INSIGHTS BLOG

Discover how to help your employees achieve personal success.

  • Understanding Employer Record Retention Requirements


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    Federal laws, such as the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Equal Pay Act (EPA), impose recordkeeping duties on employers. These recordkeeping duties require employers to create and retain certain information related to their compliance with federal laws.

    We have created a printable PDF document to help employers understand some of the most common recordkeeping and retention requirements, indicating the longest retention period established by federal law. The table does not attempt to outline all documents an employer may need in all situations.

    State law requirements are not addressed in this table. To determine the time period for which records should be retained, it is important to reference applicable state laws in addition to federal laws. State laws may include recordkeeping requirements that operate in addition to or in conjunction with federal requirements.

    Additional resources:

    • Department of Labor’s (DOL) web page on OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping requirements
    • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) web page on fair employment recordkeeping requirements.
    • DOL’s web page on recordkeeping under the FLSA

    If you have any additional questions about recordkeeping, please feel free to reach out to our team of HR experts at 1-800-748-5102 or humanresources@aplusbenefits.com.

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    A Plus BenefitsUnderstanding Employer Record Retention Requirements
  • Company Culture Might Be More Important Than You Think


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    Company culture is the unifying element that holds everyone in an organization together. Culture encompasses the written and unwritten behavioral norms and expectations of those within the company.

     

    Why Is Company Culture Important?
    According to Alternative Board’s 2016 Small Business Pulse Survey, 93 percent of entrepreneurs believe that promoting company culture is good for productivity and creativity.

    Recent studies have revealed that employees highly value company culture in their decision to stay with—or leave—a company. Moreover, it has been proven that employees who identify with and feel a sense of belonging to a company’s culture are more productive, happier and want to work for the company for longer.

    Retaining employees who are happy and productive is not only good for employee morale, but also for your bottom line. High turnover is costly and can also harm your company’s culture and cause remaining workers to become disengaged and unproductive.

    A positive and strong company culture not only improves retention rates; it also improves recruiting rates. Prospective employees care about your reputation as a company and are evaluating potential employers on their corporate culture. In fact, many millennials view cultural compatibility with a company as just as important as salary.

    How Can I Improve My Company’s Culture?
    According to Staples Business Advantage, companies can do the following five things to improve their culture:

    Inspire collaboration
    Creating a collaborative organization allows the free flow of ideas leading to a more innovative and creative organization. Employees want to work where they feel like they are part of something important. Help employees tie their work back to the company goals.

    Respect employee input
    Having open communication with employees helps build a string culture. Because leaders will be providing employees with constructive performance feedback, it is important for leaders to be open to receiving feedback from employees as well.

    Improve meetings
    On average employees currently spend 35-50 percent of their time in meetings. Imagine the toll this can take on the productivity and morale of your team if your meetings are not effective. Check out our Effective Meeting Toolkit for ideas for improvement.

    Support flexible work arrangements
    According to research by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), 55 percent of employees cited workplace flexibility as a very important aspect of their job satisfaction. Flexible work arrangements can be customized to meet the needs of the organization and the employees. Check out this recent blog for some ideas on getting started.

    Recruit strong leadership
    Research from Gallup has shown that managers can account for up to 70 percent variance in employee engagement. Hiring great leaders and providing ongoing leadership development opportunities not only increases the retention of those leaders, but also of the employees they manage.

    These suggestions are just a handful of ideas for improving your culture. For more information on company culture, contact the HR experts at A Plus Benefits at 1-800-748-5102 or humanresources@aplusbenefits.com.

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    A Plus BenefitsCompany Culture Might Be More Important Than You Think
  • Is Anything Happening with the Overtime Rule Change Discussed Last Year?


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    Last year we talked a lot about preparing for the change to the overtime rule that increased the salary requirement for certain white-collar employees to be considered exempt from overtime. At this point, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) overtime rule is unlikely to come to fruition.

    You may remember the rule—which was scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, 2016—was delayed by federal court injunction on Nov. 22, 2016. In December, the DOL filed for an expedited appeal of the court injunction.

    However, on Jan. 25, 2017, the DOL, which is now under the direction of President Donald Trump, requested a 30-day extension to file a brief in its appeal. Recent actions by the Trump administration suggest that it is unlikely that the overtime rule will ever become effective, even if the DOL is successful in its appeal.

    For now, employers can rely on existing overtime exemption rules. It is still a good idea to make sure that your employees who are currently listed as exempt, do meet the current requirements. Misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime is one of the most common compliance mistakes made by small businesses.

    Employers that have already made adjustments to comply with the new rule may find it difficult to reverse any changes. For employers looking to roll back salary adjustments, carefully consider employee morale and the potential impact that rescinding promised changes will have on your company. Our team of HR experts can help clients work through this tough situation.

    Questions? Contact our HR team at 1-800-748-5102 or humanresources@aplusbenefits.com.

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    A Plus BenefitsIs Anything Happening with the Overtime Rule Change Discussed Last Year?
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    Three Simple Steps to Improve Performance Feedback


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    Providing ongoing feedback to your employees is vital to their success and the success of your company as a whole. Even if your employees currently shy away from receiving feedback, the truth is they really do want and need it. According to research from Gallup, employees must receive both positive and negative feedback from their managers in order to feel engaged.

    If you and your management team are not used to providing feedback, it can take time to develop those skills and make giving feedback a part of the company culture. Here are four steps from a recent article in TLNT to get you started:

    Reframe feedback as a regular part of your business. Receiving feedback from a manger shouldn’t automatically fill your employees with dread. Make both positive and constructive feedback a daily practice. Once it becomes common, employees will be less likely to fear the communication.

    Start with positive feedback. If you managers are really struggling with performance communication, have them start with positive feedback. Work with your managers to make sure they are catching people doing things well and acknowledging those things.

    Invest in training for your managers and then ALL employees. Help your management team feel confident providing feedback to employees, no matter if it is negative or positive. Help your entire team understand how to effectively give both positive and negative feedback to one another. Also help everyone understand the best ways to receive that feedback and move forward.

    Looking for resources?

    Need something a little more customized? Reach out to our HR experts for help putting together a customized training specifically tailored to your team’s needs. You can reach them at humanresources@aplusbenefits.com or 1-800-748-5102.

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    A Plus BenefitsThree Simple Steps to Improve Performance Feedback
  • Four Keys to Attracting and Retaining Great Employees


    Attracting and retaining great employees is a challenge for businesses of all sizes and industries. This is something we hear often from our clients. If improving your attraction and retention efforts is one of your goals this year, you are in luck. They are a few key things every business can do to make sure they are creating an environment where employees want to work.

    Make sure your pay is fair. While there is plenty of research showing that money is not a great employee motivator, being underpaid is a quick way for an employee to be demotivated. According to research by Nielsen, 80% of employees report feeling stressed at work, with low pay being listed as the biggest workplace stress. A popular quote by Dan Pink, author if the book Drive, puts it simply, “The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.” If you aren’t sure if pay is an issues, you can do some research on website like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com to find some information about what competitors may be paying their employees. A Plus Benefits can also provide salary reports for employees of a cost for $10 per position. Contact an HR Business Partner at humanresources@aplusbenefits.com for assistance.

    Culture matters. Creating a strong company culture is not just a gimmick. Work should be a place people enjoy coming to. It isn’t just about getting your job done, but also about building relationships and having a little fun. Even companies like Google employ basic techniques like free snacks or lunches, birthday celebrations and holiday parties.

    Unique benefits package can set you apart. Offering a unique mix of benefits to employees can help set you apart as an employer. Offering supplemental benefits like 401(k), life insurance, accident insurance, disability insurance, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts can help to attract and retain great employees. If you are curious about what benefits you could be missing that could really make a difference, contact a Client Success Manager at service@aplusbenefits.com.

    Communication is key. Clean employee communication increases trust in an organization. It also increases employee engagement and satisfaction. According to research from Gallup, employees don’t feel like they are getting as much communication as they would like from their employees.  Be as transparent as possible. Include employees in the decision-making process for important changes whenever possible. Also be sure to provide employees with timely feedback on their performance. Waiting for an annual performance review to address what employees are doing well, or not doing well leads to frustration. Check out our recent webinar on Performance Communication Made Easy for some helpful tips and tricks.

    If you are looking for more advice on finding and keeping the employees you need to take your business to the next level, reach out to an HR Business Partner at1-800-748-5102 or humanresources@aplusbenefits.com

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    A Plus BenefitsFour Keys to Attracting and Retaining Great Employees
  • Understanding Workplace Flexibility


    As you look for ways to attract and retain great employee talent, workplace flexibility probably crosses your mind. You may have had a prospective employee ask about flexible work options, or even had a former employee let you know that they left your company for a more flexible environment. This will only become more common as the workforce redefines what is important to them.notebook-405755_640

    Technological advances and flexibility in the workplace have redefined the workday for many organizations . Having a flexible working environment means that your organization defines “work” differently and, as a result, new guidelines are established for when, where and how employees get tasks done. This also means that results are often determined less by how much face time employees put in at the office; and instead their work is reviewed based on its quality and whether it gets done.

    For employees, flexibility allows for an easier time managing work, family, and other obligations. Allowing workplace flexibility is a great marketing tool for the company and a solid way to recruit and retain talented employees.

    Types of Flexible Working Arrangements
    There are many types of flexible working arrangements being implemented across the nation which include:

    • Part-time employment (reduced work hours)
    • Flexible scheduling (employees are available within core hours during the day, but may vary the times they arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon)
    • Telecommuting (working from a remote location)
    • Compressed workweeks (working a full schedule in fewer than five days)
    • Phased return-to-work from leave (gradually increasing the number of hours worked after taking a leave of absence from work)
    • Job sharing (dividing tasks and hours among several staff members who all work part-time)
    • Summer hours (reducing work hours during summer months)
    • Phased retirement (gradually decreasing the number of responsibilities and hours worked)
    • Virtual work (working entirely through an electronic system without a formal work schedule or location)
    • Hoteling (employees share a workspace because they are only in the office for a portion of the week)

    Employers may offer these options on an as-needed basis or as part of formal programs for all employees. Employers can also create a workplace that is entirely flexible with no defined work schedule (known as a results-only work environment). Most employers tend to land somewhere in the middle and have formal yet flexible arrangements.

    Benefits of Flexibility
    Many companies have had a lot of success implementing flexible arrangements in the workplace. For companies with employees who are no longer forced to come to the office and do not have set work hours, turnover has declined and employee engagement has increased. These companies also received the following benefits from offering a flexible working environment:

    • Increased retention
    • Increased productivity
    • Enhanced recruiting success
    • Employees are more accessible throughout the day
    • Reduced expenses for real estate costs
    • Reduced carbon footprint

    Creating a Successful Program
    Developing a program to make your workplace more flexible is fairly simple and requires minimal or no resources.

    • Create a link between flexibility and your organization’s goals. Determine how existing and future flexibility plans will align with your current and future company goals.
    • Look at your current flexible work schedule offerings—who is eligible, how the program is used, how the program is administered, and what is expected of management and employees.
    • Determine how flexible you want to be. You will need to balance corporate guidelines, individual needs, management desires, etc.
    • Enlist management personnel to promote and administer flexible working arrangements. These people should have the training and tools to do so properly.
    • Communicate with your employees about flexible arrangements as part of your total benefits offerings.
    • Link flexible arrangements to your business results by creating a measurement system that gauges that connection.
    • Sell the program to senior executives by highlighting how the program can positively benefit your bottom line. They could also utilize the flexible program to show other employees that flexibility will not negatively affect their careers.

    As baby boomers retire and younger generations enter the workforce, employers have to be more adaptable to their busy schedules. Employers are finding that some workers may not like a traditional schedule, elder care responsibilities require greater flexibility and parents insist that they have more time with their families. Furthermore, employee priorities are shifting and many value more flexibility in lieu of a raise or bonus, which means savings for the company.

    If you are looking for ways to increase the flexibility in your workplace, contact one of our HR experts for guidance

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    A Plus BenefitsUnderstanding Workplace Flexibility
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