Effectively Manage Benefit Programs
COVID-19 is surging, and more lockdowns are looming. It’s all too easy for us to become overwhelmed with worries about friends and relatives—and when things might hopefully return to normal—in times of crisis. Even during trying times—or perhaps even more so—your HR department is still called upon to manage your employees’ needs swiftly and accurately.
HR executives tend to juggle more than their fair share of business concerns. Payroll systems, in particular, can be complicated and time-consuming to manage, which is why executives look to outsource to more cost-efficient payroll services.
Employee Benefits: An HR Executive’s Top Priority
Employee benefits, an indirect form of salary, are a vital consideration when it comes to how and why a company attracts and retains the best employees. No wonder HR executives focus on the benefits that their companies offer, compared to others in the same or similar businesses. For instance, there is little in the way of public medical and dental benefits in the United States. Consequently, these two factors are among the most significant considerations when a prospective employee is looking at a company. The importance of salary negotiation benefits is liable to be in front of the line, right after the salary itself.
While many candidates fresh out of college or rising from lower echelon positions tend to focus on salary, this is not so for candidates eligible for more senior positions. More than salary, the seasoned professional is focused on the indirect pay, the benefits. And benefits mean more than health and dental. Senior employees typically look for vacation/personal time, stock options, pensions and 401(k) matching, family leave, and the like, which means the HR department must find a way to keep track of their benefits package in a manner both efficient and scalable.
Reasonable HR Benefits
Two categories of employee benefits exist in the United States: benefits required by law, and optional benefits offered by an employer. Legally required benefits include company-sponsored savings programs, such as employee contributions to a 401(k) with a percentage of funds contributed by the company; medical and dental insurance; unemployment insurance; Social Security contributions, and more, while company-specific benefits may include such perks as tuition assistance, profit sharing, paid sick leave, and stock option plans, just to name a few.
Depending on the organization’s size and the benefits portfolio, keeping up with such a wide range of concerns can be daunting for larger corporations, but equally challenging for small companies.
HR Management Best Practices
Best practices should not be confused with HR activities, such as payroll, attendance, training, and so on. No, best practices involve the overall strategy of the HR department. It should also be noted that there tend to be two schools of thought on best practices. The first, the “best fit” approach, seeks to align human resource policies with the larger overall strategy of the business being supported. The second, the “best practices” approach, posits a universal set of HR practices that any company can use to achieve business excellence.
Leaving aside the best fit school of thought, the current line of thinking on best practices is that it should be employee intensive. This thinking means an organization can excel if: a) it works to ensure job security, b) it offers fair compensation, c) it offers continuing education and training, and d) it ensures that anyone in the organization easily obtains pertinent company information. (This list is by no means definitive.)
Executives Who Manage Benefits Effectively
Effectively managing HR benefits involves effectively managing such HR activities as these, and more:
- Yearly employee surveys
- Planning, design, and implementing benefit changes
- Maintaining benefit information
- Staying abreast of state, federal, and international laws
- Monitoring compliance with government regulations
HR Management Systems
There are many HR management services available to businesses today, but not all are equal. Some are simply specialists in one field, like payroll services, while others may offer comprehensive services yet ultimately lack the depth and expertise that the client requires. An effective HR management service will have a specific target for their expertise. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, effective service will specialize in small or medium-sized business support. A reputation for integrity and service is a hallmark of the best HR management services.
Effective Benefits Management Systems
Effective benefit management systems simplify complex processes and procedures, are easy to use, and are cost-effective. There is no sense in outsourcing if the service cost is greater than the current organizational overhead. Moreover, they offer an efficient method for managing mission-critical factors such as:
- State, federal, and international law compliance
- Monitoring employee turnover
- Locating the appropriate talent for your needs
- Leadership training
- Employee training
- Benefit management
- Payroll services
An Expert to Help You Through the Labyrinth
In HIS Name HR is an innovative, reliable HR management service designed for small and medium-sized companies. Comprehensive in our approach and focused on our customers’ needs, In HIS Name HR offers full-spectrum support for your small or medium-sized concern.
We can help you navigate health and benefits brokers’ intricacies, current regulations, and increase workplace productivity. Among our other areas of expertise are recruitment, how to find and retain the best people, and compliance with employee benefits law to ensure that state and federal requirements for employee protection are in place. We also specialize in employee-benefits design, the best benefits packages available for the money, and organizational development to keep your business on the right course.
Regardless of whether you are a small or medium-sized firm, HR management in the modern business environment is a challenge. Even the largest companies find adequate HR solutions time consuming and, frequently, not aligned with the organization’s objective. In HIS Name HR helps our customers to assist in their HR processes and encourage an agile and productive business. We offer leadership training, business coaching, and organizational coaching, all at an incredibly affordable price.
With In HIS Name HR, you no longer have to negotiate the labyrinth alone.
Jeremiah 29:11(NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I believe that, in today’s tumultuous times, we must remain diligent in our obligations as Christian leaders. Now, more than ever, Christian leaders must acknowledge that employees want, need and crave an environment in which they can be not only productive but trust that their leadership is attempting to provide them and their family stability, a “hope and a future.”
We must remain diligent in our obligations as Christian leaders.
So what about you? What are you doing to demonstrate to your employees that you are setting the foundation for tomorrow’s growth? Are you giving them hope and a future? If you do this, if you honor your employees by properly managing your organization and lighting a path to their future, you will be creating a “Kingdom Minded” organization.”
What have you witnessed in your workplace that has created a culture of creativity, inclusiveness and productivity? Please share your thoughts and help our community learn from your experiences.
Times are scary, for sure. We are now in the middle of a pandemic, and for many of you reading this, you are understandably concerned that your organization may well not make it through. Many share those feelings. You’re not alone. And we’re here to help.
A number of organizations, on the other hand, are confident that they will continue to prosper. For organizations to be successful, they must face the pandemic crisis head on and at the same time focus on high-performance human resources (HR) practices. Now, more than ever, your employees need hope and a future, and they desire and require strong leadership to get them there. Now is not the time to falter and flounder.
In HIS Name HR is approaching its 10th year. We have a national presence and the technology to help implement high-performance HR programs from a distance. Using tools such as Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime, we continue to guide organizations to success.
What we can do for you right now:
- Develop and help implement remote-employee strategies
- Provide outplacement services
- Executive coaching
- Performance management development
These are unprecedented times, with considerable uncertainty, both now and in the future. Never before has supportive Christian leadership in the workplace been more important.
Thanks to our efforts, our clients realize considerable gains in productivity, employee satisfaction, and reduction in hiring time within weeks of our partnership. We are the leading company for human resources (HR) outsourcing & HR consulting services from a Christian perspective. We offer support in all aspects of HR compliance and program development.
Does your organization need HR help, whether due to COVID-19 or simply concerning normal business practices? If so, don’t panic. We are here. We can help.
If you’re struggling with the current pandemic crisis, and what it means for your organization and your employees, and need someone to listen to your concerns who can help, contact us today.
The past weeks have been unprecedented—truly historic—regarding the global human resources implications due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing COVID-19 disease. Typically, we address our articles to leadership professionals in the workplace. However, in light of the current situation, this article is for anyone, at any level of an organization, who has found themselves thrust, without warning, into working remotely.
Many such employees have contacted us, having been told by equally unprepared leadership, “It’s not safe to come into the office. Just do what you normally do, but do it from home.”
Organizations, some of our clients among them, have abruptly shifted into panic mode. You may be reading this article having found yourself also suddenly having to work from home instead of from your customary office or workplace.
Understandably, many organizations were caught unawares, and are not equipped to handle the logistics of managing people remotely. Regardless, organizations still need to operate, to serve their customers and remain solvent.
While it has caught nearly everyone, indeed the country, off guard, it is of utmost importance that you, as an employee who draws wages from your employer, come to grips with the fact that you must remain impactful if you and the organization is to survive. When organizations succeed, they can pay their employees who, in turn, can support their families and the communities in which they live.
So, let’s review some areas that will help make you successful while working remotely. These features are proven to work, and have been used successfully by individuals who were assigned remote work, not out of crisis but more often the result of being geographically distant from coworkers.
5 Pointers to Help You Succeed as a Remote Employee
- Establish workspace boundaries – Ensure a good working environment, a dedicated space to do your work. Can you shut the door against distractions when you need to work and otherwise maintain a good work–life balance?
- Ensure your ability to concentrate – Will children, friends, or other personal obligations regularly interrupt you?
- Stay organized – Can you make a schedule and stick to it? Will you create checklists to keep you on track?
- Promote and maintain productivity – Have you been provided expectations and goals? Can you obtain help quickly if you hit an obstacle?
- Maintain your focus and fitness – Can you take short, regular breaks throughout the day to stay fresh and avoid fatigue or burnout?
What single safeguard makes telecommuting most effective? A job description!
There’s no question that it’s preferable to have done the groundwork and crafted a solid job description for yourself before telecommuting. When employees find themselves thrust into working remotely, without the necessary preparations, trouble often lies ahead.
A job description is not only important from an employee empowerment standpoint; it’s a strategic necessity. Both your and your organization’s productivity and growth can be stymied when skills and competencies are unknown or undefined variables. Be detailed and specific about the requirements placed on you, and make sure they are part of your job description.
Finally, if you are concerned about your longevity with your employer, help create a process to make it hard for them to dismiss you. As a human resources expert, I almost always find employee terminations or separations from organizations are the result of the employee being viewed as not contributing to the organization. But that’s not always the employee’s fault. Many times this is management’s fault, because they failed to furnish key guidance or measurable metrics designed to enable employees to perform successfully.
If your organization has failed in this area, make it a point to do it yourself. Develop key measurements and a daily schedule that you can share with your leadership that validates why they need you.
In our next article, we explore the above five tips further: workspace boundaries, the ability to concentrate, self-organization, productivity, and focus and fitness, in order to better help you to succeed as a remote employee. With the right approach, it can be done.
Mark Griffin is founder and chief consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 25 years of HR experience.
Are you or your organization struggling to navigate these tumultuous times? Contact us by e-mail here.
Learn more about Mark’s journey in HR by watching this short video. And follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Want to make High Performance HR Systems including Employee Relations a reality in your organization? Contact Mark and make it happen.
All successful organizations have a Mission. Without a Mission, well, no one will know what it is they are doing and why. Another problem organizations have when absent a Mission is that their customers and vendors often end up confused, having mixed expectations.
I have worked for many organizations in my time. Probably more than most, and I consider this to be a good thing. The reason I consider this a good thing is that the experiences that God has given me in these numerous and diverse organizations has made me a far more competent counselor to businesses across the marketplace than if I had occupied one narrow niche for most of my career.
One common denominator I have identified is that the businesses that are successful all have an established Mission for their organization, a Mission that is co-developed by all of their employees and is ingrained into the culture of the organization. In fact, in high-performing organizations, candidates are exposed to the organizations ’s Mission before they’re even hired. Vendors know the Mission and Customers are aware, as well.
When Vendors know the Mission and Customers understand it, that’s enormously positive, but the most powerful and impactful group are your Employees. In my wealth of experience, I have discovered an absolute truth by simply listening to employees for more than 20 years. Fully 99 percent of all employees who come to work every day, want nothing more than to do a good job; in fact, most want to exceed your expectations. It really is the American way. Work hard, play hard and love your life. The problem, though, that many organizations suffer from is a lack of leadership to help steer the organization.
Specifically, they lack leadership in creating a Mission that employees own and strive to achieve.
What is a Mission?
Your Mission is simply what you do best — every day — and why. Your Mission should reflect your customers’ needs. Having a Mission is the foundation of turning the dreams and potential of an organization into reality. So, in a nutshell, your Mission
simply affirms why your organization exists!
So what does a Mission consist of? Well, it really is not rocket science. It is simply what your organization collectively — yes, I said collectively — not top down management, or board of directors to management — developed. It works like this:
- The senior management team develops a framework of what they believe the Mission is and should be.
- Line management then takes the draft document to the line supervision.
- Finally, employees and a good HR rep facilitate a roundtable session using the draft Mission as a guide.
You have a couple of reiterations, meetings back and forth, and then it’s time for “Congratulations!” because you now have a consensus on your Mission. Now, of course, when it is being facilitated, the facilitator must be skilled in getting everyone on board with the final product.
Key is letting your employees know that each one of them has an opportunity to challenge it, provide their personal input and suggest changes, but that, ultimately, when the majority of the employees and management agree to the final document, then it is up to all employees to respect it and support it.
Benefits of Creating or Revisiting Your Mission.
The benefit of creating a Mission or revisiting a current one is that it opens up the communication process inside of your organization. An effective Mission is based on input and commitment from as many people within your organization as possible. A Mission statement should not be an autocratic version of Moses and the Tablets. All of your employees must feel and understand your organization’s Mission. Only then can they make the necessary personal commitment to its spirit.
Tips for great Missions:
- Keep it short.
- Describe WHY customers will buy from you.
- Define your product or service clearly.
- Identify WHO is your ideal customer.
- Specify WHAT you offer your customer — benefits, services, advantages, etc.
- Delineate what makes your product or service different from that of your competition.
Google: “We organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Starbucks: “We inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Share with us your experiences with your organization’s Mission. How was it created? Who was involved, how would you have changed the process? Is the Mission applicable to you and your coworkers? Share with us and help the community to learn and grow.
Over my 25 plus-year career in human resources, I’ve noticed that while people will endure fewer amenities and less pay, there are four reasons skillful workers will leave for another job.
(1) No opportunity – When employees sense no potential for career progress, or leaders are unaware that advancement is important, employees look elsewhere for better options.
(2) Not knowing the dollar value of their benefits – Pay and benefits is a topic often avoided in many workplaces. Many organizations, however, offer competitive pay and often benefits that cost thousands of dollars, and employees haven’t a clue. (Think PTO, like legal holidays, sick days, and vacation days; life insurance, long-term disability (LTD), and short-term disability (STD) programs; health insurance, including vision and dental; and wellness programs.) The costs of all these programs add up. When organizations take the time to periodically make employees aware of the total cost of all the benefits at their disposal, employees gain a greater appreciation how much value they receive in their job.
(3) Feeling unappreciated – When employees receive little or no gratitude or acknowledgment for their contributions, it feels demoralizing — no wonder they seek more rewarding work elsewhere. The biggest surprise? Many times, during exit interviews, departing employees disclose that a simple, verbal “thank you” would have made all the difference. However, in many organizations, too often managers fail to do even that.
(4) Sheer Boredom – Without savvy leaders or a solid idea of the big picture, employees don’t see concrete, interesting ways to contribute, outside of the ordinary scope of their jobs. Things grow tedious and employees hunt for new challenges to make work feel more meaningful.
So, while you might think your employees only want higher pay and a corner office, or that the trend among employees is to feel “entitled,” the truth is that the best employees are satisfied with simpler, more basic and fundamental management approaches—and a better explanation of the benefits they currently have.
Be thoughtful — find out what motivates your employees! This simple investment will ensure improved worker retention, enhanced overall morale, and increased company loyalty. And isn’t that what you really want?
What can you do as an employer right now to keep your best employees? Consider asking them. That’s right. Simply spending time with employees in focus groups and roundtable discussions can help you to help them by making basic changes to ensure you keep your greatest asset happy and encouraged.
One more thing…What’s the Top Reason People Quit?
This 2017 Inc. magazine article reveals that the primary reason employees quit is:
People leave managers, not companies.
Marcel Schwantes, while researching the topic of turnover, found that 50% of employees left their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.”
Keep in mind that as a new generation of workers comes of age, the issue of turnover will continue to grow. Many employees now look at their lives differently than workers did 20 and 30 years ago. Most value relationships above all else, and when a manager starts stealing their joy, they won’t hesitate to look for work elsewhere.
The workplace ladder is simply not as important to young workers today as in prior generations. Many are talented and capable, but will invariably choose a desirable manager over monetary or organizational rewards.
If you are concerned about retaining talented employees while also saving time and money in hiring and training costs, remember these top 4 reasons and the new trend that makes talented people quit. It could make keeping the great people you need a lot easier than you thought.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 25 years of HR experience. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Are you complying with all the proper state and federal labor laws?
If not, it could cost you everything.
In large corporations, an entire human resources (HR) department navigates the complex minefield of federal and state labor laws. Most small organizations think of HR as an afterthought, or HR responsibilities like hiring, benefits, compliance, and payroll falls to a few people who aren’t properly trained. This can be a pricey mistake. Laws concerning overtime, unlawful termination, and equal rights are just a few areas that trip up organizations, big and small, all the time.
Labor laws fill volumes and are quite complex. Plus, labor laws vary from state to state! Even Walmart ran into trouble recently and incurred $4.83 million dollars in back wages, penalties, and fines for violating The Fair Labor Standards Act. The mistake? Managers were misclassified and not appropriately compensated for overtime work. Unlawful termination is another problem that has cost organizations like UPS, Carmike Cinemas, and Dial Corporation dearly. Yes, it’s tricky. Do you know the laws?
It gets worse—the government is ramping up efforts to check up on organizations and crack down. The Obama administration has allotted $25 million for the sole purpose of investigating those misclassified as “independent contractors,” hoping to reclaim lost tax revenue and pad the IRS’s coffers. Be smart. Remember that stiff penalties and lawyer fees can decimate your organization. Are your workers properly classified?
Stay legal and remember these 3 key points:
• Child labor, non-resident labor, and equal rights legislation are the three areas where small organizations most often fail to comply.
• Both state and federal labor information is free and available online.
• Outsourcing with an HR professional firm can save your organization a lot of time and money.
Most organizations with fewer than 100 people benefit from outsourcing labor law compliance and other human resource tasks to HR professionals. The alternative is risky: employees are often uninformed about and under-trained in labor law compliance. Look out! Federal fines could be in store for you. In addition, HR often falls outside an employee’s main job focus, so getting it wrong or spending valuable time away from primary tasks can cripple productivity in a small organization. Get the right person trained or on your team to comply with labor laws.
Regrettably, staying legal has never been more difficult or important.
Make sure to get the help you need right away.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 25 years of HR experience. Learn more about Mark’s journey in HR by watching this short video. In addition you can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Every workplace has friction—that’s the simple truth. Anytime you have a few people working together on something, differences surface that create drag. We shouldn’t be surprised when conflict or tensions arise. Instead, we should be prepared and have some tactics on hand to facilitate a cooperative working environment and healthier relationships. Friction has a bona fide upside.
In my decades of work in the field of Human Resources, I’ve learned that 3 major things have the potential to create workplace conflicts:
- Inadequate communication
- Lack of emotional control
- Indefinite goals and boundaries
Here’s an example of all three creating a common situation of friction:
Project X must be finished in two months. The lower level manager fails to set legible parameters on a project when expectations and roles are not defined for the work. As the manager delegates the project, too much is left to speculation. Co-workers attempt to complete the work, but soon run into interpersonal problems as different ideas emerge. Frustration increases, tempers flare, morale sinks, and passive aggressive sabotage and gossip start. In other words, gridlock. A few team members inform the manager; however, by then, emotion is driving the situation. Decision-making is maligned and communication continues to falter. The project is tanking.
What to do?
A lot of repair work is needed to get things back on track and keep the project moving forward. First—and this is important—ditch email as a resolution tool. A sit-down, face-to-face meeting is necessary, and a concise description of roles and responsibilities must be presented. But a few other things are invaluable, too.
It’s important to reestablish a healthy culture with the team and ensure acceptable behaviormoving forward. This shouldn’t be done by lecturing. It shouldn’t be expressed in an exasperated tone either. Rather, make sure you conduct your meeting by modeling respect and integrity. Assume the best in your co-workers and back it up with words and actions that make it clear. Graciousness and amiability should preside, not hostility and annoyance.
Get the Right “Game Face” On.? Prepare yourself. Your “game face” must be a commitment to the greater good plus good faith efforts to buoy the environment and create a better working situation. It’s crucial to find common ground. This can be done with a simple and sincere reference to everyone wanting to do well, or a mention of some of your company’s most important values, or by outlining the basic goals of the project. It may be wisest to use a bit of each.
Conflict = Opportunity for Improvement.? It’s normal to dislike friction. Just remember, excellent organizations and great leaders have a habit of transforming conflict and tensions into occasions that make things work more smoothly, efficiently, and improve the positive bonds between employees. Don’t shrink from this opportunity. Instead of dreading conflict or becoming paralyzed by it, realize that conflicts can harvest new ideas and innovation—not just in how your company works, but also in how co-workers connect with each other.
Grace, empathy, forgiveness, cooperation, and better listening can be the result. If you treasure-hunt in the situation and invite that same positive attitude from your employees during conflict, better times are ahead.
Mark A. Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. In His Name HR helps organizations build high-performance Human Resource programs.
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Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
~ Matthew 9:37-38
This was so very true when it was written and still so very true today. The workers available to bring the good word to the world of Christ’s saving blood are few. This piece of Scripture is the foundation of what it is that we do here at In HIS Name HR. We help create the workers; we develop Christian business leader, to be the worker to gently get the message out to the workplace. I have worked for organizations where we took care of employees’ financial needs by paying them. We took care of their medical needs by providing health care benefits. But we hardly come across any companies, even Christian-owned companies, that provide a venue to reach employees’ spiritual needs.
Christian-owned companies should feel obligated to provide spiritual benefits
We can no longer go to church on Sunday and work on Monday without addressing our faith. We are obligated to develop our organizations in a way in which it is comfortable for employees to be led to Christ.
If you are sharing your faith with your teams, if you are developing ways of integrating Christ into your workplace, you are building a “Kingdom Minded” Organization.
Help our community of readers
For those of you in the “Marketplace”, How do your share your faith at work? When do you know you have gone too far? We would love to know your experiences.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. Follow Mark and In HIS Name HR on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.