Regulatory Compliance – A Black Cat Crossing Your Business’ Path

It seems as though every year the Federal and State governments are adding more acts, mandates, and laws to the business of employment. As a small to mid-sized business, you probably don’t have the time to keep up with the names of all of the new ones, let alone how they can impact you as an employer. Large corporations have complete in-house HR departments and legal departments that work at not only keeping up with the new regulations, but also keeping their corporations in compliance. Are you that lucky? Often times an employer can feel overwhelmed by the addition of regulations, and a bit apprehensive as if a black cat keeps crossing their path and they are just waiting for the bad luck of fines and work interruption from non-compliance to present itself.

black-catHR Strategies focuses on keeping you compliant by working as your off-site HR department, with the back-up of legal counsel from one of our strategic partners, Jackson Lewis, which is one of the largest law firms specializing in workplace law. HR Strategies team can help you reduce the fear of the black cat of regulatory compliance and your risk and vulnerabilities to Federal, State, Local and Professional Regulatory changes. We keep pace with changing governmental requirements that affect your business and help you stay compliant. By relieving your stress of whether or not the black cat (of regulatory compliance) crossing your path on Halloween, or any time of year, and worrying if you are in compliance, we give you the ability to focus on the aspects of your company for which you went into business, while we handle the behind the scenes issues. Click HERE or on the picture above to learn more about how HR Strategies can help you stay complaint.

Hidden Skeletons in Your Closet?

Drug Screening, Verification, & New Hire Candidate Assessment Tools

Nick Fishman, chief marketing officer and executive vice president for employeescreenIQ in Cleveland, OH, notes that his firm “finds a 56 percent discrepancy rate between what candidates claim about their past employment and academic credentials and what we find when we inquire.”

How are you checking for the skeletons in your employee candidates’ closets? A 56% discrepancy rate can be quite scary for a company. Are they really who they say they are in terms of education, qualifications, and experience? As the job market has become constrained due to the recession in recent years, there are more candidates available; more candidates trying to be “better” than the next. This has led to an increase in false information from candidates trying to put themselves ahead of the pack. The result is an influx of applicants who sometimes aren’t truly representing themselves in an honest way; leading to a workforce that might not be truly qualified for the positions in which they were hired for. An unqualified workforce can lead to a realm of nightmares in the employee, manager, and companies’ lifecycle. Making sure that you verify all information presented by candidates can greatly identify the skeletons that are hiding; allowing your business to find the best new employees. HR Strategies is proud to offer new hire assessment, drug screening, and a host of other verification tools to aid our clients in making the appropriate selection in candidates. To find out more about these services contact our representatives today at 770-339-0000.

Cobwebs Creeping Into Your HR Functions?

When was the last time you reviewed your policies and procedures? This may be a great first step to clear the HR Cobwebs for your business. As we enter recovery from the great recession, you may find your business in the position to acquire new talent. As you review your policies and procedures, take the time to do a comparison against other companies to ensure that you are competitive in the hiring process. Are your handbooks up-to-date? Or do they need to be updated with new policies and procedures from when they were first created?

To remain competitive in hiring new employees, maybe it’s time you looked at your benefits package? Are you offering the best package you can? When attracting new employees, a good benefits package can be just as important as salary. HR Strategies can help you offer a premium benefits package to your employees, while keeping you in compliance with benefit regulations. Speaking of being in compliance, when was the last time you looked to make sure that all of your Notice of Employee Rights and other postings, required by law, were up to date?

The recession brought about many changes in job duties for many of us. Some employees took on additional roles, some moved up in the ranks, and some have moved down in rank. Now is a good time to review your written job descriptions, to make sure that they are accurate. While taking the time to do so, why not also review compensation policies. With new job descriptions written out, do you see where an employee/job may not be compensated properly? Does an increase need to be in the works? Or have the job duties decreased, and a decrease in salary needs to be implemented?

HR Strategies provides all the solutions and consulting you need to be able to clear the HR Cobwebs out of your businesses HR functions. Give us a call today; so that we can start ridding your company of HR cobwebs!

Call us Today at 770-339-0000

Are Ghost Employees Haunting Your Bottom Line?

ghost employeA ghost employee is one who exists on paper but does not exist in the workplace. Ghost employee practices can cost employers hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. Ghost employee frauds effect the bottom line of businesses just as any other type of theft does; and can occur in many different ways. Some of the most common ghost employee practices are:

  • Payroll clerk adds a non-existent (ghost) employee into the payroll system, sets up a direct deposit account for the ghost employee, and then uses the funds for themselves.
  • Payroll clerk leaves terminated employees on payroll so that he/she can keep the former employees paycheck for personal use.

Some ghosts actually do exist; just not to the number of hours that you are led to believe they do. Common practices for ghost employment hours are:

  • Workers show up at the job site, clock in and then go off site. They are clocked in, but not actually working. These are ghost hours.
  • Ghost employees can also clock in at multiple locations, charging you for hours worked at two places during the same time frame of hours.

So how do you avoid these haunting schemes? HR Strategies can help in identifying payroll processes and controls to avoid ghost employees. Our HR Consultants and Payroll Specialists are here to answer any of your questions and concerns regarding Ghost Employees.

For assistance, call us today at 770-339-0000

Make A Difference

When communities prosper, everyone benefits.

Tomorrow marks the 24th annual Make A Difference Day, the nation’s largest day of community service.

“Make A Difference Day is about giving back to your community and serving others,” said seven-time Grammy winner Usher, who promotes service through his New Look Foundation. “One voice joined by another is the start of a movement.”

The HR Strategies staff knows that there is an understood communal agreement between community and business, and that philanthropy leads to community building. We are proud to support both local and national charities, knowing that it is our corporate responsibility to give back to the community where we work and live. Last year, our staff’s philanthropic efforts with corporate match raised over $9,000. We proudly sponsor and engage with the American Cancer Society, St. Jude, and the Quinn House.

Yes, Philanthropy is imperative to HR Strategies, and when communities prosper, everyone benefits. To find out more about the charities we support please visit our Philanthropy page by clicking here.

We encourage all of our readers to take part in Make A Difference Day!

Toy Donations to The Quinn House Internal Employees 

Final angel tree 2013

HR Strategies Employees with their families at St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk.

St Jude Pic

HR Strategies’ Relay For Life Team at Gwinnett Relay

Relay For Life 2013

The Affordable Care Act – Did you know?

single-ribbon-pink-1121367-mOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2010, covers mammograms for women over age 40? Under the health care reform law, certain preventive services must be covered without cost-sharing, including mammograms. This benefit applies to both fully insured and self-funded plans that are non-grandfathered plans. While grandfathered plans are not required to implement these changes, some grandfathered plans have chosen to offer preventive care services, such as mammograms, at no cost-share.

Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.

The American Cancer Society is actively fighting breast cancer by helping women get tested to find breast cancer earlier, and helping them understand their treatment options and cope with the physical and emotional side effects. The American Cancer Society has played a role in nearly every breast cancer breakthrough in recent history. Their staff, of full-time researchers, produces detailed analyses of breast cancer trends and investigates the links between lifestyle and breast cancer. They also fund external researchers dedicated to finding better ways to prevent, detect, and treat the disease, and improve the quality of life of breast cancer patients and survivors.

HR Strategies is proud to be able to support the American Cancer Society, through our participation in the Gwinnett Relay for Life every May. Relay for Life events comprise the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Every year, the Relay for Life movement raises more than $400 million worldwide.

We encourage all of you to support the American Cancer Society and to get your mammograms!

What is Diversity?

October is Diversity Awareness Month, but what exactly is Diversity in regards to the workplace?

Closeup of business people standing with hands togetherAccording to the DOL, “Although the term is often used to refer to differences among individuals such as ethnicity, gender, age and religion, diversity actually encompasses the infinite range of individuals’ unique attributes and experiences.” Dimensions of diversity can also include physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital status, military experience, parental status, work experience, job classification, and so much more.

Many of the attributes that make a workforce diverse are covered by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in regards to fair employment practices and procedures. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older) disability or genetic information. Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by the EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). The laws apply to all types of work situations including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

While equal opportunity employment focuses on employment practices, the concept of diversity in the work place is much broader and extends to the work environment. In the context of the workplace, valuing diversity means creating a workplace that respects and includes differences, recognizing the unique contributions that individuals make. Workplace diversity values everyone’s differences. It is about learning from each other regardless of our cultural background, and bringing those differences and experiences to broaden our knowledge. Managing diversity focuses on maximizing the ability of all employees to contribute to organizational goals. Affirmative action focuses on specific groups because of historical discrimination, such as people of color and women. Affirmative action emphasizes legal necessity and social responsibility; managing diversity emphasizes business necessity. In short, while managing diversity is also concerned with underrepresentation of women and people of color in the workforce, it is much more inclusive and acknowledges that diversity must work for everyone.

Do you believe in the golden rule: treat others as you want to be treated? This assumes that how you want to be treated is how others want to be treated. But what if we consider the diversity in different cultures, etc.? What does respect look like? It may not be the same for everyone. While making eye contact may be the respectful thing to do in one culture, it may be a sign of disrespect in another.

Maybe instead of using the golden rule, we should use the platinum rule which states: “treat others as they want to be treated.” But how do we know what different groups or individuals need? Having a workplace culture of inclusivity allows for those questions to be asked and answered in a respectful atmosphere.

Many people think that “fairness” means “treating everyone the same.” How well does treating everyone the same work for a diverse staff? For example, when employees have limited English language skills or reading proficiency, even though that limit might not affect their ability to do their jobs, transmitting important information through complicated memos might not be an effective way of communicating with them. While distributing such memos to all staff is “treating everyone the same,” this approach may not communicate essential information to everyone. A staff member who missed out on essential information might feel that the communication process was “unfair.” A process that takes account of the diverse levels of English language and reading proficiency among the staff might include taking extra time to be sure that information in an important memorandum is understood. Such efforts on the part of supervisors and managers should be supported and rewarded as good management practices for working with a diverse staff. (University of California at Berkeley)

As this suggests, workplace diversity can provide tremendous benefits in terms of improved morale, outside-the-box thinking, greater teamwork, and an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect.

How Well Do You Manage Diversity?

  • Do you test your assumptions before acting on them?
  • Do you believe there is only one right way of doing things, or that there are a number of valid ways that accomplish the same goal? Do you convey that to staff?
  • Do you have honest relationships with each staff member you supervise? Are you comfortable with each of them? Do you know what motivates them, what their goals are, how they like to be recognized?
  • Are you able to give negative feedback to someone who is culturally different from you?
  • When you hire a new employee, do you not only explain job responsibilities and expectations clearly, but orient the person to the department culture and unwritten rules?
  • Do you rigorously examine your existing policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that they do not differentially impact different groups? When they do, do you change them?
  • Are you willing to listen to constructive feedback from your staff about ways to improve the work environment? Do you implement staff suggestions and acknowledge their contribution?
  • Do you take immediate action with people you supervise when they behave in ways that show disrespect for others in the workplace, such as inappropriate jokes and offensive terms?
  • Do you have a good understanding of isms such as racism and sexism and how they manifest themselves in the workplace?
  • Do you ensure that assignments and opportunities for advancement are accessible to everyone?

If you were able to answer yes to more than half the questions, you are on the right track to managing diversity well. (University of California, San Francisco)

If you have questions or concerns regarding either Diversity or the laws and regulations in regards to affirmative action or the EEOC, please contact our HR/Client Service Reps at 770-339-0000.

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