Author Archives: CorpStrat News

8 Strategies for Keeping Your Key Employees Engaged in 2019

Employee who is engaged working at new job

According to Gallup, 51% of employees are looking for a new job, and 68% of employees believe they are overqualified for the job they have. Even engaged employees are job hunting at an alarming rate—37%. Employees surveyed said they want to do what they do best, while maintaining a good work-life balance.

Providing perks is nice, and can encourage retention, although, providing an assortment of standout perks alone won’t keep employees long-term – unless, however, those perks meet essential employee needs.

Therefore, we’ve compiled the best tips on how to retain employees and meet their needs. Above all, remember why they became your employees, to begin with—they have wants and needs, and employment with your business enables them to meet those wants and needs.

Meeting both the employee and employer needs creates a solid basis for long-term collaboration and shared success. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Open the floor to discussion with your employees about what knowledge, skills, and resources they think would help them do their job better or make additional contributions to the organization. By involving employees in the discussions and decisions made about what trainings they receive, you help them gain a sense of ownership over their work.


  1. Provide coaching and training opportunities that bring value to your organization and the professional development of your employees. Certifications may make your workers more employable elsewhere, but it prepares them for a better future working for you. You can increase the likelihood that your employees will use the training they receive for your benefit by giving them opportunities to put what they’ve learned to use and rewarding them when the new skills and extra effort pays off.


  1. Involve employees in organization initiatives that make use of their training or teach them new ones. Not only will this help prevent their jobs from becoming too monotonous, but they will also gain valuable experience and form a connection to the organization that goes beyond job duties.


  1. Make work meaningful and highlight the good that your organization and employees do. This is especially important if the job duties of an employee feel mundane or uninspiring. If you’re compensating someone to do a job, that job is essential to the mission of your organization. And that mission has value. Make sure employees know that their tasks, however repetitive or unexciting, matters.


  1. Show your appreciation and gratitude. Recognize workers for a job well done when they accomplish goals. This goes without saying but people want to feel appreciated, that they’re important, and that they’re involved in valuable work. You can help fulfill these wants and needs.


  1. Encourage social interactions among workers. While money might be the primary reason people get jobs, it’s not the only People tend to seek social connections and enjoy interacting with others on a daily basis. They like doing things with other people, and the workplace can be a great place to make friends, build community, and collaborate on a meaningful enterprise.


  1. Offer bonuses when your company meets its financial goals and when employees meet their individual and team goals. It’s important to motivate your people to be more engaged and productive. By rewarding hard-working employees with a tangible return on their investment, you are investing in your most important assets, your people.


  1. If feasible, offer raises to account for cost-of-living increases, job performance, and individual accomplishments. Like bonuses, raises encourage efficient and productive work by rewarding it. If you’re unable to offer substantial raises or bonuses, the non-monetary rewards mentioned or bonuses above become all the more useful and important.

There’s no guarantee that every hire will be the right fit and stay with your company as long as you’d like, but you can help improve retention and meet employee needs—to cut down on its costs—by remaining useful to your employees.

Your employees want to succeed in their professions as much as you do in your business. By aligning their individual success and skill set with your organizational success, you give them a huge incentive to stay, improve their skills, and put their strengths to good use in your organization.

team helping business grow

Employment Laws Every Growing Organization Should Know About

team helping business grow

Periods of growth are particularly exciting for small and midsize businesses, but they also bring new HR challenges. Along with adding employees—which may change the feel of your culture as well as your floorplan—your organization may become subject to federal and state laws that take effect once you have a certain number of employees.

Most employment laws apply to organizations based on the number of people they employ, so as you grow, it’s vital to keep up-to-speed on any laws that newly apply or will soon apply to your organization.

Federal Laws

To understand the scope of many of the federal laws discussed below, employers need to know the definition of discrimination. In the context of employment law, discrimination means taking any adverse (or negative) action against an employee. Adverse action includes but isn’t limited to the following:
– Failure to hire
– Failure to train or offer an opportunity
– Failure to promote
– Failure to offer an accommodation required by law or offered to a peer
– Offering a lower wage or salary than to a peer
– Offering fewer benefits than to a peer (e.g. vacation, 401(k), bonuses, covered expenses)
– Taking more aggressive disciplinary action, including any of the above, than with a peer
– Reducing pay or benefits
– Transferring to a less desirable position, shift, or location
– Demotion
– Termination

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – 15 employees
The ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities from unlawful employment discrimination and requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals unless doing so would place an undue burden on the employer.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – 15 employees
Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex. Note that a number of courts have ruled that sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces Title VII, also operates as if sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) – 15 employees
The PDA amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to specifically protect individuals from discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or any related medical conditions. It defines pregnancy as a temporary disability for which reasonable accommodations are required.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) – 15 employees
GINA makes it unlawful for employers, employment agencies, unions, and training programs to discriminate against an individual because of genetic information. Genetic information most commonly comes to an employer as family medical history, but it also includes DNA information acquired through testing.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – 20 employees
The ADEA prohibits discrimination against those 40 and older as well as age preferences or limitations in both posting and practice. It forbids mandatory retirement ages except for certain executives and high policymakers who are over 65 and entitled to deferred compensation of a minimum dollar amount per year.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – 50 employees
FMLA allows qualified employees to take job-protected leave to care for themselves or a close family member with a serious health condition. It also prohibits discrimination or retaliation against employees for taking leave under the Act.

Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – 50 full-time equivalents
The Employer Mandate requires employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (30+ hours per week) to offer minimum essential health coverage at an affordable rate to all full-time employees.

State Laws
Some states are heavy regulators (think West Coast and Northeastern states, in particular), while others are content to add little to what is required by federal law. The laws below are either relatively common or gaining steam in state legislatures, so they should be on your radar. We can help you learn about them and other applicable laws in the state or states you operate in.

Additional Protected Classes – Varying employee counts
Many states have their own civil rights laws that looks much like Title VII, but often take effect at a lower employee count and include additional protected classes. Some of the most commonly added protections are for sexual orientation, arrest records, off-duty use of legal products, consumer debt garnishment, credit information, and marital status.

Pregnancy Accommodation Expansions – Varying employee counts
These laws require that employers provide specific workplace accommodations, even if the employee isn’t suffering from a pregnancy-related disability. Many of the accommodations must be provided without a doctor’s note, such as additional food and water breaks, seating, and reasonable lifting restrictions. Employers may still ask for a note for other accommodations, such as flexible scheduling or light duty, but an employee will not need to prove that they are disabled. Employers do not need to provide accommodations if doing so would create an undue hardship, but the significant difficulty or expense standard for undue hardship is hard to meet.

Paid Sick Leave – Varying employee counts
The paid sick leave laws passed so far share some common elements. Notably, employers are typically required to offer at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 or 40 hours worked, and employees can use their leave to care for themselves or a family member (most states also allow the time to be used in case of domestic or sexual violence). The laws vary most—though still not dramatically—with respect to which employees are eligible and when, and what kind of documentation can be required to prove that employees used the leave for a permissible purpose. Some states allow smaller employers to provide unpaid leave.

Criminal History Inquiry Bans – Varying employee counts
Often referred to as “Ban the Box,” these laws prohibit employers from asking about criminal history either until an interview is scheduled or a contingent job offer is made to the candidate. There may also be specific notice requirements if an employer decides not to hire an applicant because of their criminal history.

Salary History Inquiry Bans – Usually all employers
These laws prohibit employers from inquiring about a candidate’s current or previous wages, whether directly or through a third party. Some salary history inquiry bans are stand-alone laws, while others are part of larger equal pay acts.

Social Media Privacy – Usually all employers
Most of these laws share some themes. First, they prohibit employers from requiring or requesting that employees or applicants disclose their login credentials. Second, the laws say employers can’t require or request that an employee or applicant access their personal social media in the employer’s presence or add the employer (or one of their employees) to their contacts or friends list. Third, the laws prohibit retaliation or failure to hire should an applicant or employee refuse such requests for access.

Top 5 Resolutions for HR in the New Year

business owner taking note of HR department new year's resolutions

Another year is approaching and it’s time to start thinking about how to become more effective and efficient at work in 2019. We’ve compiled 5 new year’s resolutions for your HR department to consider in the new year, so you don’t have to.

Improve the digital expertise in your HR team

Having the most advanced HR software available is fruitless unless you know how to maximize it. A recent report found that just 23% of HR managers felt their HR leadership were successful at exploiting the opportunities offered by digital technology.

Another report found that only 8% of HR respondents had usable data and only 9% fully understood the elements of HR that drive performance. HR Directors need to fill knowledge gaps in their department, either through recruitment or upskilling. Only then, can they properly harness technology and start reaping the true benefits of digital analytics.

Re-examine the way you deliver training and development

Traditional models of training are becoming obsolete as the skills needed in a digital age are constantly changing. Evolving technology is rendering skills obsolete faster than ever, so digital competencies must be constantly updated. It has never been easier to be left behind.

It’s important that HR Directors adopt real-time learning and ongoing development programs to ensure that the workforce is prepared to succeed in a digital age. Traditional learning is becoming rapidly dated, and organizations are turning to new tools that provide better content, videos, and mobile learning solutions.

Adopt a more flexible workforce model

The movement away from old-fashioned “time for hours” continues to gain pace.

New research suggests that this trend for agile workforce models will increase flexibility in the coming year. Expect to see a steady increase in remote, part-time or freelance workers. This is in direct contrast to California’s recent laws interpreting the way that independent contractor is classified.

Offering this type of flexibility will be key to attracting and retaining high performers. Studies have actually shown that work/life balance programs can help retention and improve employee satisfaction, so it is a model that clearly reaps benefits.

Investigate SMART recruitment technology

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in HR is advancing in leaps and bounds and huge advances have been made in SMART recruitment software.

Additionally, predictive analytics is increasingly important to talent acquisition (TA), as sophisticated analytics teams begin to prioritize recruiting workflows, conduct workforce planning, evaluate different recruiting sources, assess the quality of hire, and use pre-hire assessments.

Not only do these technologies improve candidate experiences and candidate sourcing but they also benefit the employee brand as well. So being an early adopter of digital practices will help your business, improve its performance and prevent rivals from gaining a competitive advantage.

Consider gamification to improve business goals

It’s no surprise that a generation of workers who grew up on video games love gamification. It is now something that HR professionals are adopting to enhance everything from recruitment selection to the promotion of company culture.

Simple forms of gamification can offer employees a fun way to learn or engage in a digital sense. Like video games, the psychological reward associated with beating previous scores or improving at a game is a key driver in getting people to carry out what could otherwise be a mundane or uninteresting task. Gamification is a useful motivational tool for HR and something you should look at adopting in 2019.

California Puts up a Fight Against Association Health Plans

employer researching health insurance plans

California Ban

California is the first state to legislatively ban some of its residents from taking advantage of a Trump administration rule that expanded access to small business health plans. No associations seem to be the key to this legislature.

The state now bans sole proprietors from joining what’s known as cheap, short-term health insurance plans (association health plans). The plans were recently expanded under a Labor Department regulation that allows more small businesses, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors, to band together and buy-in on health plans as a large group. So far, they have yet to make inroads across the country.

The move by California will mean real estate agents, and others who operate as sole proprietors, won’t be able to join association health plans. The National Association of REALTORS is a major supporter of the DOL’s expansion of the plans.

California is one of a dozen states that went to court to sue the Labor Department, though the case is still pending.

For those who have been hoping to form association health plans, this CA law comes as a blow. For employers, it means more of the same and no new options for care or insurance.

History of Fraud

California’s law comes in response to years of fraud and insolvency it experienced with similar plans known as multiple employer welfare arrangements that were around before enactment of the ACA. Between 2000 and 2002, those plans left 200,000 people throughout the U.S. without coverage and racked up $252 million in unpaid bills, according to a 2004 Government Accountability Office report.

The move to ban said plans are part of a broad effort, at the state level, to dull actions by the Trump administration to untangle the federal health care law after President Donald Trump and Congress failed last year to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Finding dominance in an evolving industry is never easy. What should you invest in to make sure you keep up to date with the competition but also find a competitive edge?

CorpStrat can provide an outside perspective to help companies assess their internal operations in Insurance, Employee Benefits, HR, and Payroll.

Contact us and we’ll be sure to get you on the right track and keep you up-to-date.

The Achilles Heel for Every Employer: Time & Attendance Tracking

Portrait of business woman holding up clock and tracking employee time and attendance

Is your time and attendance policy outdated? Is your employee time tracking inaccurate?

If you answered yes to these questions, then it might be time to take a closer look at your time and attendance policy and consider solutions that can have a positive impact on your business. With accurate time tracking, you could eliminate data errors, reduce overpayments, and limit time spent on related administrative and managerial tasks.

Employee Attendance by the Numbers

Ensuring your employees are working scheduled hours should be a key business objective. Still, it can be easy to overlook the hidden costs of attendance. A recent article on the costs of time theft revealed that:

  • About 75 percent of U.S. businesses are affected by time theft.
  • 43 percent of employees admit to some form of time theft.
  • 25 percent of employees report more hours than they actually worked, more than 75 percent of the time.
  • 45 percent of employees record time inaccurately.

Managing Various Forms of Time Theft

A common trend in time theft is “buddy punching”, which occurs when hourly, non-exempt employees, who record their time on a time clock, punch a co-worker in and out when that worker isn’t present. If a business relies on a punch time clock or paper time sheets, it can be relatively simple for one employee to record time or punch in on behalf of another employee.

There are other situations where employees may be under the impression that they are merely doing each other a favor. Your time and attendance policy should clearly state that buddy punching is strictly prohibited in the workplace.

Simple tardiness is another costly example. For instance, a non-exempt employee who is consistently 10 minutes late and works 20 days per month in a year can earn 40 hours of pay for time not worked annually. Ultimately, you are paying that employee for a week of time that was not spent creating value for your business.

Addressing attendance problems quickly so they don’t turn into long-term issues is the best course of action. Increasingly, businesses are turning to state-of-the-art identification technology to combat the time-theft trend.

How to Prevent Time Theft

Creating a formal buddy punching policy can make all the difference. Your policy can even go as far as to set specific standards for passwords that make them harder to share or input by another coworker. Moreover, educate your staff to bring awareness to the dangers of sharing passwords. Inform them that sharing their timekeeping login could also mean sharing their personal data.

Bringing it All Together

It’s almost 2019 and employers need to deploy the most advanced and compliant tools to make sure they manage their most important assets, their people! Tools like online human resource technology now fully integrate with payroll to ensure accuracy, and they eliminate instances of paying for time not worked.

We encourage you to reach out to us and we’ll provide you with a fully integrated tool like HRIS and a Payroll platform to help streamline the entire process and more.

  • Posting jobs
  • Vetting applicants
  • Pre-screening and offerings, onboarding
  • Payroll
  • Monitoring credentials and licensing
  • Tracking logins and passwords
  • Integrate benefits and 401k enrollment
  • Track PTO and vacation eligibility make schedules, etc.