Archive for the ‘HR Communications’ Category
Recent research reveals that technology is being applied intensively in the field of HR. Accordingly, many tasks are automated to ensure efficiency in the running of the day-to-day operations in a firm.
Technology and HR are complementary; one cannot replace the other. Although automation and AI can replace some of the roles of HR managers, some tasks are beyond the computer.
Your critical thinking skills and adaptation to different cases are among the essential skills which a machine can’t emulate.
As an HR manager, are you harnessing the power of technology to streamline and automate processes in your department? Here are five trends that redefine Human Resource Management.
1. Social media
Today, people continuously supply the internet with information on their personality, hanging out their dirty laundry for the world to see. During recruitment, you can quickly run background checks on your potential candidates, find out what views they hold and how they interact with people out there.
Behind a keyboard, people tend to feel invincible, and they let down their guard, letting us in on who they are. Social media serves as your x-ray machine to unmask your candidates.
You can further use social media to nurture relationships with employees, bolster communication within the workplace, and share industry knowledge.
2. Big Data and HR analytics
Data is the new gold, and HR is rapidly transforming into an information-driven function. With technology at your fingertips, you can apply big data to gain a more in-depth insight and make informed decisions within the firm. You can get a lot of information to assess potential employees. With big data, you make better risk management decisions. You can evaluate using employee-related data such as skills, performance ratings, age, safety records, educational background, etc. You can use this information to evaluate and improve practices such as employee acquisition, development, and retention.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI plays a critical role in the automation of talent acquisition. And, it eliminates bias and discrimination during screening. Its decisions are purely based on facts and algorithms. In addition to scanning through the thousands of resumes and sorting them, AI helps humanize the recruitment process by helping you spend more time interviewing only the strongest candidates. Machine Learning as a Service redefines every HR functionality when embedded within new HR technologies. Chatbots (automated chat exchanges), a common feature in modern websites, offer quick responses to simple questions, resulting in more efficiency.
4. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Whereas AI simulates human intelligence, RPA mimics human actions. The technology seeks to compress time-consuming processes within your department. Recent research revealed that the 22% of the highest performing HR firms implemented RPA. The technology targets 93% of time-repetitive tasks such as adding staff to payroll systems and gathering employee documentation. RPA thus automates employee onboarding, making it efficient and seamless.
5. Cloud technology
Cloud-based applications have made it easy to store and access data through the centralization of data. This makes it easier for you to streamline the workflow and operations within your enterprise. In a recent study, PricewaterhouseCoopers found out that 75% of the companies they investigated had at least one HR process in the cloud, and 40% have core HR systems in the cloud.
Technology serves to complement what you can offer as an HR professional. It enhances efficiency – which translates to more productivity and better results. Stay ahead of your competitors and implement some or all of these HR technologies in the coming year.
Of course, there are many tried-and-true technologies to hang on to. One such technology is Total Compensation Report solutions – whereby you can show current employees (and recruits!) the value of the many benefits your company offers – both the obvious ones, like healthcare and paid time off, as well as benefits that go unnoticed, like free parking, cell phones, laptops, and even industry training.
Comments Off on Revealed: Top 5 Emerging HR Trends in 2019
Category: HR Communications
Not long ago, the news that “so-and-so is working from home today” incited widespread skepticism in the workplace. And if so-and-so really was working from home, it was only because he was stuck there, sick with the flu or waiting for a contractor.
What a difference a generation makes!
Today, about 4 million Americans regularly work from home, representing a 115 percent increase since 2005, according to Fundera. This is one group that is expected to grow – and working from home presents one of the top human resource challenges businesses will face in 2020.
1. “Permanent flexibility” beckons
Managing an employee who works from home one, two, or even three days a week doesn’t seem to be an issue for many employers. Employers that offer work-from-home flexibility have increased by nearly 40 percent in the last five years alone, indicating that employers are trying hard to catch up with demand. Apparently, they’ve registered what the work-from-home crowd has maintained all along: that remote workers are more productive, either because they work longer hours or are less distracted at home.
The challenge focuses more and more on employees’ desire for what is known as “permanent flexibility.” Even the definition is open to various interpretations. Some employees may want the chance to work their entire 40-hour-a-week schedule from home; some may want to work only three long days a week; and others may ask to keep their employers “posted” as their children’s sports commitments change.
The challenge for employers: Just how flexible can (or will) they be?
2. Is BYOD fair?
Some employers are discovering that permanent flexibility comes at another price: the cost of remote technology, to be exact. But should it?
Remote workers can make a solid case for an employer supplying a smartphone and laptop. Even employees who are traditional 9-to-5ers, in the office every day, can make a compelling case that if they’re expected to check emails after work hours, maybe their employer should help foot the bill (for the device itself or the connection).
Employers can make a strong case of their own: Since so many employees “cross beams” from their personal devices to their professional lives, maybe they should pay for their own smartphones, tablets and laptops. It’s called the BYOD culture, short for bring your own device.
The challenge for employers: Deciding which devices are vital to an employee’s job – and therefore worth paying for.
3. Small, large businesses eye outsourcing HR
The “dividing line” was invisible yet obvious for all to see: Go to practically any HR conference and you’d find the “big business” people on one side of the room and the “small business” people on the other.
These days, some commonalities have helped to blur that line, forging alliances that may have been unthinkable even five years ago as both types of businesses pass off HR functions to an outsourced provider.
Whether it’s driven by budget cuts or the need for specialization, HR outsourcing isn’t as simple as it may sound, presenting some potential challenges for small and large businesses such as:
- Culture clashes
- Information leaks
- Compliance difficulties
- Loss (or a reduction) in “the human factor”
The challenge for employers for each of these three: Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
Today, the ideal total compensation package is as diverse as the current workforce itself. In fact, it has to be in order for companies to attract and retain the absolute best employees.
Your employees may vary greatly in age, location (urban, suburban, rural), gender, and marital status. They also most likely vary in how they work – from home or at the office? From a computer or by phone or some other type of a machine? By travelling on sales calls or going into the office every day? These are all things to take into consideration. Not to mention, employees working for the same companies have very different job descriptions and skill sets. Why give all employees the same exact benefit package, when employees are all so different?
If you are trying to provide a one-for-all solution, you are more than likely leaving some of your employees behind. By taking the demographics of your workforce into consideration, you can remove the guesswork of a one-handed solution and offer employees a worthwhile benefits package with options.
Regardless of whether or not your company is small or large or somewhere in between, tailoring benefits to the specific needs of your employees does wonders for morale. It’s also a smart move if you aren’t able to compensate monetarily as much as your competition. To bridge the salary gap, the savviest of employers know they must make up the difference by offering an attractive total compensation package and one that make sense for the employees in question.
Think about it. Would you offer an on-site daycare facility as a part of your benefits package if a large portion of your workforce is under the age of 25? If most of your employees commute by bus, would including a parking spot be relevant or even necessary? If you have telecommuters working for you maybe they don’t get to enjoy the “complimentary” coffee you keep in steady stream in the office – why not offer your virtual assistant a monthly $10 gift card to a local cafe?
Another example would be if employees are expected to use their own vehicles for company business, a prepaid gas card would help to defray fuel expenses. Do employees work from home using their own equipment and Internet service? If so, you might want to consider providing laptops with Internet access.
The cost of providing employees with potentially expensive perks such as insurance, holiday bonuses, company cars, laptops, cell phone service, tuition reimbursement, or stock options may naturally be a great concern, but it may not be as high as factoring in the cost of recruiting and retraining new hires. Offsetting salaries with a diverse selection of fringe benefits is one of the simplest ways of compensating employees smartly.
In essence, offering a diversified benefits package gives you the luxury of not only attracting talent, but also keeping the top talent in your field happy to be on board. Providing options and showing individualized attention can be priceless. And with the right software, it doesn’t have to be difficult, either. COMPackage offers customers a comprehensive list of over 60 benefit ideas as a natural part of their total compensation software subscription.
Getting the Word Out
After revamping benefits packages to meet the unique and changing needs of your employees, it is imperative to then ensure they are fully aware of their total compensation. It is often astounding for employees to find out how much their employer pays for their total compensation, but sometimes it’s also a shock to the employer, when they start adding it all up.
Many employees are completely unaware of the extent or contents of their work benefits. Are key employees being lured away and accepting other positions offering a higher base salary? They may not be so quick to make a move if they had all the facts about their benefits package.
Employees and potential recruits need to know the full costs associated with having them on staff. Knowing this gives them a better idea of their true compensation and it also allows for essential employee feedback. Encouraging employees to provide feedback regarding which types of compensation are most important to them gives you a definitive edge when it comes to yet another important aspect of any successful business – employee retention.
But how can you give them all of this information without spending a ridiculous amount of time compiling data or an exorbitant amount of money outsourcing the task to a third party?
The answer is using total compensation statement software for creating employee compensation reports and detailed benefits statements. Benefits statements will give your employees a clear and concise picture conveying exactly how much they are really being compensated for their services.
What interesting ways does your company provide benefits? We would love to hear your ideas for diversifying benefits in the comments below.
If you’re like most business owners or HR Managers, you know that communicating with employees about their salary and benefits is always a touchy subject. It’s best to plan accordingly and ensure that the timing is appropriate. But when is a good time to tell employees what their salary, health benefits, sick time, vacation time, and countless other perks are worth? Well, the answer is…it depends.
There are several different occasions and times of the year when your organization may be best suited for giving employees their . Given that a detailed summary of employee benefits is a boost to morale, the Holiday Season or New Year can be a great time to give employees the gift of a complete rewards statement. Although an annual benefits report is sometimes adequate, there are many other times throughout the year when a total compensation statement can help attract, retain, and positively impact your employees.
First impressions are always important, and the way you welcome a new employee to your company is no exception. That’s why hiring can be an excellent time to present a total compensation statement. Letting a new or potential employee know just what you’re prepared to provide, even beyond their regular salary, is a great way to get that new relationship off to a solid start. In addition, employees who are comparing other offers can fully see what your company is offering them, and if the competition doesn’t provide a total compensation statement, your company is going to be viewed as the better choice.
Promotions or Raises
Another good time to discuss benefits is during a promotion or request for a promotion. Oftentimes in such discussions, the focus is solely on the actual wages offered or sought. However, it is wise to also emphasize the other benefits an employee is receiving outside their paycheck, such as paid sick time, free parking, a laptop, cell phone, or several other perks. Even intangibles like flexible scheduling can and should be part of the discussion, since they contribute to the overall employee welfare, contentment, and productivity.
Annual or semi-annual performance reviews are also an excellent time to bring up total compensation. While discussing what the employee has done for the company, you can also showcase the full dimensions of what your company is providing. A comprehensive total compensation statement can boost morale and employee loyalty, and makes an excellent accompaniment to any words of encouragement that you may offer during a review.
Significant Life Events
There are some events in life that have a direct correlation to employee benefits. Occasions such as marriage or divorce, starting a family, illness or approaching retirement can be opportune times to present a total compensation statement. Since an employee may become eligible for additional benefits at these times, taking the initiative to let them know what they qualify for and what they receive is a great way to show that you’re truly looking out for your team.
Remember, the full measure of benefits your employees receive far exceeds their actual wages. This is good news, so share it freely!
Interviews are a great way to get to know applicants on an in-depth level — much more than resumes or test scores can offer. After all, someone can be excellent on paper, but not necessarily in person. It takes a face-to face interview to perceive someone’s attitude.
But although interviews are meant to give you a closer peek at applicants, there are several questions you shouldn’t ask, either for legal or ethical purposes. Otherwise, your company may end up with a discrimination lawsuit, as well as damage control problems on social media.
To avoid such headaches, take note of the following no-go lines of inquiries:
- Race/ethnicity — Questions like the following are off-limits because national origin is strictly a federally protected class.
- “Where did you originally come from?”
- “What’s your nationality?”
- “What’s your ethnic background?”
However, the law stipulates that companies must hire only people who are eligible to work in the U.S., so you should determine an applicant’s eligibility without asking questions that invade privacy. But it’s not a matter of how, but when. You can verify an applicant after you’ve hired them by asking them to fill out an IRS Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) on their first day of work.
Here are some additional thoughts about what you should and should not ask.
- Religion — If you’re concerned about whether or not an applicant can work during the required hours, you can straight up ask if they’re able to commit. It’s much better and clearer than asking them about the holidays they observe, what church they belong to, or when they will expect to have time off for their religious practices.
- Sexual orientation/gender identity — These are considered non-issues in job hunting, so there’s no reason to ask an applicant about their gender or sexual preference. But there are less obvious questions you still need to stray away from, like “Do you plan on having kids?” or “Are you single?” Plans for getting married and having children could be used to discriminate against female employees.
- Disability — People with disabilities (PWDs) are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means PWDs who are qualified to perform a job should not be discriminated against on the basis of their disability. Just ask the applicant if they can perform all the tasks associated with a job.
- Age — The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects applicants aged 40 and above from workplace discrimination on the basis of their age. Thus, don’t ask an applicant how old they are, or when they finished high school. However, in some cases, asking for age is legal because the law requires employees for certain jobs to be of a certain age, e.g. bartending and casino dealing.
Current salary — In Massachusetts, asking for an applicant’s current salary is prohibited until the job offer stage. In other states, it’s not, but it’s still considered taboo to ask about it in the early stages of the hiring process. You can ask about an applicant’s current salary once you already have a job offer that includes a compensation package.
It can be tricky to navigate the do’s and don’ts of HR interviews, but the key here is to stick to professional questions and stay away from personal ones. The more you focus on the job at hand, the less likely you’ll end up asking illegal/inappropriate questions.
Ask most employees if they’d rather have cash or non-cash incentives, and they’ll choose the cash incentives almost every time. However, as an employer, you have many other factors to consider when choosing an incentive other than whether or not employees say they want it. Carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of cash bonuses before creating your incentive program.
Benefits of Cash Incentives
- Nothing talks louder than cash – Many employers find that as soon as they offer cash incentives for a task, their employees start working harder. For fast, effective gratification, few incentives work better than cash.
- Easy to distribute – Cash incentives require little extra effort on the part of an employer to distribute. Money can either be added to a paycheck or distributed as cash.
- Practical – Many non-cash incentives appeal more to some people than others. While some employees may not need a new iPod or tickets to a sporting event, everyone can benefit from a little extra cash.
Drawbacks of Cash Incentives
- Can become viewed as base pay – When employees receive cash bonuses on a regular basis, they can come to expect them as part of their base pay. For example, many people rely on their annual Christmas bonuses or quarterly commission checks to pay their bills. If these benefits ever have to be taken away, things could get ugly fast.
- Disappears quickly – Cash incentives are often quickly forgotten because they are spent on necessities – things like bills, debt or Christmas presents. On the other hand, even small non-cash incentives like movie tickets, electronics or gift cards are remembered long after they’ve been received.
- Takes the joy out of incentives – Non-cash incentives often make a more positive impact because they are viewed as “treats,” while cash incentives are often seen as more practical.
The best incentive programs often involve a mix of cash and non-cash incentives. To show your employees how much their non-cash incentives are worth, consider total compensation statements through COMPackage.
During a job interview, open ended questions provide valuable opportunities to peek behind the veil of prepared answers and find out what a job candidate is really like. The following are interview questions designed to get applicants to reveal more about themselves.
1. “Well…why don’t you start with telling me about yourself?”
As an hiring manager, pay attention to not only how impressive well the candidate can speak of themself, but also to how the candidate demonstrates her willingness to take the initiative in answering the question. Self motivated employees can do their jobs without constant supervision or motivational tricks.
2. “How would you go about handling _______?”
This question is designed to test technical knowledge. While candidates may claim to have experience in your industry, a question like this will test whether or not they actually know what they are doing.
3. “So, tell me about some of your biggest failures or regrets.”
This question tests honesty and sense of personal responsibility. Does the candidate take responsibility for their failures or do they blame others? Do they learn from their mistakes? Can they answer the question without going into personal details?
4. “If I were to call one of your co-workers, what would they say about you?”
This is a great way to indirectly find out whether or not a candidate can put their self in the shoes of another co-worker and to find out how well they can work with others, and also empathize with others.
5. “How have you handled conflict with coworkers in the past?”
We all have had at least one conflict with a coworker in the past. If the applicant denies ever having a conflict, dig a little deeper. This question is valuable for helping you determine whether or not a candidate is a good team player.
6. “Give me an example of a stressful situation at work and how you handled it. What did you do well? What could you have done better?”
The ability to work under pressure demonstrates that an employee is committed and can handle stress. For this question, look for specific answers that illustrate strength under pressure.
7. “Tell me about the strengths and weaknesses of your last boss.”
This can reveal how your applicant works with superiors and whether he will fit well under the new management style. Does the applicant have plenty of bad things to say about her last boss? Does she respond well to professional criticism? Ask for specific examples to back up her evaluation.
I came up with 7 — would love for you to share more in the comments!
Also, if you’re recruiting new employees, you may want to include an employee benefit statement during the interview to showcase how much your company spends on salary and benefits for your employees.
Is it part of your job description to complete regular performance reviews? If so, this is not something you should take lightly. It is important to do this at least once per year with each employee that you are responsible for.
So, what are the downsides of infrequent performance reviews?
- Employees don’t have any feedback on what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong, etc. In turn, they continue doing things the same way and never progress as a worker. In the end, both parties are held back from reaching their maximum potential.
- Out of touch for too long. Let’s be honest, there are times when you go month after month without speaking to some employees. While this is more common in large companies, it happens everywhere. Business owners need to share their vision with employees at every turn in the road. With an annual performance review, you will have time to focus on each employee’s contribution to the company.
- One missed review can cause future trouble for you (the owner), the employee, and others in the company. Take this situation, for example. You have to fire an office manager because he failed to meet your expectations. While you have the right to do so, wouldn’t it be better for both parties to discuss this in a performance review?
Performance reviews need to occur regardless of salary expectations, such as a raise. It is not always about money. A review shows leadership and coaching, while ensuring that employees are growing and moving towards company goals.
Now do you see the downside of infrequent performance reviews? Avoid falling into this trap, or face the trouble outlined above.
In order to attract new employees and retain your best people, it works to have a competitive Employee Compensation and Benefit plan in place. Employees are looking for more than just the financial reward of a salary; to avoid losing excellent workers to your competitors, you need to consider offering them additional benefits. A compensation and benefits program is an ideal way to meet your staff’s wants and needs while a total compensation statement makes them aware of all of the value of your contributions.
Total Compensation Statements
Demonstrate to your employees the total value of the benefits program through total compensation statements. These provide information about the complete pay package an employee receives annually, including both direct and indirect compensation.
What to Include in a Compensation and Benefits Package
There are many types of benefits that any business should consider including in its benefits package:
When choosing the appropriate retirement plan, you should take into account your company’s needs as well as your employees’ wishes.
- SEP-IRA plans are ideal for small organizations as they are easy to establish and have no government filing requirements. Employers may make contributions of up to 25 percent of the total amount of their pay.
- SIMPLE-IRA plans are suitable for companies with up to 100 employees. Some administration is required. Employers may match employee contributions or designate a percent of workers’ wages.
- 401(k) plans are popular for their flexibility and higher limits for contributions; however, some require significant administration and annual filings.
Although health insurance can be quite expensive, it is something most employees are looking for in a company. There are a wide variety of plan options available, meaning you should be able to find something that is both affordable and meets your employees’ demands. Also consider offering healthcare through the defined contribution model, which gives you greater flexibility about how much you contribute and allows each employee to choose a plan that meets his or her needs.
Vacation Days + Sick days + Personal Days = Personal Time Off (PTO)
Set out a clear policy that allows employees to take time off when they need it. One week vacation per year served, up to three weeks off, is often thought to be a standard – plus some amount of sick days paid and some considered personal time off (could be in half days) for doctor appointments, family care, etc. Sometimes a competitively engineered program here can be a deal-maker in recruitment. Be creative, but don’t lose site of what’s important for the business.
One great program that we used to provide in my prior life, and our employees absolutely loved it, was Friday afternoons off between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But everyone had to extend their other weekday work to make the 4 hours off good. In our case, we had billability minimum requirements, so they had to still make that minimum. And you couldn’t take Friday morning off or that cost you an entire day off.
Help employees acquire further training in fields relevant to your business. You can offer either partial or full reimbursement for these classes. You would be amazed how important your best learners, who often can be your best employees, see this as an alluring benefit!
Take a look around your environment. What are you offering, or can you offer, to your employees that are, or would be, meaningful to them, which wouldn’t necessarily cost you more? Even things like free coffee and free parking have value. Or provide them a $50/month cell phone reimbursement, but for that they must be available by cell to your customers. Consider quantifying all of these in annual compensation statements.
Setting up a compensation program can be simple and inexpensive for your business. Whatever benefits you choose to include, ensure the focus is on providing employees with greater flexibility and value, and allows you to share the cost of fundamental benefits such as retirement plans and healthcare insurance.
Disclaimer: Any advice relating to finance, investments, companies, securities or any other financial matters whatsoever reflects the private opinion of the person giving this advice. It is not the advice of a financial or other expert. COMPackage, its employees and representatives take no responsibility for any consequences resulting from following such advice. Anyone seeking financial and/or investment advice is strongly advised to conduct their own research or consult a professional adviser. You are solely responsible for any decisions you make based on this information.
According to the most recent MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends, 56% of employers surveyed made no modification to employee benefits materials last year. This means, even though there may have been changes in employee costs and benefits, those changes were not communicated to employees.
Not only that, but the study also says that only 23% of employees are satisfied with their benefits communication. So, of the employers who DO send out benefits communications, 77% must not be doing a very good job of it!
But, why should an employer give a hoot? Because employees who get communications from their employer about their benefits are twice as loyal to that employer. TWICE as loyal. That thought alone ought to save you some costs in employee retention and recruitment.
How often do you update your employee benefits communications? And, just as important, when was the last time you explained to your employees how much their total compensation is worth?
When fifty-five percent of employees report that they do not find their benefits materials clear or comprehensive, clearly an opportunity exists. This is where you can help your employees understand their compensation and further engage them, so they may see for themselves how much your company provides.
*Source: MetLife 9th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends
Part of your benefits communications should also be showing the COSTS associated with employee benefits. Do your employees know how much they’re benefits cost? Do they see the rise in costs every year in workers compensation, state insurance, health care? Do employees realize that the extra three days off they were given this year in vacation pay is actually costing the employer money by not having that employee at their job? This is also part of their total compensation.
The more communication you can provide to your employees, the better they will understand your company. In fact, you will also understand your company better if you were to add up all the costs that go into an employee’s total compensation. COMPackage total benefit statements provide over 60 benefit costs that most employers don’t even consider when adding up the costs of their employees. By adding up all of these costs, businesses are better equipped to make good decisions.
Would love to know your thoughts about this topic — how has employee benefits communication strengthened your relationship with your employer/employees?