Hot Topics in Total Rewards

  • 15 Jul 2019 9:27 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    July 11, 2019

    Dive Brief:

    • Half of Generation Z workers in a survey by Randstad US and Apartment Guide said they're supplementing their income with a second job due to living expenses rising faster than wages, compared to 28% of workers overall.
    • The study of 1,211 working homeowners and renters ages 18 to 45 and above also found that 44% said their mortgage, rent, household utilities and other living expenses were rising faster than their annual salaries each year. Forty-two percent said they'd need to earn at least $60,000 a year to stay in their desired neighborhood, and renting is a reality for many: 39% of house renters, 38% of room renters and 33% of apartment renters had at least one roommate to help make ends meet.
    • Though long commutes had a negative impact on the moods of respondents — including 42% of Gen Z respondents — workers also had a mixed reaction to some aspects of flexible work. Forty-four percent of respondents said they preferred working in an office because this option made it easier to disconnect from work, Randstad US said.

    Dive Insight:

    Other studies affirm the toll that rising living costs are having on workers: 75% of workers in a Citrix Systems report said they would move out of the cities they currently live in for a less costly location, and 78% of tech workers in a recent CompTIA study said they would move elsewhere if they could, citing affordability and the economy as major reasons for relocating. A majority of respondents in the Citrix Systems study even called the cost of living in major cities "crippling."

    Housing in Silicon Valley — where the median monthly rent for a one-room apartment can be as high $2,500 in San Jose and $3,000 in San Francisco — has surpassed the wages of many tech workers, and 38% of them to conducted job searches in outside areas, according to a 2017 report by Indeed. San Francisco-based Zapier responded to the crisis by offering workers $10,000 to put towards relocating outside the Bay Area.

    "Tight budgets are nothing new for young people just starting out in their careers, but today's increasingly high cost of living coupled with slow wage growth means that, despite low unemployment, millennials and Gen Zs are faced with at least two variables negatively impacting their financial well-being," Jim Link, CHRO at Randstad North America, said in a statement. Link added that while allowing employees to work at home could help reduce some costs, such as commuting expenses, managers with remote staffers might also need to promote as much collaboration and face-to-face time as possible with colleagues to prevent working in isolation.

    While there may be some drawbacks to remote work, research has also demonstrated flexbile work options can provide benefits, including improving relationships at home. There's also evidence that workers increasingly view such options as the norm in today's workplaces, and that a lack of flexiblity may have some undesirable impacts on workers on both engagement and retention.

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    Source: HR Dive
  • 15 Jul 2019 9:25 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Jennifer Carsen


    July 10, 2019

    Dive Brief:

    • California officially launched the CalSavers retirement program on July 1; the program provides employees access to retirement savings accounts without the administrative complexity, fees, or fiduciary liability of existing employer options, according to the California State Treasurer website
    • Any employer with at least five employees that doesn’t already offer a workplace retirement savings vehicle will be required to either begin offering one via the private market, or to provide its employees access to CalSavers. 
    • CalSavers will be operated solely through administrative fees. Eligible employers can register for CalSavers at any time and are required to comply by the following dates: June 30, 2020 for employers with over 100 employees; June 30, 2021 for employers with over 50 employees; and June 30, 2022 for employers with five or more employees.

    Dive Insight:

    Employees' financial well-being in retirement is a concern for employers; the average U.S. worker has $0 saved for retirement, according to a report from the National Institute on Retirement Security. Among those who do have retirement savings, the average amount saved is just $40,000 — and 70% of workers between the ages of 55-64 have a retirement account no greater than their annual income. 

    Many workers, in fact, are addressing retirement-related challenges by pushing back retirement. One-fifth of seniors are still working in 25 cities identified by Provision Living, a company that operates senior living centers.

    Long-term financial planning is a problem that's on employees' minds, and they are looking to their employers to help them solve it. A third of workers report being worried about finances at work, according to a recent study, with debt leading the list of concerns. Many employees (75%) wanted their employers to help them calculate the amount needed for a secure retirement and help them plan for monthly spending (72%) and health care expenses (72%) in retirement. Comprehensive financial planning was on the wishlist for 68% of employees surveyed.

    Because so many workers are worried about financial struggles in retirement, and also routinely underestimate how much money they will need after they stop working, talent professionals are starting to tackle the issue head-on. Workers who are not distracted by looming financial concerns are more productive and focused, and employers that offer the perk of financial resources and education could have a leg up on attracting and retaining talent in a tight job market.

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    Source: HR Dive

  • 27 Jun 2019 1:07 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    AI Help Desks

    Staff Writer

    Jun 24, 2019 | 07:57 PM | Chiradeep BasuMallick Freelance Contributor, HR Technologist

    Holidays, benefits, recruitment, and culture are the top four areas where employees routinely have questions for HR. AI help desks can offer an immediate response, empowering the workforce and freeing HR from repetitive workloads. Read on to know about:

    • AI help desk use cases shared by Spoke’s Head of Marketing, Josh Anish
    • Seven benefits of adopting AI help desks
    • The case for adoption, despite concerns around job loss

    Answering employee queries takes up a large portion of HR work hours. Often, you may find yourself answering the same question multiple times and guiding employees through similar scenarios over and over. This is one definite area where automation powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can help.  

    An automated employee help desk can work as the “first point of contact,” addressing basic queries and routing more challenging questions to human executives. Technologies such as AI takes this a step further, introducing intelligent automation where queries are solved not just based on predefined business rules but through insights gathered from previous interactions. 

    We spoke to Josh Anish, Head of Marketing at help desk technology solutions provider, Spoke, to understand how AI-powered help desks help HR reduce the time spent answering repetitive queries. Spoke’s AI help desk addresses issues across HR, IT, and office management, creating a one-stop answer for most employee queries. Here’s what we found.

    Common Queries That AI Help Desks Answer

    Anish explains that a majority of tickets raised by employees – in Spoke’s experience – refer to common organizational policies. While the knowledge is available in company repositories, employees are unaware of how to access it, and therefore, are compelled to reach out to HR. The four top areas encountered by users are:

    1. Holidays and vacations

    For multi-location, mid-to-large sized organizations, holiday and vacation management can be difficult. Dates may vary from region to region, and employees risk losing out on optional holidays/earned vacations if they are unaware of these policies.

    2. Company benefits

    Because these vary dramatically from employer to employer, new hires regularly raise questions about the benefits, right from commute allowances to corporate gym memberships.

    3. Recruitment and referrals

    Employees could be eager to refer their peers but require a thorough understanding of recruitment guidelines before suggesting their friends/families.

    4. Culture and ethics

    Questions about miscellaneous norms in professional behavior, security, pets in the workplace, sexual harassment, and other areas are also frequently asked about.

    “And it’s not that these questions aren’t important to employees,” adds Anish. “Everyone agrees that they are.”

    To address this, Spoke offers an AI-powered help desk, which accurately answers repetitive employee requests to enhance productivity.

    Seven Benefits of AI-Powered Employee Help Desks

    While automation in IT service desks is now a staple, HR is yet to catch up. “IT ticketing systems offer specific insights into the status of every request; people can see exactly where their issues stand in terms of priority and completion. Meanwhile, HR requests seem to go into a black box which employees have no insight into,” explains Anish.

    In other words, users need more visibility: How many open requests are currently on the dashboard? What is their request’s status? How fast are requests being resolved? And, how do employees feel about the organization’s responsiveness to their needs?

    When implemented effectively, AI help desks offer the following benefits:

    1. Simple and process-driven actions are taken away from the HR function, reducing the number of requests that are finally assessed by human executives.
    2. Common questions can be answered immediately, letting users implement the advice without delay – and increasing employee loyalty in the process.
    3. Complex queries that require a “human touch” can be seamlessly routed to HR, without disturbing (or creating friction in) the employee experience.
    4. AI help desks can be linked to other internal systems, drawing information from employee self-service (ESS) modules, human resource information systems (HRIS), or benefits administration platforms.
    5. AI chatbots can better organize employee request tickets based on the criticality of the issue, its urgency, and complexity level.
    6. Productivity for HR teams witnesses a significant uptick, once the task of resolving queries is offboarded to an, AI help desk.
    7. AI can identify which team member is best equipped to solve a query, resulting in optimal utilization of HR/admin/IT talent, as applicable.

    Encouraging Adoption for AI Help Desks

    Despite the clear advantages of intelligent automation for help desks, a long-standing challenge is holding back adoption. With so many HR responsibilities taken over by AI, traditionalists are anxious about job security and upcoming changes in employment models.

    However, Anish assures us that these fears are unfounded. “AI isn’t here to take anyone’s HR job any time. Trust me; I’ve been working on the front lines of software AI for almost a decade now, and, despite the amazing work by engineers, I’m routinely shocked by how primitive much of AI remains. In other words, the robot revolution – at least in my humble opinion – is rather far off.”

    While AI will definitely create a shift in employment and job roles, the impact will be largely positive. AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs by 2020 due to effort optimization, reports Gartner, but it will add a staggering 2.3 million new jobs in return.

    “In that spirit, HR pros should adopt AI and virtual assistants to do the repetitive work they no longer want to do themselves. And that means answering repetitive questions, bucketing requests by type, and streamlining onboarding processes,” concludes Anish.

    AI help desks are the next logical step for future-focused and people-centric HR, reducing non-value adding workloads, to turn our attention towards strategic endeavors.

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    Source: HR Technologist
  • 27 Jun 2019 11:00 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Image result for Chipotle unveils new quarterly bonus

    By Elizabeth Zwirz

    Published June 25, 2019 | Food and Beverage | FOXBusiness

    Hourly employees working at Chipotle could see more money in their pockets each quarter — with the rollout of a new bonus program unveiled by the company on Tuesday.

    Chipotle laid out how teams can take part in the new system and said the added money could “result in a bonus worth one week’s pay,” which will equate to an employee’s average weekly pay per quarter, according to a news release. That means employees could make as much as “an extra month’s pay each year," the chain pointed out.

    “To qualify for the quarterly bonus program, restaurant teams must meet certain criteria such as predetermined sales as well as cash flow and throughput goals,” the company said.

    The program will help to entice and keep “top talent,” Chipotle said, noting it's on top of an existing annual crew bonus offered to employees based on tenure and who have worked at one of its establishments for at least a year.

    "At Chipotle, we're not only looking to compete for the industry's best, we're looking to keep the industry's best," Marissa Andrada, Chipotle’s chief people officer, said. "Chipotle is about Cultivating a Better World, building a real community that works together to win together, and this bonus program provides a strategic investment in the people who make up the brand."

    Chipotle also noted it gives employees plenty of opportunities to grow within the company. The chain, citing a sustainability report, said it promoted more than 13,600 people in 2018.

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    Source: Fox Business Network
  • 13 Jun 2019 1:35 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Andrew S. Winston

     May 07, 2019

    Where will we be in 2030?

    I don’t usually play the futurist game — I’m more of a “presentist,” looking at the data we have right now on fast-moving megatrends that shape the world today. But a client asked me to paint a picture of what the big trends tell us about 2030. And I’d say we do have some strong indications of where we could be in 11 years.

    The directions we go and choices we make will have enormous impacts on our lives, careers, businesses, and the world. Here are my predictions of how nine important trends will evolve by 2030 — listed in order roughly from nearly certain to very likely to hard to say.

    Nine Global Trends on the Horizon

    Demographics: There will be about 1 billion more of us, and we will live longer. The world should reach 8.5 billion people by 2030, up from 7.3 billion in 2015. The fastest growing demographic will be the elderly, with the population of people over 65 years old at 1 billion by 2030. Most of those new billion will be in the middle class economically, as the percentage of citizens in dire poverty continues to drop (a rare sustainability win). Even as the middle swells, however, the percentage of all new wealth accruing to the very top of the pyramid will continue to be a major, and destabilizing, issue. That said, the other megatrends, especially climate change, could slow or change the outcomes here.

    Urbanization: Two-thirds of us will live in cities. The urbanization of our populationswill increase, creating more megacities as well as small- and medium-size metropolises. Countervailing forces will include a rising cost of living in the most desirable cities. The effects will include the need for more big buildings with better management technologies (big data and AI that makes buildings much more efficient), and we will need more food moved in from where we grow it to where we eat it — or rapidly expand urban agriculture.

    Transparency: Our world will become even more open — and less private. It’s hard to imagine that the trend to track everything will be going anywhere but in one direction: a radically more open world. The amount of information collected on every person, product, and organization will grow exponentially, and the pressure to share that information — with customers and consumers in particular — will expand. The tools to analyze information will be well-developed and will make some decision-making easier; for instance, it will be easier to choose products with the lowest carbon footprints, highest wages for employees, and fewest toxic ingredients. But all these tools will shatter privacy in the process.

    Climate Crisis: The climate will continue to change quickly and feature regular, extreme weather everywhere. Yes, there’s still uncertainty about how everything will play out exactly, but not about whether the climate is changing dramatically and dangerously. Significant inertia in both atmospheric and economic/human systems allows for a more confident prediction of what will happen in just 11 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made clearhow critical it is to radically alter the path of carbon emissions to hold the world to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. But that’s not likely to happen with current levels of commitment in global governments: The important Paris climate accord of 2015, in theory, agrees to hold warming to 2 degrees Celsius. But in practice, what countries have committed to so far will only hold us to no more than 3 degrees of warming. By 2030, we are very likely to already be at or approaching the 1.5 mark.

    The results of climate change will be unrelenting. Many highly populated coastal areas will be in consistent trouble, as sea levels rise. The natural world will be much less rich, with drastic to catastrophic declines in populations of many species and major to total losses of ecosystems like coral. Droughts and floods will stress global breadbasket regions and shift where we grow major crops. The Arctic will be ice-free in the summer (this will allow ships to move freely in this region, which is technically good for shorter supply chains but a Pyrrhic victory at best). Between seas, heat, and shifts in water availability, mass migrations will likely have begun. By 2030, we will have much better clarity on how bad the coming decades after that point will be. We will know whether the melting of the major ice sheets will be literally inundating most coastal cities, and if we’re truly approaching an “Uninhabitable Earth” in our lifetimes.


    Resource Pressures: We will be forced to more aggressively confront resource constraints.To keep volumes of major commodities (such as metals) in line with economic growth, we will need to more quickly embrace circular models: sourcing much less from virgin materials, using recycled content and remanufactured products, and generally rethinking the material economy. Water will be a stressed resource, and it seems likely that many cities will be constantly in a state of water shortage. We will need more investment in water tech and desalination to help.

    Clean Tech: The transformation of our grid, our roadways, and our buildings to zero-carbon technology will be surprisingly far along. Here’s some good news: Due to continuing drops in the cost of clean technologies, renewable energy is dramatically on the rise, making up more than half the global new power capacity every year since 2015. By 2030, effectively no new additions of generating capacity will come from fossil-fuel-based technologies. Electric vehicles will be a large part of the transportation equation: While estimates about the share of EVs on the road by 2030 range from the teens to nearly 100% (assuming early retirement of internal combustion engines), nearly all sales of new vehicles will be EVs. This will be driven by dramatic reductions in the cost of batteries and strict legislation banning fossil-fuel engines. We will also see an explosion of data-driven technologies that make buildings, the grid, roadways, and water systems substantially more efficient.

    Technology Shifts: The internet of things will have won the day, and every new device will be connected. Proponents of the “singularity” have long projected that by around 2030, affordable AI will achieve human levels of intelligence. AI and machine learning will plan much of our lives and make us more efficient, well beyond choosing driving routes to optimize traffic. Technology will manipulate us even more than it does today — Russian interference in U.S. elections may look quaint. AI will create some new kinds of jobs but will also nearly eliminate entire segments of work, from truck and taxi drivers to some high-skill jobs such as paralegals and engineers.

    Global Policy: There’s an open question about how we’ll get important things done. I’m thinking specifically about whether global governments and institutions will be working in sync to aggressively fight climate change and resource pressures, and tackle vast inequality and poverty — or whether it will be every region and ethnic group for itself. Predicting politics is nearly impossible, and it’s hard to imagine how global policy action on climate and other megatrends will play out. The Paris Agreement was a monumental start, but countries, most notably the U.S., have lately retreated from global cooperation in general. Trade wars and tariffs are all the rage in 2019. It seems likely that, even more than today, it will be up to business to play a major role in driving sustainability.

    Populism: The rise of nationalism and radicalism may increase … or it won’t. Even less certain than policy is the support, or lack thereof, of the mass of people for different philosophies of governing. In recent years, populists have been elected or consolidated power in countries as varied as the U.S., Brazil, and Hungary. And yet, in recent weeks, citizens in countries like Turkey, Algeria, and Sudan have pushed back on autocracy. Will that trend continue?

    How Should Business Prepare?

    Laying out strategies for companies to navigate this likely future world is a book-length conversation. But let me suggest a few themes of action to consider:

    • Engage everyone in the sphere of the business world on climate. A dangerously changing climate is the biggest threat humanity has ever faced. But it’s not all set in stone … yet. Companies have an economic incentive and moral responsibility to work hard to reduce the damage as much as possible. Engage employees (stamp out climate denial), talk to consumers and customers about climate issues through your products, and change internal rules on corporate finance to make investment decisions with flexible hurdle rates that favor pro-climate spending. Most importantly, use influence and lobbying power to demand, at all levels of government, an escalating public price on carbon — and publicly admonish industry lobbying groups that don’t.
    • Consider the human aspect of business more. As new technologies sweep through society and business, the change will be jarring. Those changes and pressures are part of why people are turning to populist leaders who promise solutions. Business leaders should think through what these big shifts mean for the people that make up our companies, value chains, and communities.
    • Embrace transparency. To be blunt, you don’t have a choice. Each successive generation will expect more openness from the companies they buy from and work for.
    • Listen to the next generation. By 2030, the leading edge of millennials will be nearing 50, and they and Gen Z will make up the vast majority of the workforce. Listen to them now about their priorities and values.

    Predicting the future means projecting forward from what’s already happening, while throwing in expected inertia in human and natural systems. It can give us an impressionistic picture of the world of the future. Our choices matter a great deal, as individuals and through our organizations and institutions. Business, in particular, will play a large role in where the world goes. Employees, customers, and even investors increasingly demand that the role of business be a positive one.

    Look, we could all just wait and see where these historic waves take us. But I prefer that we all work proactively to ensure that a better, thriving future is the one we choose.

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    Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • 13 Jun 2019 1:00 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    By Don CharltonFounder,

    Student debt is contributing to the impression that Millennials act entitled. Here's how to turn their pressure to earn into a pressure to learn.

    When you're a fresh college graduate, you need to find the right employer and become good at interviewing. But above all, you're concerned with negotiating your first salary because, for many students, college debt is the first material debt we usually take on.

    Recently I was heartened to hear of the story of Robert Smith, a billionaire businessman who made the decision to give the entire 2019 graduate class of Morehouse College an incredible gift: repaying all of their student loans.

    As I read the story, a few numbers stuck out that weren't surprising, but still shocking to see: A graduating class of just 400 students owed a whopping $40 million in school loans. That an average $100,000 per student, with students who likely owe much less or more. This astronomical number got me thinking.

    For some reason, we haven't given Millennials the right to factor in their financial situation when managing their career.

    I remember when I graduated from college that my final student loan tally came to about $22,000, which was much higher than the 1999 average of just over $15,000. Despite my higher than average debt, taking on $100,000 in student debt was typically only something aspiring doctors did.

    So when you combine today's Millennial being indebted an average of over $37,000 (nearly 150 percent more than my college years), the Great Recession hitting right when Millennials entered the workforce, and the fact that all this century's wage gains have been wiped out by inflation, it becomes clear that Millennials are entering the workforce with a much higher school debt-to-income ratio. The school loan payments of today are the mortgage payments of yesterday.

    When I started my first company, a recruiting software startup, I was employing many Millennial-aged workers, and like other managers and employers, I felt they were asking about promotions and salary increases far too soon and too often. Media stories about the entitled Millennial generation reinforced the stereotype.

    This entitled attitude is no doubt true sometimes, but I think we need to have more empathy when examining the economics that Millennials face today, and how that impacts their feelings about upward mobility.

    These awkward conversations with thirty-something employees are not going away, so here's a few strategies you should employ in order to turn Millennial ambition into both employee and employer success.

    1. Try to have a candid conversation about salary.

    Like most people, Millennials equate better titles with better salaries, so they clumsily engage their employer and managers about the timing and logistics of promotion. Millennials are new at negotiating bumps to their salary or title, so they're probably going to approach it in a way that seems out of place.

    Before you call your Millennial employee a spoiled brat, first try asking them to be candid if they are more concerned about a bigger title or bigger income. If their desire for promotion has mostly to do with improving their salary, you'll feel relieved they aren't simply acting entitled, but rather eager to get help mapping professional growth to financial gain.

    2. Create salary bands for your roles.

    When a company simply gives you a salary and title, you have no idea what getting a raise looks like, so many Millennials automatically gravitate to title promotions. Ambitious Millennial employees will want to know what triggers the next salary bump. To make sure employees don't only equate better salaries with bigger titles, your company should create two to three salary bands for every position.

    Each band should come with a clear description of expected experience, tenure, and performance. You can leverage these bands to create incentives for the Millennial to achieve certain milestones or performance without getting into job promotion until it's truly warranted. Each band provides a guidepost for your Millennial earning that next few hundred dollars per month while staying in the same job.

    3. Create a roadmap for the employee promotion.

    Using a spreadsheet or employee engagement software, define the employee's next desired position, outlining the skills and responsibilities required of that role. Commit to coaching the employee on the skills and measuring skill attainment proactively.

    Ideally, you should continue to assign responsibilities from the new role to your employee, adding to their skills set gradually. This model ensures they feel tangible efforts towards helping their career move forward, while keeping the conversation about promotion honest and tied to performance.

    Millennials are now the majority of the U.S. workforce, so now is the time to stop looking at them as spoiled and entitled, and start seeing them as a generation of workers deeper in debt and in need of your guidance as to how they can accelerate their careers and earn more money. If you create a culture where Millennials are only as patient as their performance gains, everyone wins.

    PUBLISHED ON: JUN 12, 2019

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  • 10 Jun 2019 7:29 AM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Forbes Human Resources Council experts share their best advice for aligning department and company-wide goals for unified success.


    Expert Panel, Forbes Human Resources Council

    Jun 5, 2019

    Strategic management planning is a vital process for every business, and making sure each department understands how their achievements fit into the bigger picture is equally important. As a key player in the smooth running of the company, the human resources team needs to ensure its own goals are in constant alignment with the company’s goals as a whole.

    In order to do this, HR managers should be taking proactive steps to check in on if their team’s policies and processes are paving the way for other departments to succeed as well. But how can managers go about this? Eight Forbes Human Resources Council experts share their suggestions on how HR managers can best align human resources goals with the greater company’s goals.

    1. Be Industry And Business Savvy

    Human resources should not exist in isolation to merely manage processes. If HR is not business savvy, then how can we help the organization reach its goals? The answer is that we cannot. As HR leaders, we need to understand our companies and industries and be knowledgeable of business in general—finance in particular. Only then will we be poised and ready to align HR and organizational goals. - Lucy Rivas-EnriquezUnion Rescue Mission - Los Angeles

    2. Communicate With All Departments

    Taking the time to visit with the leaders of each department will help to ensure they are on the right track to achieving success. Listening to leaders explain their processes and goals will help the HR manager determine if they are aligned with the overall company goals. The HR manager will have an opportunity to ask questions, gather information, make an assessment and provide recommendations. - Debi BliazisChampions School of Real Estate

    3. Be In Tune With Changes

    HR's goals need to support the achievement of the overall organization's needs, with measurements of success aligning with the company's strategic goals. A key part of successfully executing the strategic HR plan is to be in tune with the changing needs of the business. HR must be ready to evaluate, pivot and adjust, if needed, to meet the needs of the business. - Alina ShafferLivingHR, Inc.

    4. Assess the Staff's Overall Skills

    The HR manager must first assess the skills of the staff to ensure that each department can deliver on their goals. If you discover skill gaps, find training to close them. Also, forecast future staff and training needs, so when you hire new employees they can onboard quickly and start working. Often the buffer between staff and management, HR is uniquely qualified to align all company goals. - Cameron BishopSkillPath

    5. Host A Work Session With Department Heads

    Host a session for department heads where an executive reviews company goals and then outline steps for translating the company goals into departmental goals. Within the session, allow time for department heads to set at least one goal for their teams. Finish by having department heads work in groups of two to three to share their goals and gather input from one another. - Rachel ErnstReflektive

    6. Consider The Company Mission And Vision

    HR managers need to use the organization’s mission and vision as a litmus test when ensuring department goals align with company goals. Does the goal support the achievement of the mission and vision? Can it be articulated as such? HR should help leaders ensure goals are clear, concise and aligned up, down and across levels and departments, creating shared accountability and clear expectations. - Dr. Kelly LumHighgate

    7. Compare HR And Business Metrics

    Establish key HR metrics that are tracked every quarter and reported to stakeholders. Make sure those HR metrics are tightly connected to other business metrics. Show how they are critical leading indicators for the success of your business. Consider metrics like well-being, employee engagement, diversity, and turnover. - Laura HamillLimeade

    8. Focus On Increasing Retention

    One of the primary goals for businesses is to reduce operational costs. HR leaders can help ensure their goals align in this area by focusing on decreasing turnover and increasing retention. Based on the cost of replacing an employee—about 16 percent of annual salary for lower paying jobs and 213 percent for executives—HR can contribute to the company’s bottom line by conducting employee satisfaction surveys. - John FeldmannInsperity

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    Source: Forbes

  • 05 Jun 2019 2:55 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)

    Health Savings Account Limits for 2020

    Annually adjusted contribution limits and other requirements must be met if you're covering health care costs with an HSA in 2020.

    By ROCKY MENGLE, Tax Editor 
    May 29, 2019

    For many people, health savings accounts (HSAs) offer a tax-friendly way to pay medical bills. You can deduct your contributions to an HSA (even if you don't itemize), contributions made by your employer are excluded from gross income, earnings are tax free and distributions aren't taxed if you use them to pay qualified medical expenses. Plus, you can hold on to the account past your working years and use it tax-free for medical expenses in retirement. All-in-all, HSAs can be a great tool for covering your health care costs.

    There are, however, a few HSA limitations and requirements that are adjusted for inflation each year. They apply to the minimum deductible for your health insurance plan, your annual out-of-pocket expenses and the amount you can contribute to an HSA for the year. If you're not in compliance with the restrictions in place for any particular year, then you can say goodbye to the HSA tax savings for that year.

    To contribute to an HSA, you must be covered under a high deductible health plan. For 2020, the health plan must have a deductible of at least $1,400 for self-only coverage ($1,350 for 2019) or $2,800 for family coverage ($2,700 for 2019).

    The health plan must also have a limit on out-of-pocket medical expenses that you are required to pay. Out-of-pocket expenses include deductibles, copayments and other amounts, but don't include premiums. For 2020, the out-of-pocket limit for self-only coverage is $6,900 ($6,750 for 2019) or $13,800 for family coverage ($13,500 in 2019). According to the IRS, only deductibles and expenses for services within the health plan's network should be used to determine if the limit applies.

    Finally, your contributions to an HSA are limited each year, too. You can contribute up to $3,550 in 2020 if you have self-only coverage or up to $7,100 for family coverage ($3,500 and $7,000, respectively, for 2019). If you're 55 or older at the end of the year, you can contribute an extra $1,000 in 2020 (same as in 2019). However, your contribution limit is reduced by the amount of any contributions made by your employer that are excludable from your income, including amounts contributed to your HSA account through a cafeteria plan.

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    Source: The Kiplinger Washington Editors

  • 30 May 2019 5:42 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    May 30, 2019

    Dive Brief:

    • An estimated 3.6% of workers employed by small businesses clients — those with one to 49 employees — of payroll service provider Paychex would be newly eligible for overtime pay under the U.S. Department of Labor's recently proposed update to overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), according to Paychex data.
    • The proposed rule would raise the FLSA's standard salary threshold for executive, professional and administrative white-collar workers from $23,660 a year ($455 a week) to $35,308 a year ($679 a week). Per Paychex's analysis, the five industries with the highest percentage of businesses employing workers who would gain overtime eligibility include educational services (30.2%), accommodation and food services (24.9%), arts, entertainment and recreation (22.4%), wholesale trade (22.4%), and retail trade (22%).
    • On a national scale, 19.5% of small business Paychex clients would be affected by the new rule, according to the data. Regionally, the South has the highest percentage of both business clients (23.2%) and employees (4.3%) affected.

    Dive Insight:

    The Labor Dept.'s proposed overtime rule is significantly lower than the $47,476 mark proposed by the Obama administration. That figure would have effectively doubled the number of eligible U.S. workers, and small businesses opposed it heavily before it was later enjoined by a federal judge.

    Public comments from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which stated its support for the Trump administration's update, indicate the $35,308 a year threshold may generate a more positive reaction from the private sector. But even SHRM added a few suggestions for DOL, including that the department reconsider a proposed increase for the highly compensated employee exemption and give employers at least 120 days to implement final rules.

    But the issue of implementing the new rules could give some employers pause. Alfred B. Robinson, an Ogletree Deakins​' shareholder and former acting administrator of DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD), previously told HR Dive he anticipates the proposal's implementation to occur in the latter half of 2019, which he said could be challenged by legal actions. Furthermore, the Obama administration's enjoined rule is technically still in play, according to another ex-acting administrator of WHD, Littler Mendelson shareholder Tammy McCutchen. A delay in DOL's implementation process — which McCutchen called "very squished" — could mean more change in the event that a new administration captures the White House.

    Politics aside, experts have advised HR leaders not to wait for the final rule before creating an action plan. Priorities for employers can include auditing the job duties of workers to ensure they're properly classified, as well as deciding how to handle projected pay increases.

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    Source: HR Dive
  • 30 May 2019 5:39 PM | Bill Brewer (Administrator)


    Valerie Bolden-Barrett


    May 30, 2019

    Dive Brief:

    • More than 60% of 18- to 34-year-olds said their productivity at work suffers due to stress over poor work-life balance or unrealistic professional demands, according to a new survey from Mental Health America (MHA) and Total Brain.
    • More than a third of the 1,000 Americans surveyed said emails, text messages and social media updates helped make them mentally unproductive at work. Half of respondents said they feel "severely or moderately mentally fatigued" by stressors currently affecting their lives.
    • "With work being such an integral part of a person's life, we can't ignore the mental health implications," MHA President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo said in a news release. "At MHA, we know it's so important for workplaces to consider physical AND mental health, and these results indicate that more employers need to pay attention to both."

    Dive Insight:

    Findings from recent research continue to indicate that mental health issues are impacting the workplace. Employers must recognize work as a common source of stress; in a 2018 netQuote study, 60% of workers said their jobs stressed them out. A more recent study from on-demand behavioral health provider Ginger found that most workers (83%) experience some form of stress once a week, but many cannot access proper care to treat their stress.

    This may pose a big problem to workers, who identified jobs, health and finances as their biggest worries in a recent Colonial Life study. As employers grapple with what appears to be an increasingly stressed out workforce, they also must cope with a costly decline in productivity. The same Colonial Life study estimated employers lose billions of dollars in productivity due to workers who are disengaged or otherwise unproductive due to stress.

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    Source: HR Dive

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