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Tuesday, 16 August 2022 09:24

Assessing Your General Liability Needs

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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?

No Cookie-Cutter Answers

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:

  • What type of business do you have?
  • How big is the business?
  • How many employees?
  • Where is your business physically located?
  • Who are your customers?
  • What level of training/experience do your employees possess?

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.

What’s the Average Policy Limit?

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.

Talk to a Licensed Agent

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.

Wednesday, 03 August 2022 15:52

Common Questions About Workers’ Comp Insurance

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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.

Workers’ Comp FAQ

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:

  • Injuries that an employee incurs after starting a fight with another employee.
  • Injuries that result because the employee was intoxicated in the workplace.
  • Injuries that an employee gets intentionally.

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.

More Questions About Workers’ Comp?

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.

Common Types of Insurance for Small and Mid-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.

Property Insurance

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.

Vehicle Insurance

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.

Learn More About Insurance Options

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.

Monday, 16 May 2022 11:47

Is General Liability Insurance Mandatory?

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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.

What is General Liability Insurance?

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.

Is General Liability Insurance Required By Law?

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:

  • In most states, real estate agents need general liability insurance in order to maintain their license. The same can be true for other professions that require professional licensure at the state level, such as accountancy and dentistry.
  • If a larger company hires you as their subcontractor, or to serve as the vendor for a large-scale project, you may be required to show proof of general liability coverage.
  • In some situations, you may need general liability coverage in order to apply for a lease, whether for commercial retail space or just office space.

Consider the Advantages of General Liability Insurance

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.

The Benefits of Workers’ Compensation Insurance

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.

Does Your Business Need Workers’ Comp Insurance?

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.

Friday, 25 March 2022 15:25

What is Rapid Hiring?

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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?

A Closer Look at Rapid Hiring

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.

Friday, 04 February 2022 13:18

Ensuring Equity in Benefits Communication

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One of the core responsibilities of HR is communicating with employees about their available benefits. HR teams should be consistent in spreading information about open enrollment as well as benefits utilization. Additionally, it’s important for HR to do everything possible to ensure that their communications reach all employees; that nobody is left in the dark or out of the loop.

Given that employees receive and process information differently, effective benefits communication has always been a challenge. Factor in the additional complications of remote/hybrid work environments, along with cultural or linguistic barriers, and equity can be difficult to achieve. Here are a few tips and strategies for HR to consider.

Tips for Ensuring Equity in Benefits Communication

Develop the Right Perspective

First things first: Make sure your HR and benefits teams are well-versed in the concept of implicit bias. A team training program is ideal. Invest in some professional development opportunities that allow your full HR department to gain a better understanding about effective information dissemination, learning styles, etc.

Take Stock

It may also be helpful to take stock of current/previous communication efforts, questioning whether there are any implicit biases or inappropriate “norms” in place. For example, do your communications regularly use outmoded language, or stock photos that lack diversity? These can all be subtle ways in which you make your communications less inclusive, and less inviting to particular parts of your workforce

Conduct Surveys

You can improve your communication efforts by learning more about the people you are communicating with. Regular pulse surveys may be useful here. Consider asking about whether multiple languages are spoken at homes, whether employees live with disabled family members… anything that can provide clarity about how best to conduct benefits communication.

Avoid “Headquarter Bias”

Be proactive about communicating with everyone, not just employees who work in the same building as you. This might mean making benefits communications all virtual, or it might mean going on “benefits tours” to different locations where your employees can assemble.

Involve IT

Work with the IT department to brainstorm different ways in which technology can expand your communication efforts. For example, automated email or text messaging programs may help you reach a larger audience within your organization. Have a joint meeting with IT, HR and your ASO support team or insurance brokers to collaborate on leveraging technology to improve communication, accuracy, and the next Open Enrollment.

Be Vigilant

Develop a routine of auditing all employee-facing communications for inclusivity. Even job applications should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure there is nothing about them that could exclude people.

Exercise Equity in Employee-Facing Communications

In communicating about workplace benefits, equity is key. With any questions about achieving this goal, reach out to the consultants at FullHR at any time.

Over the past several years, some of the world’s best-known companies have been hit by cyber-attacks. Yahoo, American Express, LinkedIn, Target… these are just a few examples of companies that have been breached by cyber assailants, compromising sensitive customer information like credit card and Social Security numbers. These attacks have been exorbitantly costly, not just in terms of legal fees and financial restitution, but also in a diminished public reputation.

Sadly, cyberattacks don’t just impact huge, multinational businesses. They also hit small companies. In fact, small businesses are uniquely vulnerable to cyber-attacks, with more than 90 percent of all hacking incidents involving smaller companies.

Costly cyber incidents have increased exponentially since 2020, for a simple reason: More and more employees now work from home, where cybersecurity measures tend to be pretty lax. It’s worth noting that an overwhelming percentage of small business cyber-attacks stem from simple employee errors; for example, employees opening emails from unknown senders, clicking on questionable links, or connecting to mysterious networks.

The Solution is Employee Training

Most small businesses can’t afford the massive expense associated with a cyber breach. The question is, what can be done to avoid it?

Given that most cyber-attacks hinge on employee behavior, the clear answer is training. Along with proper IT governance and network security, employee training is one of the most impactful ways to protect your small business from online assailants.

This training can encompass a number of subjects. It’s typically recommended that business leaders provide transparency about the company’s overall approach to cybersecurity. Additionally, IT needs to provide employees with training regarding the available cybersecurity and virus protection programs. These days, it’s pivotal to make these trainings available to remote employees, ensuring they know how to keep their devices and linked accounts safe even when working from home.

Additionally, employee training should cover basic user behaviors, including common errors that lead to cyber-attacks. Employees should be given information about spotting phishing emails, avoiding suspicious downloads, and practicing good browser policies in general. Tips on password security may also go a long way.

Finally, ensure employees know where they can turn (ideally to IT) if they ever have a specific question about an email, website, or link.

Protect Your Small Business from Cyber-Attacks

Ultimately, employee training is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to safeguard your business against online attacks. Make cybersecurity a core component of your employee development programming. And with any question about how to facilitate employee training, don’t hesitate to contact the team at FullHR.

Friday, 17 December 2021 12:44

Building a Virtual Onboarding Program

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Hiring new employees is always exciting… but of course, the hiring process is really just the beginning. Once your new hire is officially on the team, you’ll need to have a structured program in place to train your new employee, brief them on important company policies, educate them about perks and benefit options, and more. This process is commonly known as onboarding, and it’s one of the central responsibilities of HR.

As with everything else, onboarding as we know it has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These days, a lot of hires start work in a purely remote setting, which means that the onboarding process must happen virtually. This brings a few challenges, but with the right strategy, these challenges can be overcome.

What is Onboarding and Why Does it Matter?

First, a few basics. When we talk about onboarding, we’re talking about the process by which a new employee is integrated into the organization and acclimated to their new role as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

This process means welcoming the new employee, training the new employee, and providing the new employee with all the tools and resources they’ll need to succeed.

A good onboarding process is crucial, for many different reasons:

  • Onboarding helps new employees to become more productive at a faster rate.
  • A good onboarding process also facilitates relationships, helping the new hire become a part of the team.
  • Good onboarding processes help your employees to feel more confident in their work.
  • Good onboarding is associated with higher rates of employee engagement and employee retention.
  • Having a good onboarding program in place can also help your organization to attract top talent.

These are just a few of the reasons why it’s worth it to invest in a good, thoughtful onboarding program, even if it happens to be a virtual one.

How to Develop a Virtual Onboarding Program

So what’s involved with developing a sound virtual onboarding program?

1) Assess your current onboarding process.

Start by reviewing your current approach to onboarding. What are its strengths? What are its limitations? Why were the current processes put into place? And how does your onboarding process fit in with your organization’s mission, values, and goals? As you think about these questions, make sure you court feedback from some of your employees who have been through the onboarding process.

2) Choose the right tools.

For virtual onboarding, you’ll need to find the right online tools and resources. These include communication and collaboration tools, training platforms, and HR software suites. The FullHR team is here to help you navigate the choices, and to find a platform that fits with your onboarding needs.

3) Provide access to vital documents.

Always make sure that new employees can easily access your employee handbook, mission statement, and documents that detail benefits and other HR policies. An internal wiki or shared Drive can work just fine.

4) Provide opportunities for connection.

Virtual hangouts and happy hours can be ideal for fostering relationships with virtual employees. Make sure these are scheduled during normal work hours; don’t make new employees stick around at their computers at the end of a long day.

5) Monitor and measure.

Finally, make sure that you’re constantly taking stock of your onboarding program, using employee surveys and other forms of feedback to measure its effectiveness. Use this information to refine and refocus your onboarding program over time, as needed.

Get HR Solutions from FullHR

Questions about how to build an effective virtual onboarding program? We’re happy to help. Contact the team at FullHR at any time.

Thursday, 09 December 2021 09:37

Open Enrollment for a Hybrid Workforce

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Every open enrollment season brings its own unique challenges. This year, many HR teams will be managing benefits enrollment for a hybrid workforce, trying to accommodate the needs and expectations of in-office workers and remote-only employees alike.

The rise of the hybrid workforce was clearly the fruit of the global pandemic, yet for many businesses, it’s likely to become the new status quo. As such, it’s invaluable for HR professionals to develop a sound strategy for successfully rolling out open enrollment options.

Tips for Open Enrollment in a Hybrid Work Environment

A few guidelines include:

1) Provide plenty of time and education.

Because remote workers are not physically in the building to ask questions, to swing by HR’s office, or to attend in-person meetings, it may be wise to provide a little extra time for employees to study their options and to think about what’s best.

Additionally, try to provide more opportunities than usual for employees to seek answers or clarification. We would advise HR to ramp up their typical number of town halls and Q&A sessions, and to ensure that at least some of those sessions are held remotely.

2) Provide additional options.

As the needs of your workforce become more diverse and more complex, it makes sense to increase access to different carriers and plans, whenever possible.

Of course, this dovetails with our point about providing more time and education: The more options you lay out for your employees, the more opportunity they’ll need to research, study, and think.

3) Build on last year’s offerings.

Think back to how you handled open enrollment at the peak of COVID’s fall/winter surge. Many of the innovations or improvisations that served you well last year could be carry-overs into years to come.

For example, we’ve heard from many HR teams that held virtual benefits fairs, or that developed support apps to help employees navigate the open enrollment process. These are potentially lasting solutions that can help you accommodate the needs of your hybrid workforce.

4) Promote, promote, promote.

There are countless ways to keep the open enrollment process top-of-mind for your employees, and also to generate plenty of ongoing excitement and engagement. Topic-specific email blasts, podcasts, videos, and webinars can all be great ways to ensure that employees feel supported throughout their journey.

And make sure you don’t just limit your promotional activities to the open enrollment season. We highly recommend that HR teams continue promoting benefits engagement throughout the year.

Questions About Open Enrollment?

Do you have additional questions about navigating open enrollment in a hybrid work setting? We’re here to chat with you any time. Reach out to FullHR to ask about potential services and solutions.

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