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New Year, New W-4?: What You Need to Know About the Redesigned 2020 Form W-4

By now, you’ve probably heard the IRS has released a redesigned version of form W-4 for 2020, also known as the Employee’s Withholding Certificate. Most employees will need to fill out a new W-4 now and then, but how does this new form factor into the mix?

5 Things to Know Before Disciplining or Terminating an Employee

Supporting a strong team of employees can be just as challenging as finding a new candidate. Even top employees can steer off course and require guidance to do their best work. In some cases, encouraging the employee to move on may be the best course of action. But disciplining or terminating an employee is never an easy job for a manager. There are the personal delicacies to consider – hurt feelings, damaged work confidence and office morale – as well as the feared legal retaliation should the firing not follow the right process.

What Is a PEO and Is It Right for You?

 

A Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, specializes in ubiquitous HR tasks like payroll, tax filings, benefits and retirement package administration, and more. Some companies turn to them to outsource this work so they can focus on growing their business, especially if they lack the internal expertise or the funds to hire dedicated HR staff. In fact, the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) says 175,000 small and mid-sized businesses currently work with a PEO, which represents about 15% of employers with 10 to 99 employees.

A (Benefit) Package Deal: Attract Talent You Need with Perks They Want

With unemployment at 3.9 percent in July 2018, it’s clearly a job candidate’s market. If you can find qualified candidates, they’re probably considering several employment options. While competitive salaries are still crucial, the benefits you offer are growing in importance. According to research by Glassdoor, “57 percent of US job candidates say benefits and perks are among the top things they consider when accepting a job offer.”

Is There More to the Millennial Employee Story?

By now most of us know the Millennial generation is the largest portion of the US workforce. And their numbers are only going to grow as Baby Boomers and even Generation X workers age and retire in ever-greater numbers.

Unpacking Benefits: What One Millennial Really Wants

As a millennial who has just graduated from college and been through the job search process, I’ve realized a few things about which company benefits are truly important. Throughout my four years as a business student, I’ve heard some big talk about the amazing benefits at companies such as Google and the studies that prove their effectiveness. All of this buzz gave me extremely unrealistic expectations. Sure, companies like Google exist and yes, the studies don’t lie. Offering employees unlimited vacations, nap pods, free food, on-site medical facilities and a plethora of other extreme benefits does affect employee happiness and productivity. However, the expectation that every company can provide the same benefits as Google is absurd. The reality is that while many companies may want to offer their employees all these benefits, the price tag is far too high. I learned this quickly in my job search and my priorities shifted. While flashy benefits would be amazing, I came to understand that the benefits that are most rewarding and beneficial are the ones that help me save money and plan for my future.

Don’t Trip on the Threshold! Which Laws Apply Once You Have 15 Employees?


Congratulations! Your business has grown to 15 employees! Since your very first hires you’ve complied with labor laws like the Immigration Reform and Control Act, the Equal Pay Act and, if you provide benefits, HIPPA. But did you know that 15 employees is a threshold for additional labor law requirements? Here’s what you need to know.

Fight Workplace Harassment, Encourage Safety, Respect

As you've probably heard, sexual harassment is making headlines. Men and women, from Hollywood stars to everyday people, are speaking out - and perpetrators are facing hefty consequences. No complaints at your company? Don’t breathe a sigh of relief quite yet; just because you haven’t heard about harassment at work doesn’t mean it’s not there. Make no mistake, harassment encompasses far more than dirty jokes or unwanted advances. You should know all the forms of harassing behavior, what to do about them and how to promote a workplace culture that doesn’t tolerate them.

Absenteeism: A Symptom You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Employee absences are inevitable.  Scheduled or not, legitimate or not, absences mean less work completed as time and money go to paid sick time and overtime, picking up the slack, training a sub, or bringing in a temp. And don’t forget “soft” costs like increased workload, coworker resentment and reduced productivity. Absenteeism may be an unavoidable part of life at work, but it can be managed. The time you spend tracking attendance helps you find ways to improve it. Besides, what you learn about your employees’ absenteeism could be like the canary in the coalmine – a sign that something else is wrong.

End Your HR Year by Setting Up 2018 for Success

Ask anyone who works in human resources about the signs of autumn - chances are, leaf colors and pumpkin spice beverages aren't at the top of the list. In the HR world, open enrollment, preparing form 1095-C and setting up next year’s payroll schedule are really what signal that fall is here. There’s paperwork to file (or e-file), employee data to verify and did we mention the deadlines? It can make for a hectic time with lots of projects to keep track of. Read on to stay organized and manage the chaos.

Boomerang Employees: Tips for Rehiring

It used to be that once an employee left a job, they were cutting ties with the organization forever. However, it’s becoming more common for employers to rehire former employees, anyone from seasonal workers to full-time professionals. A 2015 national survey of more than 1,800 human resources professionals, managers and employees found that ”nearly half of HR professionals claim their organization previously had a policy against rehiring former employees – even if the employee left in good standing – but 76 percent say they are more accepting of hiring boomerang employees today than in the past.”  So - how do you do it right?

Exit Interviews: Let Departing Employees Get the Last Word

Employees facing exit interviews need only look to Google for article after article offering guidance on what to say and what not to say. Leaving a job can be an emotional roller coaster, so employees are often advised to be constructive and diplomatic, honest but guarded and most of all, to avoid burning bridges. There’s an art to giving constructive criticism without breaking confidence with coworkers or making one’s manager look bad. Not everyone can pull it off and some don’t even want to try. The result for employers? Vague answers to exit interview questions and a lack of actionable insights. But, there’s plenty you can do to help departing employees give useful feedback while still taking the high road.

Can You Afford to Misclassify Your Workers?

 

It’s Monday morning: Employees make their way to their workstations, the Keurig whirrs in the break room and the office starts to hum along as usual. Then, an employee approaches you and says that he’s done some research and discovered that his exempt job has been misclassified, and he’s actually nonexempt. What? No one has ever questioned their job status before, and your company’s job titles and descriptions are all in order. Is this employee correct? Are there others?  How is a misclassification fixed? Or do you need to do anything about it? If he’s right, does the company owe him money? Are there tax penalties?

It’s going to be a long week.

Get On Board with Onboarding: Why The Way You Hire Matters

Most of us can remember being the new person on the job. Even if you’re excited for a change, it can be a little scary when you don’t quite know what to expect from the group (or what's expected of you). Did your new co-workers help you learn the ropes, or were you left to sink or swim, clutching your benefits application and employee handbook and little else? It’s not hard to guess which scenario most people prefer. Let's talk about how to avoid the latter.

How to Evaluate Your Labor Audit Liability

Why Worry?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM),

"Employers should keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) can audit employers at any time, although the most common reason for a DOL audit is a complaint from an employee. The DOL has also targeted employers in low-wage industries for wage and hour violations, particularly in the areas of agriculture, day cares, restaurants, garment manufacturing, guard services, health care, hotels and motels, janitorial services, and temporary help."

Even if you aren't in one of the previously-targeted industries mentioned above, you should be aware of what an audit entails and what you need in order to ensure compliance.

Employee Social Media Posts: Should You Go There?

 

“Social media has irreparably blurred the line between one’s personal persona and one’s professional persona,” says Jon Hyman in Workforce magazine. If you consider that a recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,520 U.S. adults that found 79% of those online use Facebook, 24% use Twitter and 29% use LinkedIn, chances are pretty good that most of your employees are active on one or more social media platform. What does that mean for you, the employer?

Your 7-Point Plan for Choosing a Payroll Partner

If you dread payroll processing, you’re in good company. In fact, it’s becoming pretty common to outsource all or part of an organization's payroll tasks. According to a 2014 survey by Deloitte, 22% of North American organizations outsource all payroll functions.  And among those who use a vendor for some payroll functions, “the most commonly outsourced functions in North America  include year-end tax form printing (87%), payroll tax preparation and filing (76%), year-end tax form distribution (63%), check printing (57%) and garnishment administration (52%).”

So why do organizations choose to outsource? And what should you look for when doing so?

What At-Will Employment Really Means

 

At-will employment basically means that the employer or the employee can terminate their relationship at any time, for any reason. 

What this says versus what it really means often leads to misunderstanding among employers. Does this mean you can arbitrarily fire an employee without documentation, without a reason? Nope. And even if you document every detail, it still may not land in your favor.

IT Meets HR: What to Know About Applicant Tracking

Every single company that exists, whether it's Coca Cola, Apple, or Acadia, has a hiring process. Some are multi-phased, some are quick and simple, some informal, and others follow strict protocol. Regardless of your company or process, someone may be pulling out their hair over how to manage the flood of applications that arrive with each job opening.

An Application Tracking System (ATS) can help. An ATS is software that allows you to manage job postings, applicants and even the hiring (aka onboarding) process. The systems vary but most allow the recruiter to post directly to popular online job boards. Then, most take submissions from those same job boards and consolidate the responses, dropping them into a database. The system then crawls through each resume and searches for key words that relate to the position, qualifications, or skills you've specified.  By selecting only the resumes that contain those key words, the system selects a group of applicants that is better qualified for the position. This reduces the number of resume a recruiter must comb through by up to 70%.

Onboarding a New Employee: 5 Tips

Does the word "onboarding" make your HR team run away screaming? It shouldn't. There are many tools, tips and tricks that help ease the burden of onboarding new employees. There's also another type of onboarding you can't forget - and that's when you as a company are onboarding with a new vendor. We'll examine the former in this blog.