Small business owners who want the highest level of workforce management need an advanced employee time clock. If you’re still using older tech, you’re missing out on new features that help small businesses manage more efficiently, meet new challenges, and get back to work faster.
As small businesses bring employees back to the worksite, employers are addressing new challenges that require intelligent solutions. Let’s look at a few of the challenges employers are facing…
With more employees on site, punch lines are beginning to slow. Employers are looking for new ways to speed punch lines and better manage employee authentication.
Traditional methods of authentication such as fobs or cards are easy to lose, and employees regularly forget passcodes or PINs. Punch problems can slow the process of starting work which reduces productivity.
Biometric fingerprint scanners have filled an important niche in convenient and secure punching. However, in some industries, worn fingerprints fail to register and disrupt the clock-in line. Employers in many industries are looking for solutions that can speed up punchlines, increase security and get employees to their work stations without reliance on fingerprint technology.
Most employers with hourly workers pay more for labor due to hours theft. Unfortunately, many basic time clocks offer only a partial solution to prevent buddy punching and timecard fraud.
To complicate the issue, employers with conventional clocks don’t often have insight into labor allocation because they can’t tie employee time to jobs or clients. Furthermore, most traditional clock solutions can’t capture data at clock-in such as job location or wellness information.
Ease of use is another issue that sets advanced time clocks apart. Traditional punch solutions can be confusing for employees or are difficult to manage.
New concern for workforce health has increased adoption of employee wellness strategies.
Small businesses are working to ensure employees that wellness is a priority, and that the office is a safe place to work.
An effective strategy to ensure employee wellness is thermal scanning at punch in. Our new Vision+ clock features intelligent thermal scanning to ensure employees are healthy and ready for work.
Finally, synchronization with timekeeping software is essential for advanced workforce management. Without a real-time connection to your software solution, you simply aren’t able to take advantage of time and money-saving features that are inherent in modern timekeeping.
Business owners using traditional punch solutions, or none at all, lose productivity every day.
Enter facial recognition and thermal scanning; the future of secure biometric time tracking. Facial recognition provides a fast, secure method of authentication that doesn’t need to be kept in a pocket or remembered.
Facial recognition solves new challenges as employees come back to work. It also helps employers prevent more types of time theft than with fingerprint, prox card or PIN clocks.
Our new Vision+ clock features intelligent thermal scanning to ensure employees are healthy and ready for work.
Small businesses like yours can solve these problems and more with our all-new Vision and Vision+ facial recognition time clock hardware.
With faster processing, higher security and full integration with our time and attendance software, Vision offers an intelligent solution for modern timekeeping.
A faster processor means shorter shift changes. With Vision, facial recognition is nearly instant, and authentication takes less than a second. This ensures employees can start their shift without taking extra time at the clock.
Vision features advanced security so that employee biometric data is encrypted and unshareable.
It also has built-in biometric consent so that employers can comply with new laws requiring employee consent to use biometric data. Compliance with biometric consent laws is already required in California, Texas and a growing number of additional states.
Facial recognition provides additional security to help you avoid buddy punching and other forms of time theft.
Vision requires only a face to authenticate so there is no need to carry a fob or card, and no need to remember PINs or passwords.
It also works in environments that are tough on fingerprints. Industries like hospitality, construction and manufacturing are notoriously hard on fingerprints, yet these environments are most in need of fast and accurate biometric authentication. With Vision, no fingerprints are needed, and say goodbye to cards, fobs and PINs.
In addition, Vision works in low-light environments, and is portable when using battery backup for remote offsite clocking.
Of course, Vision will accept PIN authentication where facial recognition is difficult.
Vision allows you to create custom clock prompts to engage employees at punch in. Clock prompts can deliver notifications to an entire shift. Many employers are using the prompts to screen employees for symptoms of illness. This reminds employees to be mindful of their health and its impact on the workplace.
INTELLIGENT CLOCK FEATURES ELIMINATE ERRORS
The Vision time clock helps prevent punch errors by only presenting logical clocking options based on the current state of each employee. Employees who have yet to clock in will only see clock in options. Employees who have clocked in will only see options for meals, breaks or clocking out.
With intelligent clock options, employees are less likely to make punch errors that lead to payroll mistakes.
With biometric consent, intelligent clock features, and full integration to our time and attendance software, Vision provides the ultimate in compliance. Employers can use clock prompts to ensure the proper classification is assigned to each employee on punch, and time and attendance records are updated in real time.
Vision Plus features thermal scanning to help ensure that employees are healthy by scanning their temperature as they clock in. This feature is particularly helpful in a post-COVID environment where employers are looking for additional assurances that workers are well, and to help foster confidence among employees that wellness is a priority.
Timekeeping has a profound effect on labor costs, operational efficiency and payroll accuracy. With hardware integration to our Vision clock, timekeeping becomes an intelligent process that automates workflows, increases security, promotes wellness and saves you time and money.
Let’s look at some numbers:
$7.4 billion is lost per day to unrecorded work activities.
As a whole, small businesses are losing a lot of money to unrecorded work activities. This includes rounding up in favor of employees, early punch in, and time theft. Our time and attendance solution and Vision clock hardware provides real-time accuracy, schedule enforcement and biometric assurance that time is allocated to the right person. Our intelligent timekeeping records everything and even offers notifications to alert you when employees record information outside of your parameters.
Time theft can add as much as 7% to your gross annual payroll.
Buddy punching, early punch in, and unrecorded breaks are costing you more than you know. Our Vision clock makes buddy punching impossible. Lockout features in our timekeeping software prevent employees from punching in earlier than you specify to reduce unplanned overtime, and our intelligent clock features reduce missed punches and other punch errors.
Automated time tracking can reduce the time it takes to calculate timecards from 7 minutes per card per pay period to 1 minute per card per pay period.
Manual timecard management is error-prone and a real time-killer. The American Payroll Association estimates that it takes a minimum of 15 minutes to discover, track down and fix a timecard error. That ads up fast considering errors are common in most hand-calculated processes. Our Vision clock automatically records all your punch data and stores it in our timekeeping software. All the calculations are done automatically, and delivered straight to payroll without any opportunity for human error. You’ll save time and effort every pay period.
Daily timesheet updates improve timekeeping accuracy.
With a manual process, employees who log their time at least once a day are 66% accurate, whereas those who log their time weekly are only 47% accurate, and people who complete their timesheet less than once a week are only 35% accurate!
Our new Vision clock helps you track time on a daily basis, including meals and breaks. This increases accuracy over traditional timekeeping and saves a significant amount of money in the long run.
The average cost of labor every time an employee fills out a timecard is $9.37. For a company with 100 employees, that’s $937 in employee time every pay period.
Our intelligent timekeeping software and new Vision clock bring a new level of speed and accuracy to time collection. Vision authenticates an employee’s identity in less than a second and automatically presents punch options that are relevant to the employee’s current state. That means employees can clock faster, and never have to manually record time, remember dates, or backfill a timecard.
Surveys indicate that up to 60% of employees are apprehensive about returning to the workplace.
Vision+ with thermal scanning can help employers track wellness and ensure that the workplace is healthy. Employees feel better about accepting risk when they know their employer is concerned about wellness and has taken measures to help ensure a safe work environment. Vision+ can also help employers track and respond to employee wellness, helping them remain compliant with new laws including OSHA and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Small businesses can effectively manage their modern workforces with our new Vision and Vision+ biometric time clocks. The Vision facial recognition clock paired with our timekeeping solution solve critical time and attendance pain points while providing the highest level of workforce management.
Vision+ provides additional data that helps you establish wellness protocols and assure employees that their workplace is safe.
Every year, employees have a brief window in which they can sign up, cancel, or alter the terms of their existing health insurance policy. This is known as the open enrollment period, and at many companies it also provides employees with the opportunity to sign up for life insurance and other benefits.
One of the central responsibilities of HR is to communicate with employees about the open enrollment period. This means more than just making a perfunctory announcement. It also means properly educating employees about the benefits available and about how they can take advantage of them. And it means opening a dialogue to address any questions or concerns.
As your HR team contemplates different ways to communicate with employees, there are two main options to consider: Active vs. passive. Both options come with their own pros and cons, and deciding between the two is a crucial step in keeping your employees properly engaged in the benefits process.
With active enrollment communication, employees do not have the option of automatically continuing their benefits from the previous year; instead, they must actually review the options and make a decision about the plan they wish to have for the coming year (even if it does end up being identical to their plan from last year).
As you can imagine, this is an effective way to get employees more engaged in benefits selection, and to essentially force them to become educated about the different options. In years when there are a lot of major changes to the available benefits packages, active enrollment communication can be highly advantageous.
The biggest downside? There is a major onus on HR to properly communicate exactly what employees need to do to choose their benefits. And for employees, there may be steep consequences for not acting. For example, employees who do not enroll in a plan may have their coverage dropped altogether.
The primary pros of active enrollment communication:
Meanwhile, the biggest cons include:
With passive enrollment, employees are automatically re-enrolled in benefits based on selections they made in the past; this is the easier of the two options, and as such, it’s quite a bit more common than active enrollment communication.
The benefits are mostly pretty obvious: There is a much lighter administrative burden. Employees will not lose their benefits simply by failing to act or by forgetting to re-enroll. It’s more convenient for everyone involved.
However, there can also be some drawbacks. For example, as this is the only time during the year when coverage for many benefit options may be changed, it is incumbent on the employee to reach out and request assistance to assure changes occur during the window of opportunity, employees may not make fully informed decisions about the different benefits available. They may not take full advantage of the options available to them, which in turn can decrease their own satisfaction, engagement, and not utilize this essential protection for themselves and their family.
Also, because employees tend to be less informed about their benefits, many companies see more health problems among their workforce, more sick days, etc. This employee decision may result in higher employer Worker’s Compensation Insurance claims as employees find themselves without group benefits coverage as they wait to enroll in the next enrollment year.
There is no question that passive enrollment communication is the easier approach, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best. Active enrollment may result in a more engaged and informed workforce, and in better benefits utilization overall. As you weigh these options, we would love to offer our insight. Contact your licensed FullHR professionals to learn more.
Outsourcing time-intensive human resources functions can relieve some of the burden on your HR team, providing them with greater flexibility to engage employees, build culture, and add value to the organization.
But outsourced HR services aren’t only a way to save time. They can also generate considerable cost savings for your business. Indeed, rather than thinking about outsourced HR as an expense, it may make more sense to think of it as an investment.
Consider just a few of the ways in which outsourcing HR can generate cost savings for your business.
One of the most common examples of cost-saving HR outsourcing is the use of specialized payroll processors. Outsourcing your payroll can help you avoid errors like employee misclassification. Such errors are fairly common and easy to make, and can generate significant financial penalties for your company. By outsourcing to a specialist, you can steer clear of these errors and comparable payroll-related pitfalls.
Another way in which outsourcing your HR services can help you save money? Reduction of employee turnover.
Consider that, while there are many reasons for employees to leave a company, many of the most common reasons pertain to HR functions. For instance, employees may become dissatisfied with a poorly designed benefits package, with a perceived lack of managerial support, or with a general lack of appreciation for their role within the company.
By outsourcing key HR services, you can both ensure a smarter benefits package and create more opportunities for your in-house HR team to engage the employee base, or to intentionally foster positive company cultures.
And when you reduce employee turnover, you also reduce the expenses that come with new employee salaries, onboarding, and disruptions to your production schedule.
The flipside to this is that partnering with an HR company like FullHR can help improve employee engagement. Simply put, your employees will be more invested in the company if they feel like they are well-supported via generous benefits packages. And, by outsourcing administrative tasks, you can free your current HR team to devote more one-on-one attention to employees who need it.
Statistics show that employee engagement is directly linked to productivity, creativity, and profitability. Thus, by ensuring a more engaged workforce, you can also have a sizable impact on the bottom line.
These are just a few examples of how outsourcing HR functions can lead to cost savings. Take note of a recent report from the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), which finds that the annual ROI of partnering with a PEO can include:
If you’re ready to learn more about the practical and financial advantages of outsourced HR services, we’d love to tell you more about FullHR’s integrative solutions. Reach out whenever you’re ready to chat.
Being a small business owner can be immensely rewarding, bringing new levels of autonomy and independence. Indeed, it can be satisfying personally as well as professionally to set your own agenda and implement your own vision.
The problem, of course, is that doing so requires you to be all things to all people, juggling countless departments or business operations all on your own. It is simply impossible for business owners to do it all, which is why outsourcing essential departments often makes the most sense.
HR management is one of the top areas for business owners to consider as they think about if, what, and when to outsource. Consider just a few of the benefits your small business might achieve simply by choosing to outsource your HR operations.
If you don’t have your own dedicated HR department, then someone else on your staff will need to handle things like payroll and benefits administration.
But of course, you didn’t hire your sales reps or your creative personnel to handle HR. You hired them for a completely different focus. Likewise, you have plenty of ways in which you could be leading your team, providing value to customers, or strategizing for your business… but if you’re deep in the weeds of HR, you may have precious little time left over.
Outsourcing is a great way to hand over all of these HR duties to a team of support professionals, freeing you and your staff to focus on your core competencies.
If you keep HR in-house, you’ll have some limitations on the perks and services you can offer to your employees. But if you choose to outsource, you may find a lot of new options available to you. After all, HR professionals who work with multiple clients often have access to superior pricing, advanced technologies, and services you would not be able to access on your own.
The bottom line: Outsourcing may allow you to provide new hires and current employees alike with a much sweeter benefits package, or simply a more seamless HR experience.
In turn, when your employees see that you care enough to invest in an improved HR experience, it can boost their morale and their positivity about the workplace.
And, as studies have shown, happier employees are often more productive. They are more collaborative. And they are more loyal to their employers. In essence, an investment in HR management services is an investment in your team, and it can pay off huge dividends.
Finally, note that outsourcing your HR management services can be a cost-effective solution.
Rather than paying a salary and benefits for an HR generalist, or an entire HR department, you can simply pay for the services you need to serve your employees and keep your company running smoothly. And as your business grows, you can easily tweak your HR spending.
There are plenty of benefits to outsourcing your HR operations. And at FullHR, we want to help you realize those benefits. That is why we are proud to offer an integrated process that saves you time and money, all while ensuring your basic HR functions are taken care of. Our integrated process includes:
To learn more about FullHR’s integrated approach, and the benefits it can offer your small business, we invite you to contact us today.
According to medical experts, a mild case of COVID-19 may last anywhere from 10 days to two full weeks, after which time symptoms should subside. Of course, this is a generalization. Tragically, severe cases of COVID end not in relief but in death. And then there are the COVID long-haulers… patients whose symptoms prove to be not acute but chronic, lasting for several weeks or even numerous months.
Given how new COVID really is, there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. Researchers have not determined exactly why the symptoms can be so long-lasting for certain patients. What we do know is that many employees will need to return to the workplace before they have fully recovered from the achiness, fatigue, grogginess, and other symptoms that accompany their COVID diagnosis.
HR teams should be prepared to help COVID long-haulers ease back into the workforce. The question is how.
First, it’s important to have a clear grasp of just how common the COVID long-hauler problem is, and the ways it can impact your workforce.
While we don’t yet have any definitive numbers showing us how many patients experience chronic symptoms, some early studies of the Chinese workforce suggest that as many as a quarter of all COVID cases can last for six months or more.
As for the specific symptoms associated with chronic COVID, initial research points to extreme fatigue, digestive problems, an erratic heartache, cognitive difficulties, dizziness, and headaches.
Quite reasonably, many COVID long-haulers have asked their employers to make some special accommodations, allowing them to resume work even as they continue to manage these unpleasant symptoms. So, what accommodations can actually be made?
One of the most obvious examples is to eliminate the commute. Even if a majority of your workforce is returning to the office, consider making work-from-home an indefinite option. For those who are battling dizziness or simply who get tired easily, eliminating long commutes can make a world of difference.
Flexibility for work breaks is also important. Many COVID long-haulers have found it beneficial to work longer days in exchange for more substantial breaks throughout their daily schedule, allowing them some time to recharge their batteries and stave off the energy crash that can come from long, uninterrupted hours of work.
You can also be open to the idea of part-time arrangements with employees who request them. For example, what if an employee who’s tending to chronic ailments asks to reduce their hours by 30 percent, adjusting their pay accordingly? For some employers, this may be a very viable option.
For smaller, nimbler companies, concessions like these may seem like no-brainers. For more traditional companies, however, the expectation is often to train an employee and then have them work 40-hour work weeks with consistent daily schedules, basically up until the day they retire.
For companies like these, we urge a willingness to be flexible and creative in helping employees return to work, even as they deal with unprecedented health concerns. And if you need custom HR solutions to make these arrangements more viable, we invite you to contact FullHR at any time.
There are certain processes that any HR team must engage with, from onboarding new employees to handling issues that arise with worker’s comp. While these processes are extremely important, and ultimately mission-critical, they can also represent enormous time and energy expenditures.
While HR teams cannot abandon these core activities, they can seek ways to streamline their processes, allowing them to complete these mission-critical duties without nearly as much demand on their resources. FullHR can help you overhaul your processes to ensure greater efficiency and less hassle.
But first things first: What are the activities that tend to be the biggest time and energy drains for HR professionals? We’ve surveyed our clients to get their take, and these are the five HR processes that came up over and over again.
1) New hires
Bringing new recruits into the fold can be really exciting… but let’s be honest: There are myriad little things HR has to do to make certain new employees are ready to hit the ground running. Some common examples include:
Again, all of this is important, but it can also take quite a bit of time and focus.
Along similar lines, there are a number of steps HR must complete to bring new hires up to speed on important policies and procedures. Examples include verifying and filing signed employee handbooks and completing non-disclosure agreements.
It’s essential for HR teams to stay on top of payroll. This can be:
These are just a few examples of the time-intensive steps required to maintain payroll.
4) Worker’s comp
Handling worker’s comp issues can also take a lot of time and energy. In particular, it can be grueling to enter payroll dollars for each job class into the carrier’s software.
Finally, it can be time-consuming for HR to verify that employee payroll deductions match the totals on each provider’s invoiced premiums for medical, dental, vision, and life insurance.
These core HR activities all come with the same hidden cost: They simply sap a lot of time and energy, which can leave your department with insufficient opportunities for other value-adding endeavors, such as employee engagement efforts. (It’s also worth noting that these HR activities also require a lot of mandatory time for auditing and correcting errors from the incorrect translation of handwritten paper documents to digital records; and then there’s the expense of paying invoices for errors caused by incorrect benefit coverage or coverage of terminated employees.)
The good news is that, by partnering with FullHR, you can dramatically reduce the time and hassle required by these processes. We can help you make all of these core activities seamless and efficient; the first step is reaching out to discuss your HR needs. Contact FullHR to learn more about how you can minimize the time-sink of these and other essential processes.
Recently, the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations have been distributed across the nation, potentially signaling the endgame for the ongoing pandemic. This is undoubtedly good news, though it is not without some complications. One of the big questions that employers now face is whether they can or should mandate that their employees be vaccinated before returning to the physical workspace.
As with all things COVID, there is much uncertainty. You can anticipate there being plenty of litigation surrounding the question of vaccination requirements.
With that said, a number of attorneys and HR experts have weighed in, and the consensus thus far is that most employers will have standing to require vaccinations. There is ample legal precedent for this; in the past, employers have been given the grounds to require their employees be vaccinated for the flu and other diseases.
One possible point of contention is that these past vaccinations have all been fully vetted and approved through normal FDA protocols, whereas the COVID-19 vaccines are being made available on an emergency authorization basis.
There is a chance, albeit a very remote one, that the vaccine could cause some side effects or complications that negate employer standing for a vaccination mandate. Again, there is plenty of uncertainty, so we’ll really just need to wait and see how things pan out.
If your company does require vaccinations, you can expect some employees to ask for exemptions. Some employees will ask for exemptions based on illegitimate reasons, quite frankly, but others may have more valid concerns.
For example, it’s important that your company be prepared to provide a vaccine exemption for employees who have ADA-covered disabilities that prevent them from getting vaccinated. Note that, under the ADA, a vaccination cannot be required unless it is a business necessity and/or necessitated by a direct threat. COVID-19 does qualify as a direct threat, but some ADA-covered employees may have valid exemptions.
Something else to keep in mind is that Title VII requires that employers allow exemptions for those who object on the basis of sincerely held religious belief. Generally, personal anti-vaccination views or ethical concerns are not going to be sufficient for an exemption. However, the courts are going to come to differing conclusions about when a personal view crosses over into a true religious objection.
Business owners have to be prepared for employees who protest the vaccine mandate, but they also need to consider an alternative outcome: By refusing to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, employers could also open themselves to legal liability, specifically claims that they are not providing a sufficiently safe work environment under OSHA guidelines.
Such lawsuits seem inevitable, and they are also unprecedented; we won’t venture a prediction as to how the courts will determine these issues, but we will note that any quasi-serious legal claim could cost your company massive amounts of money in legal fees.
For this reason alone, it’s advisable for business and HR leaders to be critical and deliberate in developing COVID-19 vaccination policies; take the right steps to make sure employees are safe, and also be sure to document those policies in as much detail as possible.
With any questions or concerns about these issues, we welcome you to reach out to us. Contact FullHR to discuss these complicated matters further.
Most HR departments have reached the end of the annual open enrollment process; for many HR professionals, this is one of the busiest, most consequential seasons of the year. However, just because the open enrollment period has reached its end, that doesn’t mean HR’s work is through. There are a few important steps for HR departments to “debrief” following open enrollment.
1) Review the invoice for errors.
If you are using FullHR (ASO) or other full-service Administrative Services Outsourcing, the auditing will be handled for you using an automated Human Resource Information System. The automation connects the actual insurance enrollment directly with the insurance carrier using EDI on the more advanced platforms. Otherwise you will need to invest many of your or your team’s hours once the first invoice from your company’s health insurance carrier comes in; be prompt in checking it for errors. Understand that there almost certainly will be some errors that need to be addressed, unless you have absolutely no staffing or enrollment changes from the previous year. Small invoice errors are just part of the process, and the sooner you address them, the better.
Note: Your 2021 mission should be sourcing a solution to connect your payroll information with your HR and benefits information that automatically links with the insurance carrier and greatly reduces the risk of costly enrollment errors and correctly reports W-2 and 1094/1095 electronically to the IRS. This also can generate compliant forms that are mailed or sent electronically to all employees.
2) Communicate with your employees.
Hopefully, HR has kept the lines of communication open throughout the enrollment period, educating employees on how to use their benefits. Don’t stop now. Remind employees to check their first paycheck or invoice promptly and come to you if there are any questions. Also, get on the schedule of your licensed insurance partner to provide education for employees throughout the year about how they can maximize their benefits and get the most out of their insurance. This mitigates liability for your organization and insulates your job role from disseminating incorrect information in an industry where compliance and rules are certain to be quickly changing with a new federal administration.
3) Send out an employee survey.
Don’t delay in requesting that your Administrative Service Outsourced team host a survey soliciting employee feedback; ask them for their thoughts on the open enrollment process now, while it’s still fresh on their minds. Ask whether they felt like all of the options were made clear to them, whether they felt like HR was accessible to answer any questions, whether they had sufficient time to enroll, etc. Were employees able to easily schedule a one-on-one appointment with a licensed professional, were the online educational videos during enrollment up to date, and were the hours for a question-and-answer session adequate? Was the licensed professional enroller friendly and knowledgeable? This feedback can be valuable as you seek to make next year’s open enrollment run even more smoothly. And it helps employees know that their voice is valued.
4) Schedule a time to sit down with your broker.
If you work with an HR benefits broker to help you navigate the open enrollment season, it’s a great idea to touch base with them after the fact. Discuss aspects of open enrollment that you think worked well, as well as any aspect that you’d like to go better next year. Together, you and your broker may also compare enrollment in the new plans versus enrollment in previous plans.
5) Consider outsourcing HR needs.
And what about HR departments that don’t have a dedicated broker? The immediate aftermath of open enrollment is a good time to think critically about some of the time-intensive tasks that are on your plate, including the potentially laborious process of auditing your invoices. If you don’t have a trusted HR partner to help you bear some of the burden and run your department more efficiently, now’s as good a time as any to look for one.
If you’re looking for a trusted partner to help broker your benefits, or if you have any specific questions about what to do in the season following open enrollment, we welcome you to contact the team at FullHR at any time.
A great partner with access to excellent integrated administrative tools will help you save money using the EDI directly with carriers while also preventing enrollment errors and saving time during and after enrollment. Partnering with a pro could provide enhanced communication throughout the year with current employees and new hires by offering continuity of information while mitigating your organization’s liability and allowing you to focus on business during this upcoming year.
Does your 2021 business plan have you headed for a sandy beach or a sand trap?
Know where your organization is going in 2021 and have a plan on how to get there.
2020 Success Stories from FullHR
Our team was proud to assist clients in surviving the numerous business challenges encountered in 2020, from COVID furloughs to business interruptions, via our professional Payroll, Business, Benefits, Human Resources Off-Boarding, and now On-Boarding assistance. Through guidance with PPP loans, our efforts facilitated millions of dollars to support long-term clients and their employees through a challenging season.
Collectively we helped three COVID affected businesses experience GROWTH during the economic downturn, whereas recently as March one was downsizing and two were preparing to close.
In this last quarter, is it time for Employee Performance Reviews, or for you to implement your organization’s exit strategy?
In the final stretch of the year, we recommend that small and mid-sized businesses review the following:
Is now the time to sell your organization and leverage rising interest rates from 2021 hyperinflation as a result of higher taxes, additional compliance restrictions, and significantly increased labor expenses? With high inflation predicted you may be able to take the funds from your organization and have a more healthy return on your money than continuing to run your business at a loss or possibly suffer its closure due to the upcoming volatile conditions. This may permit your leadership to weather the storm, then restart in three to five years.
Should non-profitable employees be terminated to minimize losses and stabilize profit? Owners need to evaluate both employee performance and net profit impact to see which members to keep on the team, especially if downsizing appears imminent to remain at break-even or better. Performance management is the most essential, as the lifeblood of your company is your people, and to survive this unpredictable season it’s crucial to retain the employees with higher potential and production.
Is there a reason for your organization to hire as we predict increasing unemployment among highly talented individuals who may accept significantly lower wages during this slowdown?
Are your vendors still the best match for supporting your organization’s mission? Evaluate the performance of your vendors to see which ones should be retained as business taxes swell, wages increase, and net profit may change to net loss. Vendors need to be assessed to see if there are better alternatives, not just lower costs but also opportunities to enhance your net profit by outsourcing. Are there integrated solutions to simplify your current process?
What if things get better?
Let FullHR’s licensed professionals fuel your success. Consider outsourcing your human resources, benefits, Pay-As-You-Go work comp, and payroll as an integrated solution to help your business survive during the coming economic and political disruption.
The ongoing impact of COVID-19 includes rising levels of depression, anxiety, and grief; serious mental health challenges that your employees can’t always check at the door. Often, these mental health problems invade the workplace, where they can diminish the overall morale and wellbeing of your team.
Even before the pandemic, there was a serious workplace mental health crisis, stemming largely from stigma: Simply put, far too many employees are reluctant to seek the help they need to address mental health issues, feeling like they need to just “deal with it” on their own.
Now is the time for employers and HR leaders to get serious about providing their employees with the necessary mental health resources… but where to begin? In this post, we’ll outline some basic, preliminary steps toward a workplace mental health strategy.
1) Create a culture of balance.
Work-life balance won’t necessarily cure problems like deep-seated anxiety or depression, but it can help alleviate stress. And it can help employees enjoy more freedom and flexibility to seek treatment or therapy as needed. Make sure yours is a culture that encourages people to take vacations and the occasional “mental health day.” When possible, show some flexibility toward employees who need to come in a little later or duck out a little early to go to therapy. And make sure that leaders and managers set a good example of leaving at a reasonable time each day, not sending after-hours emails, etc.
2) Talk about it.
Make sure your workplace is an environment where people feel comfortable discussing issues related to mental health. HR leaders can set the tone, sending out emails or leading brief huddles/meetings to discuss the warning signs of mental illness. Model an ease and a comfort discussing these matters, without stigma or judgment.
3) Offer the right benefits.
There are a number of workplace benefits that can be used to promote mental health and wellbeing. Some examples include:
As you consider bringing a fuller suite of mental health benefits to your team, make sure you take a look at some of the offerings we have here at FullHR, including some new programs that we’ve just unveiled in the month of October.
4) Prioritize wellness.
Don’t underestimate the significance of the mind-body connection. Promoting physical wellness can be a powerful way to promote mental health. There are plenty of workplace wellness options you can choose from, like team walks, healthy snacks in the vending machine, or discounts for local gyms. But really, the best bet may be providing employees flexibility to get up and move around as needed; again, leaders can set a good example here, building a culture where wellness is a top priority.
5) Provide in-service events.
Make sure your mental health plan has room for some in-service events and seminars. Bring in experts or educators who can share some tips and best practices for stress management and self-care, and also provide some insight into mental health diagnosis and treatment.
With the right plan, your HR team can help cultivate a workplace where mental health is treasured. If you have any questions, or want to know more about different benefits options, reach out to FullHR at your next convenience.
With the fourth quarter rapidly approaching, many businesses are nearing “open enrollment” season for benefits packages slated to begin on January 1. (Additional information about open enrollment can be found in this video from FullHR.)
Something we feel passionately about here at FullHR is that employers and HR teams should be intentional in showcasing benefits options to their employee base. That’s a process that should start right now. HR leaders must take charge, educating employees on how they can truly optimize and take advantage of their benefits.
To encourage employees to participate in your benefits program, and to facilitate an optimal employee experience, we recommend a few basic tips.
1) Start raising awareness now.
Survey after survey finds that many employees know very little about the benefits offered at their place of employment. Thus, one of the most important things an HR professional can do is raise awareness. Start communicating with employees sooner rather than later, conveying to them which benefits are available; what is covered under these benefits; and how employees can sign up.
One thing to keep in mind is that one-size-fits-all communication strategies usually don’t work. Different employee groups will have different needs and expectations; for example, there’s evidence to show that younger employees prefer one-on-one communication with an HR leader, while more seasoned employees prefer digital communication. Try to accommodate both groups.
2) Focus on customization.
Different employees want different things from their benefits packages; some may simply be curious about basic medical, dental, and vision, while others will have questions about family insurance plans, health savings accounts, etc.
As you communicate with employees, emphasize the ways in which they can customize their benefits packages to more specifically address their personal needs, or the needs of their family. Help employees to understand the level of flexibility that’s available to them.
3) Offer employees a sense of security.
This year has been marked by high uncertainty, and many employees are feeling anxious about their family’s financial security.
Your benefits offerings can speak to these anxieties. If possible, offer voluntary offerings, like life insurance, disability insurance, and retirement savings accounts, to help employees regain some sense of security.
4) Talk about benefits throughout the year.
A final tip: Start consistently talking about employee benefits throughout the year… not just once open enrollment comes around. Keep your benefits options top-of-mind for employees. Remind them of the different benefits available, and how they can use them. For instance, given the stress and uncertainty of this year, now may be a great time to emphasize any mental health offerings.
Communication really is the most important component of driving employee participation in your benefits program; and, of ensuring a positive employee experience. Communicate early and often, providing employees with everything they need to know about customizing, signing up, and utilizing their benefits.
If you have any additional questions, reach out to FullHR today. We’d love to talk with you further about designing benefits packages that your employees will genuinely appreciate. (And, be sure to check out our online resources related to employee benefits.)
When you think about the “perks” of your workplace, what comes to mind? Traditionally, workplace perks have consisted of things like break rooms well-stocked with tasty snacks, and perhaps equipped with comfy seating; or, with after-hours hangouts and happy hours. While such workplace perks can certainly be effective in raising morale, they’re become all but impossible to maintain due to the disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic.
Indeed, as the spread of COVID-19 continues, business and HR leaders must choose between three basic options:
While there’s not necessarily a wrong or right answer here, we’d encourage creativity as companies pursue new ways to foster morale and to show employees they care. The pandemic may force us all to rethink perks, but it shouldn’t make us abandon perks altogether.
It’s worth noting that, in survey after survey, we find that break room perks and after-hours hangouts actually rank pretty low on the list of employee priorities. When asked what kind of workplace benefits they really crave, employees overwhelmingly say they want to feel empowered to work autonomously; they want to feel trusted; and they want to feel like the work they do makes a difference.
In other words, there may be ways for business owners and HR leaders to extend “perks” to their employees even in a remote setting, and without having to worry about the logistics of fancy snacks or cocktail hours.
Instead of getting hung up on these fun but frivolous extras, companies might instead shift their resources and their strategic focus to show their overall support for employee wellbeing. Some examples of perks that might really make a difference in employees’ quality of life include:
Of course, providing perks like these might require creating more room in the budget. To that end, a lot of companies are temporarily discontinuing their funding for additional training and continuing education, which aren’t in high demand at the current moment. This kind of flexibility is crucial for companies as they rethink their perks.
Also note that more traditional perks, like snacks, are still very much a viable option; some employers have started sending premium “snack boxes” to employee homes, which can be a good way to let workers know they are still valued. Also note that, in a remote work environment, perks like these can go a long way toward instilling some goodwill not just in employees, but also in their family members.
These are just a few examples of how businesses and HR leaders can rethink the notion of workplace perks and provide morale boosters that are appropriate to the age of COVID. If you have any further questions about any of this, we’d love to chat. Reach out to FullHR at your next convenience.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, businesses have proven their adaptability in the face of unprecedented turmoil. Thanks to digital communication and collaboration technologies, many teams have begun working remotely, maintaining regular productivity while also complying with stay-at-home guidelines.
Remote work offers a number of advantages, and ultimately makes it possible for businesses to remain efficient during quarantine. With that said, it’s not without its challenges. Specifically, many of FullHR’s clients have raised the question of culture. How can a business maintain a sense of core values and commitments when its team members are all working from separate locations?
We’re happy to offer a few recommendations for maintaining culture even in a mostly or completely virtual work setting.
These are some basic practices we’d offer to teams looking to bolster culture during this season of working remotely. With any questions about this or other HR issues, reach out to us directly. Contact FullHR at your next opportunity.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent business shutdowns, impacted different companies in different ways. Many businesses weathered the storm without any reduction to their payroll, in some cases through the support of PPP loans or other government relief programs. But not all businesses were so lucky; many had to make tough decisions and to lay off members of their teams.
Now that most businesses have reopened, there is a pressing need to staff up and ensure a robust workforce. For some companies, this will mean inviting some of those laid off (or furloughed) employees back to the team. In doing so, a number of strategic considerations must be met.
In an ideal world, your company will be able to welcome back its entire workforce, including all employees who were either laid off or furloughed. If this is the case, then rehiring can be fairly straightforward.
But what if you simply don’t have the customer volume or the cash flow to bring everyone back? If that’s the case, then some tough decisions must be made about which employees return and which don’t. A key consideration here will be ensuring that your decisions are not made on the basis of wrongful discrimination.
When you make the decision to rehire an employee, it’s critical that you have valid and non-discriminatory reasoning for choosing that person over others. There are a number of perfectly legitimate examples of this, including:
One important step is to document your reasoning before you actually invite anyone back to the workforce; make sure you have a written rehiring strategy in place. This will give you legal cover if an employee alleges that your rehiring decisions were made frivolously, or that you only made up your rationale after the fact.
Generally speaking, rehiring on the basis of seniority is the best move from a risk management standpoint. There are, however, exceptions. If your most senior employee is someone who holds a more ancillary role, you may need to move past them to employees whose role is more operationally critical. (For example, if you own a restaurant, you need to rehire your cooks, even if they don’t happen to be your most senior employees.)
One final note is that, if you laid off or furloughed employees for a specific reason, it’s usually best to make that your reasoning for rehiring. For example, if seniority was your guiding principle in who to furlough, it should probably be your guiding principle in rehiring.
One thing employers shouldn’t do is base their rehiring decisions on high risk of COVID-19. For example, you may be tempted to avoid or postpone the rehiring of team members who are 65+, or who are pregnant, on the grounds that they are the ones most likely to be infected by the coronavirus. But actually, this rationale is not approved by EEOC guidelines, and can run you into some legal risks.
Do you have any additional questions about rehiring post-pandemic, or about how to minimize legal risk as you bring back employees? Reach out to FullHR at your earliest convenience. We’d love to talk with you further about rehiring strategy or other HR needs.