The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) upended the personal insurance and employee benefits spaces. Today, the ACA provides innumerable options for individuals and families to obtain health coverage. It also creates regulatory hurdles for small business owners and HR teams.
To help you navigate these hurdles, ensuring the best coverage options for yourself, your family, or your entire team, Full HR is pleased to offer an ACA Open Enrollment Hotline. For now through December 15, we’ll have operators available each day from 8AM to 6PM, offering guidance through the various ACA and Medicare options that are available. We invite you to call us with your questions, or with any needs you have as you seek to navigate the plans available to you.
Our hotline is available for customers in the following states:
When you call, one of our health insurance sherpas will walk you through the enrollment process, helping you sign up for coverage with any and all major carriers. We’re here to help individuals get the medical insurance they need for their family, and also to equip HR teams to outline the best options for their employees.
Don’t let the complexities of the ACA Open Enrollment season keep you from securing affordable, effective coverage. Get the peace of mind you need by calling the FullHR insurance sherpas: Reach out at 866-225-1795!
Any time you start a business, you’re inevitably courting risk. This risk may come from lawsuits, worker’s comp claims, or other forms of liability. One of the most effective ways to manage your risk exposure is by investing in the right insurance coverage. The question is, what level of coverage do you really need?
The answer may depend a little bit on your industry, but more than that, it depends on the size of your company. Indeed, as you assess your business insurance needs, one of the best places to start is by taking stock of how many employees you have.
While there are no hard-and-fast rules here, there are a few basic size categories to consider.
A lot of companies start in basements, attics, living rooms, or garages. The typical home-based business has modest revenues, and seldom more than one additional employee.
Even home-based businesses benefit from proper insurance protection, however. It’s particularly important for home-based entrepreneurs to note that their regular homeowner’s policy does not protect them against all types of liability and loss. It’s vital to take out additional coverage that encompasses any business activity that happens within the home.
The small business designation is typically applied to companies with 50 employees or fewer. Meanwhile, the Small Business Administration highlights businesses that are organized for profit but not dominant within their field.
Small businesses require more robust insurance coverage than home-based businesses, including general liability as well as worker’s comp policies.
A medium-sized business is usually defined as having between 51 and 1,000 employees, and revenues of anywhere from $10 million to $1 billion.
Naturally, businesses in this category need more advanced insurance coverage, including property and liability policies.
At the enterprise level, it’s important to have insurance policies that can cover complex, multi-million-dollar risks. For businesses that reach this high level, we generally recommend working with a risk management specialist to determine the specific types of insurance that are best suited for addressing risk exposure.
Ready to learn more about custom insurance policies that fit your business’ size and scope? Our team is here to help. At FullHR, we’re happy to help our clients find right-sized insurance policies, whether that’s to meet the needs of a home-based business or a multi-million-dollar enterprise. Reach out to us to learn more.
It’s that time again, when many HR teams are ramping up for open enrollment season. To ensure your employees are taking full advantage of the benefits available to them, it’s important that they have a clear understanding of what those benefits are in the first place. It’s HR’s job to offer clear, consistent, and effective communication, guiding employees through the process for enrollment and persuading them that it’s valuable to do so.
Effective communication is harder than ever, particularly since so many companies still operate with remote or hybrid work policies. What this means is that simply placing a few flyers in the break room isn’t enough to reach everyone. Instead, HR needs to adopt a more robust, multi-channel communication strategy. Here are a few tips for doing so.
1) Communicate where your employees are.
Again, flyers in the break room won’t cut it if you have a significant number of employees who never actually visit the break room. Keep the flyers, by all means, but also make sure you’re providing open enrollment information across a range of digital platforms. In-house employee emails, the employee Web portal, text messages, and employee apps are all great places to communicate about open enrollment.
2) Tell employees what they want to hear.
Bear with us on this one. What we’re saying is, don’t be so laser-focused on what you think employees should know that you neglect to touch on the questions they’re asking, or the pain points they’ve expressed. Demonstrate that you’ve actually listened to employee feedback about the open enrollment process or about your benefits offerings in general, communicating with them about the things they’re most interested in.
3) Communicate early and often.
Keep in mind that most employees will need multiple “touch points” in order to make a confident decision about their benefits enrollment. Start rolling out information as early as you can and provide plenty of opportunities for follow-up.
4) See what works.
Go back to your data from last year’s open enrollment to see what worked and what didn’t, and be diligent in collecting fresh data points this year. Use surveys to gather direct employee feedback, but also keep an eye on things like email open metrics. These analytics can be potent tools for fine-tuning your communication efforts, ensuring each year builds on the last.
For a successful open enrollment season, robust and consistent communication is vital. Make sure you’re communicating as effectively as possible with your employees, using the guidelines we’ve outlined here. And with any questions about making this your best open enrollment season yet, reach out to FullHR directly.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
As for specific strategies to enhance workplace communication, consider just a few suggestions.
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.
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.
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.
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.