Subscribe to this RSS feed
Tuesday, 29 August 2023 11:26

Setting the Right Workplace Safety Goals

Written by

Every company has a clear interest in creating a safe work environment for its employees. Safety is paramount for the health and wellbeing of your team members, for ongoing productivity, and for legal compliance. Of course, simply expressing a zeal for safety is not enough. It’s critical to go further, developing a robust plan to protect your workers from accidents and injury.

A good starting point is to establish the right workplace safety goals. While those goals may look a little different from one company to the next, there are a few steps that can help any company develop a sound paradigm for measuring workplace safety initiatives.

Tips for Setting the Right Workplace Safety Goals

Involve Stakeholders

First and foremost, it’s critical to solicit feedback from all stakeholders, including team members and managers. They’re the ones who are in the trenches each day, and they’re the ones who can provide insight into the biggest safety obstacles and barriers that they see.

Identify Specific Hazards

Your workplace safety goals will typically revolve around prevention and control of the most common risks that employees face. As such, it’s important to start with a clear sense of what those hazards are, whether eye strain, back injuries, or exposure to toxic materials. Use employee feedback, past injury data, walkthroughs, and audits to identify your biggest threats.

Align Safety with Mission

It’s also important to ensure that employees see a clear connection between safety and the company’s mission. Emphasize the ways in which achieving your safety goals helps your team develop the best product or service, create a healthy culture, aid customers, and serve the community.

Set SMART Goals

Consider the SMART framework for your workplace safety goals. That is, create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and bound by time. Here are some examples of SMART safety goals:

  • Conduct at least one workplace safety training session every two months.
  • Create safe work instructions for all workplace tasks by the end of Q2.
  • Close 80 percent of hazardous condition reports within 30 days of submission.

Create an Action Plan

Once you identify some goals, create a corresponding action plan to help you achieve those goals. Make sure you specify who is accountable for each step, and the deadline associated with those steps.

Evaluate and Revise Your Plans

Solicit feedback and check your progress regularly. Don’t hesitate to revise your workplace safety goals as needed, or to fine-tune your plans for achieving those goals.

Let’s Talk Safety

Ready to take the next step on workplace safety? We’d love to help. Reach out to the team at FullHR to schedule a consultation with us.

Wednesday, 12 July 2023 13:22

Tips for Taking Clear Car Accident Photos

Written by

One way in which HR can serve employees is by providing them with guidance on using their insurance benefits most effectively. For companies that offer auto insurance packages or discounts, this means instructing policyholders on what to do following an accident or a fender-bender, maximizing the success of a potential claim.

For those who are involved in accidents, one of the best ways to strengthen a claim is to take clear and accurate photos at the scene of the accident. Obviously, this assumes little to no injury. Safety always comes first, and the top priority should always be getting the right medical care for anyone who was hurt.

With that said, it’s always best to take a few cellphone photos of the accident scene whenever possible, including the damaged areas of both vehicles, plus the general surroundings (e.g., signs, medians, fences, anything else that might indicate the severity of the collision).

What follows are a few general guidelines for taking good, clear photos.

How to Take Accurate Photos at an Accident Scene

  • Capture the full scene. If you’re able to do so safely, make sure you get some images that capture the positions of both cars, as well as the conditions of the road where the accident took place.
  • Get the details. Try to capture as much detail as possible before any tow trucks come, including things like deployed airbags, scratches, dents, fluid leaks, and damaged tires.
  • Seek different angles. Get some up-close shots of the damage to your vehicle, then step back for a wider view. Always take time to ensure your images are clear, not blurry, before you move on.
  • Look beyond the vehicles. There may be some crucial evidence beyond the vehicles themselves, such as skid marks, road debris, or signs of hazardous weather. Capture these details in your photographs whenever possible.
  • Photograph the other driver’s info. Rather than writing down the other motorist’s driver’s license number and insurance info, why not just request to take snapshots of their respective cards, ensuring accuracy and clarity? Also try to photograph IDs of witnesses, should you need to contact them later in the claims process.
  • Document your injuries. Finally, if you have any scrapes or bruises, take some images of them. This can be a great way to preserve evidence of your injuries before they begin to heal up.

Accident Scene Photography is Crucial

Consider all the ways to empower your employees in benefits utilization, even when it comes to auto policies. With questions, don’t hesitate to contact FullHR directly.

It’s hard to overstate the impact of clear communication on employee engagement. By maintaining open lines of communication, employers and HR leaders can help employees to better understand their responsibilities, avoid costly errors, and enjoy a shared sense of purpose with other team members.

To put it differently, robust workplace communication helps employees to better understand what’s expected of them, and what role they play in furthering the company’s mission. And, it helps employees to have a clearer sense of connection with their colleagues and supervisors. All of these effects are closely linked with strong employee engagement.

What Does Effective Employee Communication Look Like?

Leaders constantly communicate verbally, during one-on-ones and team huddles, as well as in written form, whether via handbooks or employee emails. The question is, what are the hallmarks of clear, engagement-boosting communication?

There are a few essential traits:

  • Accuracy. Accurate information reduces misunderstandings, and eliminates the need for leaders to follow-up with corrections, which can undermine their authority. Always proofread written communications for typos, and fact-check to ensure the veracity of all information provided.
  • Brevity. It’s important to provide all pertinent details in as few words as possible. Remember that employees have many people competing for their attention, and seldom have the bandwidth for long or wordy emails. Bullet points can be essential for conveying information succinctly.
  • Openness. Simply saying that you value two-way communication is not enough. Organizations ultimately need to earn employee trust by creating a safe space for employees to ask questions or offer feedback.

Ways to Improve Communication

As for specific strategies to enhance workplace communication, consider just a few suggestions.

  • Be friendly. One of the simplest and most effective ways for leaders to improve their communication abilities is simply to take an active interest in their employees, investing more time in one-on-one interactions, check-ins, and efforts to actually remember what employees say.
  • Provide rationale. Another critical step is to provide the reasoning behind every task and project, even (or especially) mundane ones. Make sure employees see how everything is connected back to your organization’s mission.
  • Set expectations. One of the cornerstones of effective workplace communication is expectations setting. Be sure that employees know what’s expected on each project, offering clear and measurable business goals whenever possible.
  • Prioritize constructive feedback. Don’t wait for annual reviews to provide employees with feedback. Try to offer ongoing feedback on a regular basis, framing it positively (e.g., areas to grow or to get even better) rather than negatively (e.g., areas where you’re falling short).

These are just a few ways in which business leaders and HR teams can step up their communication game, ultimately boosting employee engagement. We’d love to tell you more, or to discuss broader strategies for improving employee engagement. Reach out to FullHR at your convenience.

When choosing a group health plan for your company, there are a number of factors that must be considered. After all, insurance can be complicated, and this is a high-stakes decision. Choosing the right plan will not only prove financially advantageous, but it can help attract and retain top talents, as well. By contrast, the wrong plan can prove not only costly, but ineffective at improving your employee experience.

As a leading employee benefits brokerage, FullHR offers a range of options, and one that we want to highlight is our group health plan that offers a $0 deductible. In other words, this insurance plan means that employee coverage can kick in right away, with no requirement to meet a certain threshold first.

The Benefits of Choosing a $0 Deductible Group Health Plan

There are a number of benefits to choosing this plan, including:

1) It’s easier to understand.

Those of us who work in insurance are used to dealing with the technicalities of premiums and deductibles all day long. For folks who just want to know how much they’ll owe for their medical needs, thinking about deductibles can be confusing or frustrating. The $0 deductible plan provides a simple and consistent copay instead of a deductible, providing an ease of use that many employees will prefer.

2) Employees can enjoy coverage right away.

When faced with major medical needs, employees like to know that they’ll be covered by their insurance company. That’s not always the case when you’re dealing with a deductible, but thankfully, this plan allows coverage to kick in right away. Employees don’t have to worry about hitting a certain dollar amount before their insurance actually becomes useful to them.

3) It can help with employee retention.

Simply put, having a useful, easy-to-understand group health plan helps demonstrate value… and thus, it helps demonstrate the extent to which you care about your employees. As such, a good group health plan can be an invaluable way to retain top talents.

Is This the Right Plan for Your Company?

For companies with between five and 200 employees, this no-deductible plan can be a uniquely effective option. We’d love to tell you more. Reach out to FullHR with any questions or concerns.

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.

What is a Sewer Backup?

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.

How to Prevent Sewer Backups

To minimize your risk, we recommend:

  • Make sure that you only flush toilet paper, no other toiletry items. Sanitary products, for example, do not belong in the toilet!
  • Monitor your tree growth and call in a professional if you think a tree root might be getting too close to your sewer lines.
  • Avoid planting any new trees or bushes close to your sewer and drainage pipes.
  • Never put grease, fat, or oil down the drain, including your garbage disposal. Allow these items to congeal, then toss into the trash.
  • Line or replace any old piping.
  • Make sure you have proper exterior cleanouts and drains.
  • Hire a professional plumbing company to inspect your drains once every year or so, and to make any recommendations regarding drain cleanings.

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.

Friday, 24 March 2023 11:21

How to Protect Employees from Cyberbullying

Written by

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.

Minimizing the Risk of Cyberbullying

There are a few things that leaders can do to protect their employees from cyberbullying.

  • Develop clear policies. A good place to start is by carefully defining what cyberbullying is. Use your employee handbook to provide clarity about how your company defines things like harassment and bullying, making it clear that these definitions extend to online messaging, not just face-to-face interaction.
  • Set the expectations. It’s also important to emphasize to your employees that, when it comes to bullying, your company has a zero-tolerance policy. As you update your written policies and procedures, send out a company-wide email to outline expectations.
  • Educate employees. When employees understand what cyberbullying is, they are more likely to report it. Make sure your team members can recognize the most common types of cyberbullying: Humiliating emails or public posts, the outing of sensitive information, impersonation of a leader/manager, and intimidating text messages. Also make sure employees know the appropriate avenue for reporting these behaviors.
  • Check in with employees. If an employee provides a confidential report regarding cyberbullying, it’s important to circle back with them, not only to let them know their concern is being investigated but also to assess the effect of cyberbullying on their mental health. Often, simply taking the time to ask employees how they are doing can go a long way.

Ensure Safe Work Spaces

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.

Wednesday, 15 February 2023 08:28

How to Reduce Workplace-Based Stress

Written by

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?

Tips for Reducing Workplace Stress

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.

Seek HR Solutions for Your Workplace

The right resources can help you minimize stress and promote productivity in your workplace. To learn more, connect with FullHR today.

Monday, 16 January 2023 10:22

What are Voluntary Benefits?

Written by

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.

Why Offer Voluntary Benefits?

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.

  • Voluntary benefits demonstrate a commitment to workplace wellness. Even if some employees choose not to volunteer for, say, a discounted gym membership, offering it is one way to make good on your promise of a health-conscious company culture. And when employees do opt in, they tend to be healthier, happier, and more energetic in the workplace.
  • Voluntary benefits can increase job satisfaction. Offering voluntary benefits is an important way to show employees that you value them, which can in turn increase employee loyalty. Certainly, offering benefits like financial counseling or gym memberships demonstrates a holistic view of the employee; it shows that you really see them as people, not just corporate assets.
  • Voluntary benefits can help you attract top talent. Looking for a competitive edge in the labor market? Provide optional benefits that can help employees bridge insurance gaps, meet personal and professional goals, or reduce their level of stress. Such benefits can really help make your company stand apart.
  • Voluntary benefits make financial sense. It’s typical for employees to pay for their voluntary benefits, either in part or in full, which means a manageable financial burden for the employer. But because they are paid for with pre-tax income, it also yields financial savings for employees. Again, voluntary benefits can be structured as real win-wins!

What Types of Voluntary Benefits Should Your Company Offer?

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:

  • Life insurance
  • Critical illness insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Pet insurance
  • Identity theft protection
  • Financial counseling
  • Gym memberships

Get Started with a Voluntary Benefits Offering

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.

Friday, 02 December 2022 14:59

Does Your Small Business Need an HR Department?

Written by

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.

What Does HR Actually Do?

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:

  • Ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal labor laws, potentially shielding the business from major penalties or lawsuits.
  • Building a robust team through effective recruitment, hiring, and onboarding policies.
  • Supporting the professional development of all team members.
  • Managing compensation, benefits, and payroll.
  • Handling performance reviews.
  • Writing and updating the employee handbook.
  • Working to build a strong, positive company culture.

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.

When is it Time to Delegate HR?

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.

Another Way: Outsourced HR

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.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022 10:05

Reducing Stigma Surrounding Workers’ Mental Health

Written by

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 Stigma Surrounding Mental Health Concerns

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?

Emphasizing Approachability

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.

Page 1 of 3