Summer vacation season will be here before you know it. While most of us look forward to escaping the daily grind for a week or two, homeowners know all too well that worry and anxiety can tarnish an otherwise peaceful trip. Certainly, it’s very normal for homeowners to worry about damage to their home while they are not there to protect it.
Some of the most common worries include burst pipes, leaky roofs, and overflowing gutters. Though less common, sewer backups can also happen, leading to extensive damage and to complicated homeowners insurance claims.
And even if you have robust coverage in place, you can save yourself lots of money and plenty of hassle by ensuring your home is properly protected against potential sewer backup problems. A few simple preventative steps can provide great peace of mind.
Just to clarify our terms, a sewer backup refers to any instance in which subsurface water comes back up through your sewage or drainage pipes, entering your home through the toiler, shower, or sink.
A number of factors can contribute to a sewer backup, including deteriorated pipes, tree roots clogging your pipes, or the improper disposal of items such as oil, grease, and toilet paper. Poor upkeep of your municipal sewer system may also be a culprit.
While some of these factors are outside your control, others can be averted through a few basic maintenance steps.
To minimize your risk, we recommend:
By following these few steps, homeowners can significantly reduce their risk of sewage problems while they’re out of town, allowing them to enjoy their vacation without having to worry too much about potential homeowners insurance claims.
Digital technology has enabled new channels for remote communication and collaboration, making it easier than ever for team members to get their work done without being in the same building together. But as with any new technology, the positives must be weighed in light of potential drawbacks and downsides. Case in point: While digital technology has empowered employee communication, it has simultaneously increased the risk of cyberbullying.
What is cyberbullying, exactly? Simply put, it’s any kind of threatening, intimidating, or harassing behavior that’s conducted via electronic messages and digital communication. It’s something we generally associate with high schoolers and other young Internet users, but actually, cyberbullying can be incredibly common in the workplace. And the more our employees shift to remote work, the greater their exposure to cyberbullying and its negative consequences. In fact, studies have shown that threatening or harassing behavior between employees is alarmingly common in work cultures that are hybrid or remote.
Leaders and managers have to be aware of this problem, and ready to take some proactive steps to address it.
There are a few things that leaders can do to protect their employees from cyberbullying.
It’s the leader’s job to ensure a safe work environment for all employees, and that means taking the threat of cyberbullying seriously. With any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team at FullHR.
Everyone knows what it’s like to experience stress in the workplace. It’s just a fact of life, and there’s nothing any employer can do to eradicate stress from their place of business altogether. With that said, it’s important to remember that stress is an obstacle to employee performance and productivity. And, when left unaddressed, it may even result in burnout, absenteeism, and beyond. As such, it’s prudent for employers and HR leaders to make smart, common-sense efforts to keep workplace stress in check.
The question, as ever, is how?
1) Emphasize engagement.
Studies consistently show that, when employees feel engaged with company leadership as well as with their coworkers, they are more likely to communicate about the things that are causing them anxiety. This, in turn, can result in lower levels of stress, or at least in greater resources to manage stress. Make sure your employees all have clarity about the mission of the company, and their role within it. And, provide plenty of avenues for employees to provide feedback or to raise concerns. Finally, try to be as transparent as possible with your employees, keeping them in the loop about the direction of the business.
2) Check in about mental health.
Develop a habit of regularly checking in with employees, asking them how they are doing and following up about anything that might be generating stress. Help your employees to feel seen, heard, and cared for, while also destigmatizing mental health discussions in the workplace. For employees who do voice concerns about stress or depression, be prepared to connect them with counseling referrals or other resources from HR.
3) Encourage activity.
Physical activity is an essential way to ward off stress. There are a number of ways you can encourage your employees to get up and get active: Provide subsidized gym memberships. Have walking meetings, or simply invite employees to join short walks during the lunch hour. Consider closing shop early one Friday to go for an outdoor walk together.
4) Provide tools.
Employees tend to feel stressed when they feel like they are not properly supported in their work. Use questionnaires or employee surveys to assess what tools or resources your employees need. Whenever possible, position them for success.
5) Provide autonomy.
Studies have also shown that, while employees need to be supported, they don’t like to feel micromanaged. Provide clarity about roles and expectations, and ensure you have structures for accountability in place, but also trust your employees to do the job you’ve hired them to do.
The right resources can help you minimize stress and promote productivity in your workplace. To learn more, connect with FullHR today.
Employers typically offer basic benefits packages to all full-time employees. Beyond these basic benefits, however, some companies allow their employees to opt in to some additional benefits, known as voluntary benefits. There are many examples, but some of the most common voluntary benefits include life insurance, gym memberships (or discounts), and vision or dental insurance.
Offering voluntary benefits can be a win-win, providing advantages to employer and employee alike. Consider some of the reasons why voluntary benefits can be so beneficial.
There are a number of ways to assess which voluntary benefits would be most useful for your employee base, but our recommendation is to go directly to your workers to ask them what they’d like to see. Employee surveys can be invaluable here.
Some types of voluntary benefits to consider include:
Ready to add voluntary benefits to your basic package? We’d love to walk you through some options, and to help you develop some ideas that will help you reach your HR goals. Reach out to FullHR whenever you’re ready to chat.
A well-run HR department can fulfill many different business needs: Ensuring compliance with labor laws, recruiting and onboarding new employees, managing compensation and benefits, and prioritizing employee engagement, as just a few examples. Most large enterprises have in-house HR teams that serve as a backbone for the entire organization, defining and sustaining the company’s culture and values.
For smaller businesses, the need for an HR department may seem a little more nebulous. While HR teams can undeniably add value, they also bring their own sets of expenses. For example, FullHR’s internal research shows that a senior-level HR professional may cost over $225,000 annually, once you factor in salary, benefits, and employer taxes. That’s a tall order for smaller companies working from modest budgets.
In determining whether your small business should develop its own in-house HR team, a good starting point is to define exactly what HR does. Ideally, a team of HR employees (or even a single HR generalist) could add value in a number of ways, including:
At the outset of a small business, the entrepreneur may handle all or most of these tasks on their own. As the company grows, however, it may make more sense to delegate some of these tasks to someone with an HR background, both to ensure these tasks are done with precision and to free the business owner’s time for strategy, vision, and other value-adding tasks.
So, when is it appropriate for the business owner to hand over the keys to the HR department? There’s no hard-and-fast rule here, but most HR professionals say that a company should have its own internal HR department once it passes 10 employees.
There may be merit to starting an HR team even sooner. This is true if the executive’s time is especially valuable, and if he or she needs to be putting in as much time as possible designing products or steering the company.
It may also make sense to launch an HR team as a way to invest in employee retention. Studies show that employees are quite a bit more likely to stay engaged with a company long-term if they feel like there’s someone at the organization who listens to them and takes their concerns seriously, something a good HR professional can do. To retain top talent, HR services can be critical.
There’s also a middle-ground between having an expensive HR team and simply having the business owner do everything… and that’s outsourcing HR as needed.
Outsourcing to an agency like FullHR can allow you to fulfill all of your core HR tasks as needed, and in a way that’s scalable and sustainable. Plus, it’s a more cost-effective model than paying salary-plus-benefits for an in-house HR specialist.
We’d love to tell you more. Reach out to FullHR to explore outsourced HR options for your small business.
Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health concerns have loomed large. Business leaders and HR directors have been increasingly attuned to the realities of depression, anxiety, and trauma, all of which can have a silent yet profound effect on employees.
The catch-22 of mental health in the workplace is that these issues plague many of us; and yet, there remains a reluctance to speak openly about these shared experiences. Indeed, for HR departments that wish to support their employees’ mental wellbeing, one of the big challenges is overcoming the pervasive sense of stigma.
The statistics paint a troubling picture: Many mental health disorders go unaddressed because people are just too ashamed to talk about them. As such, they suffer quietly, never talking with their employer or HR manager, let alone a qualified mental health professional.
Consider: The nonprofit organization Mental Health America recently conducted a survey in which two thirds of employees said their company’s leadership fails to speak clearly and candidly about mental health in the workplace. In the same survey, just over a third of employees said they would feel comfortable asking their manager or supervisor for a mental health accommodation.
The bottom line? Stigma looms large in the American workplace, and results in far too many mental health concerns going unaddressed. The question is, what can HR do about it?
There are actually some simple steps leaders can take to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health concerns.
One step is to make a casual check-in. As you talk with employees at meetings, daily huddles, or one-on-ones, don’t settle for idle small talk. Be intentional about asking if anyone has faced any workplace stress or anxiety lately. Gather feedback and create an environment in which employees feel comfortable talking frankly about their struggles. These conversations can be great starting points to express your concern, or to relate some of your own mental health challenges.
Simply put, talking openly about mental health struggles can normalize vulnerability and candor. It can slowly lead to more in-depth conversations. It’s also helpful when employees hear respected or senior-level employees discussing their mental health struggles, making it clear that these struggles don’t have to impact professional success or career advancement.
Finally, make sure there are resources available to employees who need them. Supply managers and supervisors with brochures, websites, phone numbers, or any other supportive materials they can offer to employees who articulate mental health hardships.
These are just a few of the ways in which HR teams can play an important role in breaking down stigma, and in creating workplaces that are more supportive of employees facing anxiety, depression, or trauma. With any additional questions, reach out to FullHR today.
Business owners and human resources departments should always be alert to news and happenings from the Department of Labor, especially when it involves potential penalties or fees levied over regulatory violations. As a case in point: The DOL recently announced a steep increase to its labor law posting penalties. What this means, in brief, is that employers who fail to post the required signage may face penalties as high as $38,000.
And that’s actually just the tip of the iceberg. The DOL can impose federal penalties, but there may also be state or municipal penalties for any employer that fails to provide employees with clear and up-to-date information about their employee rights.
Employers have long been expected to comply with labor laws concerning employee rights and information, putting up posters or signs in areas such as the employee break room, where all team members can read up on their government-backed rights.
What’s changed is simply the severity of the penalties that the DOL is levying. The new maximum penalties include:
Needless to say, these are some potentially crippling financial burdens, particularly over infringements that may seem relatively minor. Take it as a sign of just how serious the DOL is about keeping all employees well-informed about their rights.
There is a simple way to avoid incurring these penalties, and that’s to make sure you have the current labor law posters displayed with prominence. You might even send out an email to your team members, or mention at your next town hall meeting or huddle that there are new posters for employees to review.
Employers here in the State of North Carolina will want to attend to the posters highlighted above, but also a few additional posters that our state requires:
Finally, keep in mind that a good HR partner can help you maintain compliance and avoid even the barest risk of penalty. FullHR is diligent about sending updated posters to all of our full-service clients. To find out more, we welcome you to contact us directly.
It’s important for your company to have a workers’ comp program in place. With that said, developing a program is really just the first step. It’s equally important to communicate the specifics of that program to your employees, ensuring that everyone on your team understands how the program works and how it protects their interests.
Specifically, your employees need to know what steps to take if they become injured on the job. And, they need to know that the company will do right by them (assuming realistic expectations, of course).
You can’t just assume that everyone in the company understands what workers’ comp is, nor that they will intuit the particulars of your program. Instead, HR must be clear and consistent in its communication efforts.
There are a number of strategies that HR should consider here. A few suggestions:
It’s worth taking some time to develop a brochure, which can be made ready to all employees. This brochure should strike a positive tone, emphasizing that the workers’ comp program exists to take care of employees should they get hurt on the job. Communicate briefly about how the program works, and how employees can seek further information as needed.
2) Wallet Card
Brochures are helpful, but keep in mind that, if an employee does get injured on the job, they will likely forget much of what they learned from that brochure. A handy wallet card can keep key details within arm’s reach. Employee wallet cards should specify:
3) Phone Call
We also recommend making a phone call to any employee who is injured. This call should come from HR, or from a manager/supervisor with whom the employee has a positive relationship. The call can be brief, but should convey the following information:
4) Get-Well Card
To emphasize how much you care for the injured employee, send a simple get-well card. Try to have it signed by as many team members as possible.
5) Weekly Follow-Ups
Finally, make sure you stay in contact with the injured employee. Reach out on a weekly basis just to check in and see if there are any workers’ comp questions you can answer.
Communication is a critical component of HR’s job, particularly when it comes to worker’s comp. With any questions about developing the best workers’ comp strategies, reach out to FullHR today.
General liability insurance is one of the most effective tools for shielding your small business against unnecessary risk. To put it most succinctly, a general liability policy will protect your business against any claims of injury or physical harm that occur on your property. In addition, a general liability policy can sometimes help offset certain legal costs or medical expenses.
While we recommend general liability insurance for virtually all businesses, there’s one question that warrants closer consideration: Exactly what level of coverage does a business require?
The short answer: It all depends. All businesses are different, and all businesses encounter different hurdles and obstacles. You can’t predict every bump in the road that your business will experience, but you can still make a smart assessment of how much general liability coverage your company needs.
To take stock of your insurance needs, start by answering these questions about your company:
Answering these questions can be a good way to size up your business risk; and of course, the more risk you take on, the more general liability coverage you’ll want. With that said, it’s also important to keep in mind that businesses grow and change. As your business expands, evolves, or branches out, you may need an insurance policy with broader reach.
Just to provide a general rule of thumb, most small businesses have a general liability policy limit of at least $1 million, with some companies opting for coverage of $2 million or more. Again, all businesses are different, and there aren’t any cookie-cutter solutions. But if you’re unsure of how much coverage to invest in, this is the ballpark you should probably be in.
General liability insurance is an important way to protect your small business. If you’re underinsured, or don’t have any coverage at all, we invite you to call us. We’d love to walk you through policy options that fit your business’ specific needs. Reach out to FullHR at your next opportunity.
As you seek optimal insurance protection for your small business, it’s important to have a good working knowledge of how different policies work. In particular, small business owners should understand both the benefits and limitations of workers’ compensation insurance, and the relevant state laws.
At FullHR, we hear a number of common questions about workers’ comp. Here are a few of the most frequently asked, along with some brief answers.
What is workers’ comp?
Essentially, workers’ compensation insurance protects the business, along with their employees, in the event that an employee becomes sick or injured on the job.
What’s covered in a typical workers’ comp policy?
While the details may vary policy by policy, most workers’ compensation policies will cover medical expenses, lost wages, and ongoing care costs for any employee who is injured on the job or becomes ill as a direct result of their job. Additionally, many workers’ compensation policies will cover funeral expenses for employees who die as the result of a workplace injury. Finally, policies may cover legal expenses for employers who face litigation as a result of a workplace accident or injury.
What’s not covered in a typical workers’ comp policy?
Any time you get an insurance policy, it’s always a good idea to review the terms carefully, assessing what is and isn’t covered. Again, the specifics can vary by policy, but most workers’ comp policies will not cover:
What should an employee do after getting injured on the job?
Any employee who is injured in the workplace should immediately report it to their supervisor. The supervisor must then generate a report, including details such as the date and time of the accident or injury. Different states have different criteria for when injuries must be reported, but sooner is always better.
For job-related illnesses, it’s best to report as soon as an official diagnosis is obtained.
If an employee receives workers’ comp benefits, are they eligible for other types of benefits?
Employees who are receiving workers’ comp benefits are not automatically ineligible for things like Social Security, unemployment, and disability benefits. However, it is always best to check with the company’s HR or benefits team to ensure that workers’ comp claims will not adversely affect other forms of compensation.
Are companies required to have workers’ comp?
In most states, businesses with one or more employees are legally mandated to carry a workers’ comp policy. Texas is the one notable exception.
We’re always happy to answer questions that business owners have about their insurance provisions. Reach out to FullHR any time you’d like to talk about the specifics of workers’ compensation.
Any time you launch a business, you open yourself up to risk. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective ways for businesses to mitigate risk. One of the most important solutions is to shore up your insurance coverage.
This can prove easier said than done because all businesses are different, and insurance needs can vary. Rather than seek one-size-fits-all coverage, it’s important to speak with a broker who can guide you toward the most effective insurance solutions to address your business needs.
As you start thinking about different types of coverage, here are some of the most common policies for small and medium-sized businesses.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions (E&O) coverage, will protect your business against any claims that your product or service caused somebody harm. Professional liability will also protect you against claims that you injured someone through a mistake that you made, or through failing to perform a certain type of service.
Businesses almost always need property insurance, regardless of whether they own or lease their space. Property insurance can cover damage to things like signage, equipment, etc.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
If you have employees, then you probably want to consider worker’s comp insurance. These policies protect you in the event that a worker becomes injured on the job. Worker’s compensation insurance can help defray costs related to medical treatments, legal expenses, or even funeral expenses.
Home-Based Business Insurance
It’s increasingly common for entrepreneurs to set up shop in an attic, basement, or garage. If you run a business from your home, be aware that your work materials probably won’t be covered under your normal homeowners insurance policy. A home-based business insurance policy may be needed.
There are a couple of reasons why you may wish to invest in vehicle insurance for your business. One, it can be useful if you have employees who operate their personal vehicles for business activities. And two, it can provide protection for any company-owned vehicles that you have.
Business Interruption Insurance
During COVID-19, many businesses had to suspend their normal operations for a short time, resulting in lost revenues and productivity. Business interruption insurance can offer protections for such losses… not just due to pandemics, but also things like road closures, natural disasters, and more.
Product Liability Insurance
No matter how good your product is, there’s always a chance that it could cause some kind of unintentional damage to a consumer’s property, or even to their person. Product liability insurance can be an important protection.
What types of insurance do you need to verify that your company is adequately protected? The best way to find out is by speaking with an experienced broker. Feel free to contact our FullHR team whenever you’d like to chat about your company’s insurance needs.
As you consider insurance coverage for your small or mid-sized business, it’s important to be aware of which types of coverage are mandatory and which aren’t. At the same time, it’s vital to note that, even if you aren’t legally required to carry a certain type of policy, having more extensive coverage can nevertheless be a benefit to your company.
A good case in point is general liability insurance. In this post, we’ll define what this coverage is, and offer some guidelines on if and when it’s necessary.
General liability insurance protects your business in the event that a client or customer claims property damage or physical injury, specifically as the result of your product, service, or professional environment.
Without general liability insurance, your business may be on the hook to pay any damages, replacement costs, or medical expenses that customers incur as a result of your product or service.
General liability insurance provides businesses with an important safety net, allowing them to cover legal fees or settlements that result from a liability suit.
While general liability insurance is usually not required by law, there may be situations in which an accrediting body, lessor, client, or licensing board requires a certain level of coverage. Businesses should be aware of these situations.
Also be aware of some potential exceptions, scenarios in which the law actually does mandate general liability coverage. For example, there are some states in which general liability insurance is required for construction contractors and developers.
Some other situations in which general liability insurance may be necessary include:
Even if you’re not required by law or by an accrediting agency to have general liability coverage, doing so can be a signal to customers and partners alike that you are trustworthy and dependable. As such, it’s something that we recommend to a majority of our business clients.
Questions about general liability? We’re happy to chat. Reach out to FullHR at any time.
At any place of business, workers may become sick or injured, resulting in significant medical expenses as well as lost wages. Workers’ compensation insurance helps to cover these costs, making it beneficial for business owners and employees alike.
It’s not just that workers’ compensation insurance is beneficial; for a majority of small and medium-sized businesses, it’s actually required. While workers’ comp laws vary a bit from one state to the next, a majority of businesses are mandated to have workers’ compensation insurance in place from the moment they hire their first employee.
Even if your company isn’t mandated to have workers’ compensation insurance, it can nevertheless be a smart investment. There are a number of reasons for this:
Workers’ Comp Provides Financial Protection
Accidents can happen in any workplace; employees may develop medical conditions ranging from carpal tunnel to broken legs. Frankly, most small and mid-sized businesses don’t have the financial leeway to pay for medical expenses out of pocket, which means that even a minor accident can have devastating financial consequences. Workers’ compensation insurance provides an important safety net, and a layer of protection.
Workers’ Comp May Provide Legal Protection
This is something that can vary from state to state, but in most places a workers’ comp policy will include employer liability insurance. What this means is that the business is protected against employees filing a suit against them, specifically suits alleging negligence or unsafe work conditions. Again, a workers’ comp policy can shield the business from financial calamity, in many cases covering attorney fees, court costs, and more.
Workers’ Comp Often Involves Death Benefits
For businesses, nothing could be more tragic than an employee who dies on the job. Workers’ comp insurance provides a very small silver lining to this unthinkable outcome; most of the time, workers’ comp insurance offers death benefits, helping the deceased employee’s family to pay for funeral and burial expenses.
Currently, Texas and South Dakota are the only two states in which companies are never required to buy workers’ comp. Many states require companies to buy workers’ comp insurance the moment they hire an employee, while some states require workers’ comp insurance only after two or three employees are hired.
It’s worth checking the specific guidelines for your state, but also to keep in mind that workers’ comp insurance is highly beneficial, whether it’s mandatory or not. With any questions about affordable workers’ comp insurance for your small or medium-sized business, contact FullHR today.
The COVID-19 pandemic precipitated some major shifts in the labor market. Specifically, it seemed to trigger what many analysts have called the “Great Resignation,” which has left many companies with a labor shortage that continues to this day.
Naturally, business owners and HR experts have sought the best strategies to address the issue, and what many have found is that the “slow and steady” approach to hiring just isn’t going to cut it. Instead, many companies have shifted toward an innovative new method called rapid hiring.
But what is rapid hiring? And what advantages (and disadvantages) does it offer to your business?
Just as its name implies, rapid hiring is all about taking traditional hiring processes, condensing them, and onboarding employees ASAP. A Reuters report notes that Home Depot is using the process to increase hiring by 25 percent this spring. Their rapid hiring process involves job offers being made within a day of the initial application; previously, the entire process took about five days, on average, at Home Depots across the country.
So how do companies like Home Depot plan to streamline their hiring process so dramatically? A big part of the answer lies in AI. For example, AI programs allow applicants to apply, interview, and receive offers via a text-based interface, significantly shortening the recruitment process and also easing the HR burden on employers. These AI technologies are being used by major businesses like Home Depot, but can also be surprisingly accessible and affordable even for small and mid-sized companies.
While machine learning and AI are demonstrating remarkable results, there may also be some limitations. Indeed, even Home Depot is combining its tech-enhanced rapid hiring process with good-old-fashioned, in-person career days, among other methods of outreach.
Assessing Rapid Hiring
There’s no question that technology can play a significant role in helping get qualified applicants through the recruitment process in record time. Even so, our instinct is to say that Home Depot is right: There’s still a need for employers to be accessible to jobseekers who aren’t as clued-in to rapid hiring or text-based interviewing. And for HR, there is still a need to promote the company’s culture in a very visible way, allowing job seekers to have a better sense of what the business stands for and whether it’s a good fit for their skills and their values.
With all of that said, the sheer accessibility of rapid hiring technology could be a boon to overworked HR teams. It’s something we’ll keep an eye on here at FullHR. In the meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions about streamlining your own hiring and HR operations for the year to come.