TruPay Human Resources Digest

Human Resources

Stock 0186Human resources strategies are key to achieving your organization's stated goals and objectives. Your company's success relies on the cooperation and support of employees and departments within the organization. HR ensures that initiatives required to maintain a happy, productive workforce are implemented in a timely and effective way. 

HR also keeps the organization compliant with laws relating to employees, salary, insurance and more. The laws and policies governing business are complex and can vary between jurisdictions, but HR has a key role to play in making sure that the organization is compliant and adaptable to today's ever changing regulatory environment. In the latest edition of the TruPay Human Resources Digest, we've included insightful and informative articles on this increasingly complex and critical subject. 

 

Human Capital Management Solutions: A Vital Tool in Today's Workplace

Human Capital Management SolutionsAs businesses continue to face obstacles and challenges in today’s industry, more and more employers are looking to make manual administrative tasks more precise, efficient, and seamless. Businesses considering automating processes such as payroll, human resources, and time and labor tasks are increasingly turning to Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions to get the job done. 

Even for small and mid-sized businesses, dated manual HCM processes are clumsy and inadequate. Specific challenges around changing labor laws, the rise of a workforce that increasingly expects to work with technology over paper, and the growing emphasis on employee engagement require businesses of all sizes to think beyond manual processes. 

Combatting Complex and Rigorous Labor Laws

With seemingly constant changes in labor laws affecting all businesses in every industry, it becomes virtually impossible to properly manage a workforce without the help of HCM automation. Spreadsheets, homegrown reports, and manual calculations are no match for the complexities of new labor law changes.

The Key to Employee Engagement

By simply automating HCM, businesses can stay competitive in their market, grow workforce productivity, and improve their overall bottom line. Features such as self-service functionality from onboarding to offboarding gives employees insight into HCM processes and allows them to take charge of their own information, giving them increased decision making abilities such as scheduling preferences, benefits administration, etc. Some HCM solutions even allow employees to keep track of their performance reviews and job training.

Accommodating a New-Age Workforce

It’s no secret that the faces of today’s workforce are noticeably changing. Millennials are entering the workplace in substantial numbers, already with a more advanced level of technological skill compared to their older counterparts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are now currently the largest population in the workforce today. Advanced technology allows millennials to access their real-time information wherever and whenever they want it and avoids disparate processes and stacks of unorganized documents. It allows employees to punch in and out anywhere, even on their mobile device, and it keeps a workforce in sync with scheduling changes, company updates, and more.

Use HR Metrics for a More Effective Business

HR MetricsMetrics are a key performance-measurement tool for many businesses. Companies use data from a variety of areas — finance, customer service, sales, and even human resources — to determine whether they are meeting their objectives and to guide crucial business decisions. HR metrics are useful for measuring an organization’s performance overall and for uncovering HR-related issues that can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line — for example, revenue per employee, benefits costs, and cost of employee turnover.

What is some key data that is useful for businesses?

  • General HR — May include revenue per employee, profitability, benefits costs, and employee counts (which can be important in determining which federal regulations and requirements apply to your client’s business).
  • Compensation — May include metrics such as pay range and compra-ratio (an employee’s salary divided by the market rate for their role), which can help a business identify and mitigate potential turnover risks.
  • Recruiting — These metrics focus on the costs of obtaining a new employee and could include advertising costs, agency fees, travel costs, and others. Tracking recruiting metrics can assist in determining the costs of hiring new employees versus retaining existing employees.
  • Turnover — Turnover metrics deal with the flow of employees into and out of an organization over a specific period of time and the costs associated with the loss of employees through retirement, terminations, and resignations.
  • Employee Engagement — Employee engagement metrics focus on the degree to which employees care about their jobs and are committed to the organization’s success. Such metrics are directly related to turnover, efficiency, and the business’s overall financial health.

HR Metrics

What is "Strategic HR" and How Can it Help Us?

Strategic HRStrategic HR is simply about focusing on the performance of each employee and the organization with direct measures to determine the success of your company's business strategy. Start by answering the following questions:

  • Do you need different knowledge, skills, and/or abilities from your workforce in order for the business to grow?
  • Do you clearly convey the expectations and the business value of each person's role in the company's direction?
  • Does Management address employee training and performance development well?
  • Do you have established programs to recognize and reward performance?
  • Do you consistently provide competitive market pay and benefits for the right sets of skills and competencies?
  • Does your company further minimize risk by remaining compliant to employment laws?

How can you apply strategic HR to your small business environment?  Strategic HR is not just for big corporations. Small businesses can also put this concept into motion. Some action items include: 

  • Create a succession plan in case the business leadership and/or ownership changes.
  • Find out how your top competitors get and keep their talent.
  • Develop a clear and accountable feedback process to support employees in their professional development (i.e. skills training, workshop seminars, coaching, etc.).

With strategic HR in mind, your goal is to ensure that the talent of all your employees line up with the company's business objectives. Accomplish this, and you're well on track to much greater success.

Keeping the I-9 Form Updated

I-9 FormWhen an employee changes their legal name, you are not required to update their I-9. However, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends maintaining correct information on I-9s. You can easily update an employee's I-9 by entering their new legal name in Box A of Section 3, and then sign, date and print your name on the final line. You can request documentation of the name change so you can update the I-9, but employees are not required to provide documentation for this purpose. There are also a few other tasks to complete:
  • Have the employee provide a copy of their updated Social Security card with the new name and use it to update their name in the payroll system; be sure they are identical to avoid SS mismatches
  • Have the employee complete a new W-4. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that the name on the Social Security card match the name on W-4 and W-2 forms
  • Update the employee's benefits paperwork. If the change is related to marriage or other qualifying event, the employee may also want to change elections or add or remove a spouse or dependent(s). This is also the best time to make changes to their beneficiary forms as needed.
  • If driving is one of their job duties, you may want to request an updated version of their Driver’s License for your records
  • Update company phone lists, email accounts, business cards, badges, uniforms, name plates, etc.

The I-9 FAQ

I-9 FAQWe receive a lot of questions about the I-9—the form used to verify the identity and employment authorization of all individuals hired for employment in the United States. We've compiled some of the most common into an I-9 FAQ:

1: How Should I-9s Be Stored?

Separately. We recommend that you keep all I-9s in either a separate master file or a three-ring binder. Because I-9 files are subject to unique record retention laws, a separate master file or three-ring binder will help ensure that you retain these forms for as long as necessary and that you can readily discard them after the retention period expires.

2: Are we required to make copies of the documents?

Usually not. Unless you participate in the E-Verify program, you’re not required to photocopy or scan documents for retention, and doing so is voluntary. 

3: Do Remote Employees Need to Provide Original Documentation?

Yes. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that all documents for completion of the I-9 be viewed in their original format, meaning that a fax or scan is not acceptable. The original documents must be in-hand of the company representative who is signing the form and reviewed in the presence of the employee.

4: Do All Workers Need to Complete the I-9?

No. Non-employees including volunteers, unpaid interns, independent contractors or employees of contractors should not complete an I-9, as none of these workers (if properly classified) are employees. Additionally, those hired before November 6, 1986, those hired for casual domestic work in a private home, and those who do not perform work on U.S. soil, do not need to complete an I-9.

5: If an Employee Changes Their Name or Address, Do We Need to Do Another I-9?

Usually not. Except for certain government contractors or in some situations involving use of fraudulent documents, employers do not need to update or complete a new I-9 when an employee changes their legal name or address. 

6: How Long Should We Store an I-9?

Quite a while. Form I-9s should be retained for the full length of an individual’s employment with you. Then, after employment has ended, they must be stored for 3 years after the date of hire, or 1 year after the date of termination, whichever date is later.

Investigating Employee Complaints

The Federal Equal Pay Act

Pay EquityThe federal Equal Pay Act went into effect in 1963, but it hasn’t brought an end to pay disparities between men and women. Neither have state laws with the same objective. Long story short: the laws weren’t strong enough, and they didn’t account for all the causes of unequal pay. In many cases, it has been possible for an employer to comply with these laws while still giving unequal pay for equal work. With the growing focus on pay equity, it's important to understand this important law.

The Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act makes it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment. Job duties, not job titles, will determine whether jobs are substantially equal. Each of the relevant factors are summarized below:

  • Skill is measured by factors such as the experience, ability, education, and training required to perform the job. The issue is what skills are required for the job, not what skills the individual employees may have. For example, two bookkeeping jobs would be considered equal even if one of the workers has a master's degree in physics, since that degree would not be required for the job.
  • Effort is the amount of physical or mental exertion needed to perform the job. For example, if employees are working side by side assembling machine parts, but the person at the end of the line must also lift the assembled product off the line, that job requires more effort than the other assembly line jobs. As a result, it would not be a violation to pay that person more, regardless of whether the job is held by a man or a woman.
  • Responsibility is the degree of accountability required in performing the job. For example, a salesperson who must decide whether to accept customers' personal checks has more responsibility than other salespeople. On the other hand, a minor difference in responsibility, such as turning out the lights at the end of the day, would not justify a pay differential.
  • Working Conditions encompass two factors: physical surroundings (like temperature, fumes, and ventilation) and hazards.
  • The prohibition against compensation discrimination under the EPA applies only to jobs within the same physical establishment. In some circumstances, physically separate places of business may be treated as one establishment. For example, if the corporate office hires employees, sets their compensation, and assigns them to separate work locations, the separate work sites may be considered part of one establishment.

Best Practices for Benchmarking Compensation Packages

Benchmarking CompensationOur clients often inquire as to whether their employee compensation and benefit packages are competitive with respect to current market conditions and industry standards. In fact, it is an HR best practice to evaluate the company’s compensation and benefit programs on an annual basis.

There are some universal items to consider when benchmarking compensation packages:

  • Consider the source of the data (organization size, industry, client profile, etc.)
  • Ensure the collection methodology is has produced results that are statistically credible (both valid and reliable)
  • Confirm that the information is geographically relevant to your organization
  • Check the data collection year for relevance
  • Ensure that the position titles and job descriptions closely align with those of your organization
  • Determine whether the survey includes the typical education and experience level for the reported data
  • Consider whether the survey is reporting the total compensation package or salary alone

When performed and filtered correctly, salary survey data can provide useful and actionable information to assist your organization in attracting and retaining top talent. So, find a benchmarking method that works for your company, and ensure that your compensation levels are where you want them to be.

Empoyee Engagement Report

Employee Engagement: Against All Odds

Employee EngagementIs Your Workforce Engaged?

Every organization strives for a workforce that is engaged, inspired, and motivated to perform at its best day in and day out. But what is the reality?

According to Gallup, only 13% of all employees worldwide today are engaged in their jobs — an alarming statistic given the importance of the workforce in fueling growth and meeting other key enterprise goals. Employees are typically an organization’s most vital (and expensive) asset, and when they are disen-gaged and/or disenfranchised, the ripple effects across the business can impact your profitability and branding.

Today’s engagement challenge is complicated by the fact that there are five generations co-existing in the workforce — Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials (Gen Y), and Gen Z (Gen 2020).

Fortunately, new human capital management (HCM) technologies are available today that can help you optimize employee engagement across all generations. Using this HCM tool set, you can create compelling work environments that make employees feel valued and treated fairly so they will give that extra discretionary effort to the organization — regardless of their ages, preconceived expectations, or generational legacies.

These HCM technologies combine the best of both worlds:

  • Ability to engage employees across multiple generations, taking into account each generation’s unique needs and expectations
  • Ability to “operationalize” employee engagement with tools that standardize HCM strategies and enforce policies that promote fairness, consistency, and efficiency across all employees and locations

With the advent of new human resources technologies, the employee engagement landscape is now changing. Organizations around the world are proactively leveraging these proven technologies to successfully drive a new dimension in employee engagement.

8 Ways Employee Handbooks Make Employee Onboarding Easier

Employee Handbooks1) Introduces Employees to the Organization’s Culture, Mission, and Values - Perhaps the most important aspect of your Employee Handbook is during employee onboarding when you introduce new employees to your corporate culture. This helps to foster a sense of pride and belonging, which studies show will help employees become more productive in a shorter period of time.

2) Communicates to Employees What is Expected of Them - A well-written handbook provides employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The handbook also serves as a compass for the organization’s policies and procedures. 

3) Educates Employees About What They Can Expect From Leadership - An employee handbook clarifies company objectives and leadership styles, as well as management best practices, to foster healthy management-employee relationships.

4) Helps Ensure Key Company Policies are Clearly and Consistently Communicated - No policy is effective if it is practiced inconsistently. A handbook will accurately communicate your organization’s policies regarding employment, conduct and behavior, compensation, and other policies and procedures your organization follows.

5) Showcases the Benefits the Organization Offers - Does your organization offer vacations, 401k, health insurance, paid parental leave, or other benefits to employees? Make sure they know about these policies and the eligibility requirements by communicating them in the handbook.

6) Ensures Compliance with Federal and State Laws - No matter what state you do business in, or how many employees you have, you will be subject to state and federal employment laws. Your handbook not only communicates these various entitlements and obligations to employees, but is useful in demonstrating that your organization strives to be compliant with these regulations.

7) Helps Defend Against Employee Claims - Unfortunately, employers should consider it a matter when, and not if, they will face a lawsuit or similar challenge from a current or former employee. When this happens, one of the most useful documents you can provide your attorney or third party investigator will be a copy of your handbook. 

8) Lets Employees Know Where to Turn for Help - A handbook can make employees feel comfortable turning to a trusted member of management for help when they want to report workplace violations, get workplace-related assistance, and get answers to any other questions they may have.

Employee Handbooks

Creating a Tolerant Workplace

Tolerant WorkplaceIn an effort to create more tolerant workplaces, tech giants like Google and Facebook have been training employees to recognize their unconscious biases. As the term implies, these biases are below the surface, unintended, and often undesired. They’re implicit rather than explicit.

Explicit biases are evident in what people say and do, and chances are those who have such prejudices are aware of them. Consequently, it’s relatively easy to see the connection between these individuals’ prejudices and their behavior in the workplace. Not so with implicit or unconscious biases. Without realizing it, we may prefer to associate with younger people rather than older people, or enjoy the company of women more than men, or react more amicably to people of our own race. More concerning: we may unconsciously associate one group with positive stereotypes and another group with negative ones. Recent studies in psychology suggest that we all have implicit biases and that these biases influence our decisions.

In the workplace, these implicit biases lead to micro-aggressions—small slights or offenses that may go mostly unnoticed, but can add up to systematic discrimination or even a hostile workplace culture. Research shows, for example, that resumes with white-sounding names are more likely to get callbacks than resumes with black-sounding names. And it’s not because companies have official policies or practices against hiring minorities; it’s the result of unconscious bias.

Some companies are trying to make their employees more aware of their unconscious biases by having them take implicit association tests. Alternatively, some companies are using hiring applications that hide identifying information so that race, gender, and other protected classes can’t be taken into account early in the interview process. While these indirect efforts won’t remove people’s unconscious biases, they may help mitigate their effects on employment decisions, thereby reducing discrimination in the workplace.

Disputing Unemployment Insurance Claims

Unemployment Insurance ClaimIf you have ever had to fire an employee, you should be prepared to pay for your now former-employee’s unemployment claim. If an employee walks out and therefore terminates employment voluntarily, you may still be required to pay for unemployment. Confusing? You bet.

For involuntary terminations, some of the criteria for eligibility for unemployment benefits includes:      

  • Became unemployed through no fault of his or her own (e.g. job elimination or reduction in force)
  • Earned sufficient wages with the company or during the claimant’s base year
  • Is available for new work
  • Is actively seeking work

An individual may become disqualified for unemployment benefits if he or she:

  • Was fired for misconduct or a clear violation of company policy
  • Quit without good cause (e.g. walking off the job because of a disagreement with a colleague)
  • Returned back to the same job to work
  • Turned down a suitable job offer during the unemployment period
  • Participated in a strike or work stoppage caused by a labor dispute
  • Received Social Security benefits, severance pay, workers’ compensation payments, state disability benefits, or a private pension
  • Made false claims or omitted information on his or her unemployment claim

The benefit to employers in defending the claim may result in the employer tax rate being lowered or not increased. Your employer unemployment tax rate is directly impacted by the number of successful claims charged to your account. If you do opt to dispute an unemployment claim, ensure you have gathered all records that may influence the denial or awarding of an unemployment claim and that all paperwork is also ready for the state unemployment agency in a timely manner.