they turn poor performers into valued workers. However, disgruntled staffers might claim evaluations constituted unfair treatment in lawsuits. So deliver unfavorable assessments to potential troublemakers before witnesses. Their objective perspectives may be beneficial if employees take legal actions.

Make Fair Decisions

Use job-related facts — not workers’ races/genders/private lives or personal biases — to guide all personnel decisions. Besides making economic sense, that habit will help managers avoid discrimination, wrongful termination, and privacy violation lawsuits.

Do not Discipline Messengers

Troubles may arise if you punish whistleblowers or employees who reported unsafe workplace conditions, discrimination, or harassment. Address underlying issues, not crewmembers who bring them to management’s attention.

legalproblems1Practice Discretion

Spreading rumors and gossiping about staffers’ problems are surefire ways to provoke them into involving the legal system. They may sue your firm for defamation, emotional distress, poisoning your well of prospective recruits, or your hostile work environment. Avoid such undesirable situations with protective measures such as sharing just the specific facts crucial to job performance at required times only.

Establish and Follow Sound Policies

Your employee handbook, an essential workplace tool, will convey key information to and manage crewmembers while protecting your company from lawsuits. All staffers should sign acknowledgements that they have read and understand your documented policies. After adopting regulations, following and enforcing them consistently is vital. Bend your rules, and personnel will quit taking them seriously. Even worse, workers can sue you for practices that differ from published directives.

An employee set a precedent by filing a breach of contract suit when his employer did not follow handbook compensation and benefit policies. The appeals court ruling proclaimed that the firm’s manual was an implied but binding employment agreement. A disclaimer stipulating that it was not a contract would have helped the proprietor prevail in the courtroom. In addition, a provision indicating that company procedures are subject to changes at the employer’s sole discretion could limit legal liability further.

National PEO can create a basic or custom employee handbook outlining your firm’s workforce regulations and guidelines. Our experts will coordinate with you and conduct research to include all applicable industry standards and mandatory compliance notices. Review your manual regularly to request updates as needed to stay current.

Keep Detailed Records

If workers sue your organization, you must recall and describe what transpired and prove why your account is the accurate one. That requires keeping vigilant, dated files on all major employee incidents and decisions including performance reviews, disciplinary warning forms, and firing reasons. Delaying record creation until staffers file internal complaints or lawsuits will harm your credibility. Instead, document events contemporaneously, which is around the times they occur.

Address Concerns Promptly

Once you become aware of employment problems, resist the impulse to ignore concerns until them go away. Take quick action, or minor issues can evolve into worse predicaments or expensive legal battles.

Is the Unlimited Vacation Trend Right for Your Company?

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The approaching summer vacation season should prompt you to review your paid time-off policy. Have you considered switching from traditional to unlimited downtime so personnel can unwind
and recharge? Successful examples show why and when this modern system works.

Case Study

Netflix employees began relishing as many extra vacation days as they wanted in 2004. The company granted them freedom to choose when to work, how long their responsibilities take to accomplish, and when to enjoy time away from their jobs. Since instituting that policy, the operation’s market cap has grown to exceed $51 billion.

While encouraging flexibility, Netflix also emphasizes accountability. Workers must communicate their schedules to their supervisors, who expect high performance. That principle is so central to Netflix’s culture that management rewards work that is just adequate with terminations that include generous severance packages.

Employees can take infinite vacation days because no superiors track their time. Rather than micromanaging how personnel fulfill their duties, leaders seek results — the only metric that matters. They discovered that increasing staffers’ autonomy makes them more responsible. Without the distractions of domineering rules, team members’ focus and production grew.

Upgrading Reasons

Back when Netflix offered a conventional vacation policy, staffers asked a key question: Since we do not keep track of our after-hours time like answering business emails from home, why maintain records of our days off from work? Management understood and addressed that question’s simple logic.

Basing pay on hours made sense for industrial-age employers when workers stood on assembly lines for fixed shifts. Thanks to convenient technological advances, many present-day employees perform job duties from anywhere they might be whenever needs arise. Such scenarios make off time an obsolete concept for modern talent.

Today’s participation economy measures and pays staffers according to their production. Yet we still cling to industrial-era practices of compensating personnel for how much time they spend at workplaces. Recognizing that as a massive de-motivator, Netflix changed its leave policy to match how crewmembers accomplish their work.

Brazilian Origins

Unlimited vacations did not begin at Netflix, even though it was among the first significant American organizations to embrace them. Semco, a Brazilian firm, has offered them quietly for over 30 years. Following serious health issues at age 21, the founder’s son realized that his grueling work schedule was killing him slowly. That meant other employees also were in danger.

unlimitedvacation1In a radical move, the firm eliminated traditional work shifts, vacation time, and sick days. Despite typical fears of output plummeting, talent became fiercely loyal and more productive. The company thrived as the staff did. Revamping its scheduling policy in 1981 helped Semco’s worth grow from $4 million to today’s $1 plus billion.

Global Comparison

In America’s workaholic society, employees receive fewer days off than those in all other countries besides South Korea. Five, 10, or 15 per year are common. Laws do not require U.S. organizations to provide annual paid vacations, but many other nations must follow such mandates. Brazilian personnel amass 30 days plus 11 holidays. United Kingdom workers can take 28 including holidays. Austrian, Danish, Finlander, French, Luxembourger, and Swedish staffers get 25 days.

Policy Incentives

Various firms defend their inflexible vacation plans by asserting that employees would exploit lenient methods. However, the 1 to 2 percent of U.S. companies trying limitless programs finds the reverse. Freedom strengthens workers’ ownership and answerability to the point that some workers do not take any time off at all. Therefore, some corporations switching to unrestricted time off also establish leisure incentive policies. Talent submitting travel expense receipts receive partial to full reimbursements. Evernote repays staffers $1,000. FullContact ups that stipend to $7,500.

Workaholic recruits may seem ideal, but exhausting schedules do not benefit your business or overworked personnel. Shrewd companies realize that recharging during downtime — particularly when empowered staffers can take leaves as needed — increases creativity and productivity upon returning. Your firm will save money by not paying departing employees for earned but unused vacation days, conserving funds to subsidize leisure getaways.

Modern Update

Sadly, most companies still reward their teams by an outdated assembly-line approach. When personnel work from wherever and whenever necessary to achieve results, updating your compensation and benefit programs to reflect that business concept makes sense. You may choose to count time off until you confirm this system is effective. If you worry that will create a recordkeeping nightmare, National PEO’s payroll administration services will track the vacation and sick days each employee uses.

Top Millennial Perk: Education Debt Relief Plans

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perkeducationMillennials born between the early 1980s and mid ’90s have amassed higher student loan obligations than all other generations. They also are becoming the chief workforce demographic. This means gym memberships, free snacks, and holiday parties aren’t enough to entice this talent group to accept jobs. These needy young adults are being very selective by looking for employers that offer education debt-relief plans, a growing benefit trend.

Financial Burdens Sway Priorities

Outstanding U.S. student loans have reached a staggering $1.3 trillion. Almost seven of every 10 alumni owe considerably high sums for earning recent college or trade school degrees. The 2015 graduating class alone racked up an average of $35,051 in education debts per person. Huge financial drains are causing current scholars to reconsider if academic credentials will help them land high-paying positions. Economic issues are influencing which majors they pursue.

Such overwhelming responsibilities force workers to choose between reimbursing scholastic loans and achieving other impending yet costly life milestones like marriage, home ownership, and families. Many millennial employees elect to pay down debts instead of saving for retirement that is roughly four decades off in the distant future. Due to high lender balances, younger personnel who participate in their employers’ 401(k) plans contribute low percentages that are too insufficient to provide for late-life workforce exits.

Saving in early adulthood is the best way to boost investment compounding and growth over time, improving staffers’ chances of accumulating enough money to retire. However, trying to compensate for not building wealth soon enough during their later years is challenging. Then, workers must contribute much larger percentages of their incomes while possibly also funding their own children’s expenses and/or elderly parents’ care.

Current Monetary Assistance

A study found that almost 80 percent of people who received educational advances prefer working for firms offering repayment assistance programs with matching opportunities. Of those, 49 percent favor school-loan contributions over company-sponsored 401(k) plans. Other research shows that half of recent graduates wish their employers would subsidize their college balances instead of health insurance or retirement.

Sadly, only 3 percent of enterprises offer scholastic loan repayment plans currently. Typical industries include technology, law, and medicine — all specialized fields that require lengthy and expensive schooling. Some benefits may help government workers and teachers. Luckily, forward-thinking companies are enacting creative programs to help struggling millennials and inspire future generations of business leaders to choose higher education.

perkeducation1Emerging Benefit Trend

When considering appropriate options to compensate their teams, perceptive firms offer help where young workers need it most: paying down student loans. Companies are devising various incentives. Some put $100 per month toward staffers’ college bills for as long as six years. Other outfits lure new hires with sizable contributions over preset intervals, following low monthly expenditures with balloon payments several years later. Both strategies ensure loyalty.

Group-sponsored programs that combine debt relief and retirement savings offer balanced approaches that can set workers up for more secure futures. Such win/win situations enable reducing loans while building up funds for their post-work periods. When staffers make school payments, their employers deposit pretax subsidies into their retirement plans — even for non-participating team members who are not eligible to receive matching contributions.

Company assistance possibilities include fixed dollar amounts, proportions of workers’ college loans, and percentages of staffers’ total compensations by payroll periods or at bi-weekly, monthly, or annual intervals. One industry expert doesn’t foresee student debt pay-down programs becoming as popular as 401(k) retirement plans, but he anticipates as many as 100,000 businesses offering options between 2021 and 2026.

Mutual Advantages

Today’s young job seekers want unique employment benefits that address their top financial issue. Firms hoping to interest, hire, and retain those millennials are embracing their education debt concerns. Company loan contributions are cost-effective recruitment tools that reinforce workforce knowledge, skills, innovation, productivity, loyalty, and satisfaction.

Your support could lessen millennials’ financial burdens so they can plan for futures goals. Benefits that shave off $10,000 of workers’ loans can shorten payoffs by as much as three years. The chances of saving enough money to buy homes or start families climb when carrying less student debts. Options that also pad their retirement accounts fulfill needs at both ends of the career spectrum. National PEO can simplify that additional benefit when administering your company’s Employee Assistance Programs. Complete our online form to request a group benefit quote.

Help Managers Improve Employees’ Bad Attitudes

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Negative mindsets and conduct can erode workplace morale, business goals, and revenue greatly over time. Bosses need proven strategies to rectify such potentially destructive attitudes. Fill out National PEO’s quick contact form online to request HR and management training for this tricky personnel concern. The following approaches can help supervisors handle such awkward situations better today.

Survey Staffers

Arrange an anonymous attitude survey to gain a clear understanding of your employees’ opinions. Crewmembers who might be unwilling to share their negative feelings and thoughts directly may be more open secretly. Gathering everyone’s viewpoints will send the message that your company cares about its personnel, which could help turn around gloomy spirits.

Identify Problems

Generally, negative workers do not make big blunders that stir up major troubles. Their production quality is frequently good, so bosses do not fault their performance often. That might make them hard to identify. Such employees share these incessant behaviors:

  • Complain about various things including exaggerated gravities of colleagues’ mistakes
  • Insult workmates to others and spread gossip
  • Initiate rumors that turn employees into rivals
  • Criticize managers sneakily, undermining their authority without them recognizing and correcting such actions often

To assess problem areas and the importance of addressing them, answer these key questions:

  • What adverse effects are staffers’ behaviors causing?
  • How do those habits affect their co-workers and/or reports?
  • In what ways do those actions vary from company-wide norms for all personnel?
  • Could following accepted conduct standards improve morale and output?

Guide Difficult Conversations

No one enjoys tough exchanges between bosses and negative employees, but delaying such encounters can worsen bad situations. In private one-on-one sessions with acidic staffers, managers should pursue these methods:

Acknowledge any awkwardness: Supervisors can admit that their comments may be difficult to hear and discuss.

Focus on results: Indicate that workers must address harsh realities to perform their jobs successfully.

Accentuate positives: Highlight good outcomes staffers can expect after changing disruptive behaviors. If they remain defiant, stress negative consequences of not upgrading their outlooks.

eebadattitudes1Be specific: Experts advise supervisors to tackle bad attitudes using specific facts — not general terms — about employee behavior problems. Stating that you don’t like workers’ dispositions so they should fix them is too vague. Instead, identify negative staffers’ actions. Present representative examples of past judgmental remarks for clarity. Declare that disparaging clients to associates is not helpful, for instance. It poisons other customer service reps’ moods.

Tolerate a little ranting: Calling out employees’ undesirable behaviors may make them defensive. So let them vent opposing opinions briefly. They may just need you to hear their interpretations. Then steer conversations back to correcting your concerns.

Use first-person plural pronouns: Approach struggles as challenges for all affected parties. “We have to fix our problem” helps staffers realize their behaviors’ importance without singling them out.

Restrict “you” usages: Dumping all responsibilities on employees will derail reciprocal communications. Directing constant attacks at “you,” like “You have the worst outlook” may provoke arguments. “We have an attitude issue to solve” is preferable.

Avoid “but” and “however”: Some bosses think opening compliments lighten bad news that follows. Employees will respond well to hearing that their work efforts are good. Tacking on “but …” alters that message enough to elicit anger. Substitute “and” for the dreaded “but” or “however” to help interchanges go more smoothly. Finish positive assessments with “… and we should consider how you could respect our clients more.”

Allow silence: Tense situations may tempt superiors to fill in uncomfortable conversation gaps. Instead, stay silent during lulls. That compels workers to speak. Managers can gather surprising amounts of information without asking questions if they just remain quiet.

Assign resolutions: Bosses should state clearly that they will not tolerate negative staffers’ troublesome actions. Announce your official company policy instructing all personnel to exhibit professional behaviors that strengthen conduct, performance, teamwork, and productivity. Explain suitable resolutions for all issues that are effective immediately. For instance, if comments about customers are not supportive, do not voice them. Supervisors demonstrating positive corrections show that they care, which may improve employees’ attitudes toward their bosses and workplace.

Inspire Positivity

Supply daily doses of positivity while minimizing negativity. Post bold banners celebrating success around your facility. During corporate meetings, praise those who have done great jobs so everyone will notice your firm’s appreciation of excellence. Optimism that overshadows pessimism will shrink that cancer damaging your workforce.

Top 2016 Workplace Trends

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From surveys to board meetings, organizational and workforce industry experts have pooled their resources and opinions to identify the top 2016 workplace trends. Subjects span from novel recruiting practices to innovative benefit strategies with more crucial employment aspects in the middle. Visit National PEO’s online Help Center to request information about any of our services that address the following issues and other related business needs.

Spotlighting Talent

Economic improvements, aggressive recruiting, and Internet resources like LinkedIn and Glassdoor are modifying employer/employee relationships. Gifted candidates claim greater advantage today. Hiding your team’s true culture from job applicants has become almost impossible. For sustainable business success, progressive firms recognize that hiring appropriate workers displaying suitable skills at the proper times and places is vital. Top executives will increase their direct involvement in this year’s talent management methods by engaging staffers for achievement.

Accessing Social Histories

Many firms are recruiting and researching potential employees on social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Being aware of legal risks and consequences of utilizing social media for employment concerns and decisions will be essential.

Promoting Diversity

More companies are realizing that diversifying their workforces is important, so they will concentrate on recruiting team members who value that practice. To create diversified crews, organization strategies might range from assessing job contenders’ dissimilar characteristics to rewarding employees who collaborate well among disparate groups during performance reviews.

Expanding Virtual Teams

If more staffers operate remotely, you may need to prioritize helping them manage their workloads and themselves. Another key concern could be determining how to sustain high productivity levels and personnel engagement with multiple teams operating at different locations.

Engaging Staffers

Numerous researchers are finding that employee engagement provides various benefits including higher chances of personnel exceeding management’s expectations, driving internal innovations, and helping colleagues. So companies will develop new and better ways to boost staffer interest and commitment.

Nurturing Upcoming Leaders

Forward-thinking firms invest in younger generations, their future leaders. As baby boomers leave the workforce, millennial and generation X employees hold the majority of jobs. Many less experienced staffers will start buying Cytotec online. Succession planning, training programs, and administrative development that solve skill shortages will be central 2016 themes. Investing more in middle management positions can help new supervisors excel at hiring, guiding, and motivating their teams properly.

workplacetrends1Reviewing Performance

Annual and semiannual worker performance reviews are dwindling as standard practices. Many enterprises are progressing to ongoing manager/employee conversations that encourage occupational development. In 2016, more organizations will move away from scheduled review and ranking methods to focus on continual improvement that fosters individual growth better.

Upgrading Technology

Dependence on automation and technology is rising. Therefore, your company may need to change how employees at various levels perform their jobs. Consider these questions. Will your industry’s future require different skills? How might that affect your recruiting and training approaches?

Empowering Crewmembers

Staffer self-service, intelligent scheduling, and mobile technologies will empower workers as they unburden managers. Special tools will help employees assume greater scheduling ownership, and smart technologies will enhance impartial recruiting support. As companies implement solutions to balance out productivity, fairness, and compliance, government scrutiny of personnel management innovations is likely to increase.

Ensuring Workers’ Rights

Government regulations affecting workers’ rights including minimum wage, overtime, paid time off, scheduling fairness, health care, and family leave will put extra compliance pressure on companies. Various technologies and tools will help all organization sizes juggle numerous city, state, and national regulations while ensuring that they treat employees fairly according to applicable laws and produce compliance reports that avoid penalties and fines.

Promoting Health and Wellness

Since studies correlate healthy employees with higher productivity, firms will fixate more on providing the right incentives and benefits to inspire positive staff behaviors. Improving physical and mental health at work and home will help businesses.

Making Unique Benefits Competitive

A talent-first tactic could lead to rethinking and retooling your benefit approaches for competitive advantages in the race for top contenders. Use perks to entice and retain a diverse, multigenerational labor force with unique benefits targeting different life stages. Younger staffers will appreciate educational loan repayment plans. Unrestricted paid time off will please hourly personnel. Anyone raising young families will welcome expanded parental leaves and childcare support. Medical coverage that helps middle-aged workers care for their aging parents will ease financial burdens. Everyone can gain from retirement assistance.

Update Your Compensation Policies to Equalize Wages

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compensationpoliciesPayment differences between the genders exemplify long-standing inequalities. Women receive just 79 cents per dollar in men’s paychecks, reports the Census Bureau. Per the Equal Pay Act (EPA), employers must give all women and men employed in the same workplaces equal wages for equivalent work. Job natures instead of titles determine if positions meet substantially equal criteria. More than 50 years after the EPA went into effect, firms still are striving to close the pay differential and end compensation discrimination.

Expert Recommendations

Audit your workforce wage practices to determine if women receive the same earnings and benefits as men holding corresponding jobs. To equalize salaries, laws forbid decreasing remunerations for either gender. That ruling applies to all compensation forms including income, overtime, holiday and vacation pay, bonus plans, benefits, life insurance, stock options, profit sharing, gasoline and/or cleaning allowances, hotel accommodations, and reimbursed travel expenses.

Modernize more than your compensation criteria by upgrading to National PEO’s convenient and accurate online payroll services. Our versatile web-based tools simplify and speed up onboarding new hires, attendance, payroll ledger reconciliations, and separations. Manage those records online, via email, or by phone from any location. Consider enacting the following suggestions from social scientists, policymakers, and impartial companies to overcome your organization’s gender pay gap.

Traditional Gender Roles

Women outpace men in academic degrees today. However, since society still views certain industries and professions as male or female domains, many jobs abide by historical pay structures. Discriminatory practices have segregated well-trained women into typically lower-paying health, education, administration, and literacy (HEAL) occupations. To break prejudicial barriers, others chose unconventional vocations. That narrowed the wage gap initially, but men shunning essential but traditional female jobs to pursue male-dominated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields hindered further progress. Reevaluating stereotypical gender roles could prompt future advances.

Negotiation Strategies

Men receive better pay partially because they are more apt to request it. Before accepting job offers, a study found that only about 12 percent of women negotiated more money, compared to around 51 percent of men. Other research showed that females seek greater amounts that are still 30 percent lower than their male counterparts. Since starting salaries influence raises and lifetime earnings, women in middle-paying positions who do not bargain upfront may forfeit up to $750,000 during their careers. That figure jumps up to $2 million for those in high-compensating jobs. Other investigations indicate that employers penalize females who barter while rewarding males.

compensationpolicies1Consider these varied solutions. Coach your female employees on negotiating skills. Inform personnel who set worker compensations about your firm’s disparity, and authorize them to advocate for women throughout pay talks. Alternatively, ban all wage bargaining and base nonnegotiable salaries on jobs and experience. That strategy tasks your company with paying impartially so candidates will not need to haggle to get fair earnings.

Previous Salary Irrelevance

Stopping the pattern of women losing millions during their careers due to low-balled job offers could involve ignoring former remuneration levels. Instigate this approach by basing earnings on what positions are worth. Direct hiring managers to discontinue relying on candidates and staffers’ prior incomes when setting their new ones. That practice deprives mothers who return to the workforce after breaks to raise families. Women’s earlier situations also have greater chances of inferior wages. To prevent previous discrimination from continuing, do not ask contenders for their salary histories.

Mothers’ Helpers

Research indicates that compensation for both genders’ first post-education jobs is similar. The pay gap becomes obvious after several years when women begin having children. Their earnings may lag due to shorter shifts, breaks to rear young kids, and/or extra time off when child care or health issues arise. Some employers assume incorrectly and thus unfairly that those events will occur. Policies that support working mothers including paid sick days, parental leaves, and affordable child care can help women have ongoing careers. Economists report that paid parental leaves raise probabilities of moms resuming jobs, increasing work hours, and receiving higher wages.

Workplace Flexibility

The largest pay gaps exist in the least accommodating occupations regarding work times and locations. Disparities shrink when staffers can choose their schedules or shifts and substitute for each other easily. Those practices do not penalize women who work fewer hours as much. Offering greater flexibility in traditional male roles could encourage fathers to balance parenting responsibilities better with their employed wives.