Jan 3
Tips for Getting Back to Work After a Break
Getting back to work after the holidays or a vacation can be really difficult for leaders and employees. Even with the best of intentions, it can be easy to lose valuable time after returning to work from any type of break or vacation. This is one of the reasons that many employees do not enjoy taking time off. In fact, 55% of Americans do not take all of their allotted paid time off. Returning can be especially draining, making it feel like the time off wasn’t really worth it. A recent article on Forbes.com gives some tips to avoid this…
Dec 19
Simple Things You Can do Today to be a Better Leader
Being a small business leader can be overwhelming. Putting out fires while wearing multiple hats leaves little time for leaders to work on their professional development. A recent article from Inc. shares some simple things you can do to be a better leader. Here are some of our favorites. Don’t try to do them all at once. That is a recipe for burnout. Instead, try picking just one to focus on each week. Develop your skills- Pick one skill you would really like…
Dec 16
Growing Leadership from Within Your Organization
Promoting employees from within your ranks to leadership positions has so many benefits. According to a Forbes study of America’s largest companies, 86% of their CEOs were hired from within. The ability to develop future leaders from within the organization is not something that has to be reserved only for large companies. Small companies can also have a huge competitive advantage when they follow practices. A recent article from Forbes gives some ways that all businesses can grow future leaders. Empower employees through mentorship and delegation: This can be especially important in smaller businesses where there may not be a…
Dec 14
Boosting the Energy of Your Workforce
This time of year can be especially draining for employees. Colder weather, stress from the holidays and the end of year time-crunch all contribute to this. The good news is that positive energy is contagious. An article from Harvard Business Review gives a few simple things you can do to boost the energy in your organization starting today: Build genuine relationships with employees. Encourage leaders at your organization to get to know employees better. Creating high quality connections builds relational energy. Find common ground with employees that doesn’t involve work. This will help you better understand what motives and energizes…
Nov 29
Revised I-9 Form Must be Used By Employers Starting 1/22/17
Earlier this month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of the I-9 form used for employment eligibility verification. The new version of the form dated 11/14/2016 must be used by employers no later than January 22, 2017. Until then, employers are able to use to use the version dated 03/08/2013 or the new version. A Plus Benefits is working to revise our new hire packets both online and in print to comply with this change by the end of the year. Here is a copy of the new form if you are interested in seeing the…
Nov 18
Tips for Reducing Stress in the Workplace
This time of year can become incredibly stressful for business owners and employees alike. From family obligations, to the holidays, to year-end budgets and deadlines, it easily become overwhelming. When you are going through stressful time, or you know your employees are, there are a few things you can do to make the best of it. Here are some easy ways you can reduce your stress-level at work: Take a break and talk to someone: Make an effort to periodically get up from your desk and have a short conversation with a co-worker. Try to avoid eating lunch alone. Use…
Sep 20
Six Leadership Habits That Instill Trust
Are the leaders in your organization trusted by employees? You may think that there is an adequate level of trust, but if you are experiencing issues of low employee engagement, high turnover, poor communication or low employee morale, distrust in leadership may be to blame. According to research from Globoforce, 80% of employees trust their colleagues, but only 65% trust senior leaders. A recent article from Fast Company provides six habits your leaders can begin developing today to have an impact on the level of trust in your organization. Keep your promises- With…
Sep 14
What is Employee Engagement, Really?
Employee engagement has become a bit of a buzz word in the human resources world. There are thousands are articles and tons of research surrounding employee engagement (we’ve written quite a few ourselves) and its impact on your organization. With so much noise out there, it is important to drill down to the basics and remember what employee engagement really is. What do you think of when you hear the phrase? Free lunches, bringing pets to work, ping-pong tables? Employee engagement is so much more than a fun and positive employee experience. Employee engagement at its core is your employee’s…
Sep 6
Building Relationships for Small Business Success
We’ve said many times that being a small business owner is just plain tough. The amount of literal blood, sweat and tears you must pour into building a small business is incredible. Think of a successful small business owner you know; any small business, any industry. There is no doubt that there were days, weeks, months or even years when that business owner wasn’t sure how much longer they could continue. The story of Lora Olson, owner of Superior Cleaning Solutions is not much different. Her success over the past ten years hasn’t come without a great amount of sacrifice…
Aug 29
Four Tips for Offering Negative Feedback to Employees
We often hear from small business leaders that dealing with an underperforming employee is one of the biggest challenges they face. No one likes to be perceived as the “bad guy,” delivering negative feedback to your employees. It isn’t fun and if you struggle with confrontation it can be very difficult. But as a leader, it is important to understand what you can do to help these underperforming employees succeed. It is far too expensive to replace an underperforming employee every time they creep up in your organization and a lot of turnover can damage employee morale. Getting comfortable with…
Jul 21
Standing Out in a Job Interview- Advice from Real Small Business Leaders
Job interviews are nerve-wracking, no matter how many or how few you have participated in.  It is your one shot to impress your potential employer and help them see that you would be a good fit for their organization and you don’t want to mess it up. So, how does a job candidate go about this exactly? You could read countless career-advice blogs, magazine articles or books, but we wanted to find out from real business leaders what one thing a job candidate can do to stand out in an interview. So we asked some of the smartest people we…
Jul 14
Ladder Safety is Important for All Work Environments
Did you know that 43% of fatal falls in the last decade have involved a ladder? And among construction workers, an estimated 81% of fall injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments involve a ladder? But, ladders aren’t only used in construction environments. Many office, manufacturing and retail workplaces have ladders that employees may use occasionally. Any employee that may use a ladder should be trained on appropriate use. Here are some great reminders from the Ladder Safety Hub blog: Before you use your ladder, make sure the ground you are putting it on is level. If you need to, dig…
Jul 12
Is Pokémon Go Taking Over Your Workplace?
You have likely heard by now of the mobile phone game phenomenon known as Pokémon Go. If you haven’t, you may have noticed some strange behavior among your employees, including but not limited to walking around the office with their phone up in front of their face and then suddenly stopping to vigorously swipe across the screen. What is Pokémon Go? Pokémon Go is a mobile phone game created by Nintendo that has recently gone viral. The game is a free app download that uses your phone’s GPS, camera and clock to determine where you are at in the game…
Jul 7
Seven Soft-Skills Great Employees Have in Common
Most business leaders would agree that there have been times in the past where they have made a bad hire. Perhaps the individual looked so great on paper that you overlooked some of the things they lacked through the interview processes. It has happened to the best of us. Before you recruit your next employee, take some time to think about the ideal candidate for that position (you can even use the Ideal Candidate Profile Worksheet in our free Recruiting Toolkit). Chances are technical and professional skills are not the only things you listed. Here is a list of seven…
Jun 20
Safe Practices at Home Lead to Safer Workplaces
Utah Safety Week starts today and this week we will be focusing on things all employers can do to create safer working environments for their employees, regardless of industry. Encouraging safe behaviors at home and on the job will allow employee to return to work each day healthy and ready to perform their job duties. All employers can encourage employees to utilize Personal Protective Equipment at home and on the job.  Here is some information you can share: Personal Protective Equipment For On and Off the Job Stressing safety at work is a familiar focus for business owners and employees alike, especially…
Jun 13
Reduce Stress to Increase Employee Productivity
Getting the most out of your employees is important for any organization, especially small businesses who often have employees wearing multiple hats. In a small business it can be easy to fall into the trap of creating a company culture that values long working hours and rewards employees who put in extra time at the office. But to truly get the most out of your employees and create a work environment that fosters creativity and innovation, it is vital that you minimize employee stress. A recent article from Entrepreneur gives four ways business leaders can help decrease employee stress in…
Apr 28
What Are the Differences Between a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and a Payroll Company?
We have met with countless small business owners over the years and learned they have some specific things in common, no matter the industry or size of the company. First, small business owners are busy. They do not have extra time to spend processing payroll, fielding employee benefits questions or researching human resources best practices. If they do happen to have extra time, they would much rather spend it with their family and friends than dealing with administrative headaches. This leads many business owners to consider available options to help with some of the time-consuming tasks related to running a…
Apr 11
How to Spot an Unhappy Employee
Having unhappy employees isn’t fun. Like a sickness, their poor attitude can spread through your workforce very quickly. Recognizing when an employee isn’t happy gives you as the employer the opportunity to be proactive about your response before they cause too much damage or leave. Let’s face it, the cost of turnover is expensive and finding a way to turn around an employee with a bad attitude and poor performance is often less expensive than finding a new one. A recent article from Inc. gives ten tell-tale signs an employee is unhappy: 1- They do the bare minimum. These are…
Apr 8
Keeping Employee Productivity High During the Summer Months
As summer rolls around, it is natural for employees begin to think more about the beautiful weather outside or their next family vacation instead of their to-do list at work. Keeping employees productive during the summer months can be difficult, but here are some simple steps you can take now to ensure your employees stay focused when distractions are high. Review individual and company goals If you haven’t reviewed goal with your employees, both the company goals and their individual goals, now is a perfect time to do so. One quarter into the year, you can take a look at…
Apr 5
How to Attract and Retain Quality Hourly Employees
It is probably not news to you that labor markets are extremely tight right now with high competition for the best employees in a limited pool. Hourly (or non-exempt) employees can be some of the most difficult to attract and especially retain in a competitive job market. There is always someone around the corner trying to convince them that the grass is greener. A recent blog from the Society for Human Resource Management give some good tips for attracting and retaining these valuable employees. Make recognition a priority Showing your employees that you appreciate them is especially important to your…
Mar 28
Five Daily Activities to Boost Employee Engagement
With any change you are looking to make in your organization, it can be difficult to know where to start. Tackling employee engagement is no different. The statistics are clear. You have likely heard by now that nearly 70% off the workforce is disengaged costing the US over $450 billion dollars per year. Improving employee engagement is a must for any business facing issues with employee attraction, retention, morale and productivity. A recent article in Inc. give five simple things you can do as a small business leader each day to improve employee engagement at your organization without making any…
Mar 18
41 Examples of Rock Star Employees
The first Friday in March is National Employee Appreciation Day, so this month we wanted to give our clients an opportunity to recognize some of their great employees and thank them for everything they do help their businesses to be successful. We received some amazing employee stories! Bel Aire Senior Living - Amanda S. “Amanda is one of our more tenured CNAs in our American Fork assisted living facility.  She also schedules all CNA shifts into weekly schedules.  Over the past year, there has been a CNA shortage in the Utah healthcare industry, where many of our shifts have been…
Mar 17
Seven Common Pitfalls of Employee Recognition
Recognizing the outstanding performance of your employees is vital to creating a positive company culture. Recognition also leads to greater employee engagement, performance and job satisfaction. According to 2015 research by Aon Hewitt, 72% of employees value communication and recognition from their leaders, and 46% report they don’t get enough. Employees who are recognized are 33% more likely to proactively innovate and generate two times as many ideas per month compared to those who aren’t recognized well. For small businesses in particular, this can create a huge competitive advantage when trying to attract and retain top employee talent. The organizational…
Mar 15
Feedback is Vital, but Most Managers Aren’t Comfortable Giving It
One of the biggest factors contributing to job satisfaction is feedback. Research from the Harvard Business Review, Gallup, and many others has found this to be true. Employees want to understand what is expected of them, and they will only know this if you and your managers are communicating effectively with your employees. But, according to a recent article from Harvard Business Review no matter how important feedback is to employees, two-thirds of managers aren’t comfortable communicating with their employees. That is startling.  So what can you do to help your managers become more comfortable with giving negative feedback. The…
Mar 8
Empower Your Employees to Perform at Their Best
What do you do when you don’t feel your employees aren't performing at their best? Most leaders instinctively drift toward micromanaging that employee, which usually leads to even poorer performance along with lower employee morale, job satisfaction and employee engagement. This is one of the biggest challenges of leadership in a small business. How do you get your employees to perform at a high level, without spending your valuable time breathing down their neck?  A recent article from Inc. provides some great advice and gives some easy things leaders can do now to empower their employees, allowing them to perform at…
Jan 22
Helping Your Employees Manage Stress
No matter your company’s size of industry, there is no doubt that you and your employees have to deal with stress, anxiety and burnout. Even though you may be dealing with managing your own stress, one of your jobs as a leader in your small business is to find ways to help your employees manage these difficult times and come out better from them. An article from the Harvard Business Review  online gives some practical and easy to implement ideas for managing employee stress, anxiety and burnout. Model and encourage well-being practices. The first step is for you to manage…
Jan 8
3 Simple Ways Leaders Can Motivate Employees
It is a challenge all business leaders face. How do we motivate our employees to perform? By now most people have heard the employee engagement statistic from Gallup; that 70% of employees are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work.  Finding great employees is a challenge in itself, and then once you have them on board it is necessary to keep them motivated. This keeps you happy because your employee is productive and also keeps the employee happy, decreasing the chances of expensive turnover. A recent article from the Harvard Business Review states that focusing on extensive perks, bonuses or…
Dec 29
The Real Cost of Employee Turnover
Turnover is inevitable in all organizations, but small businesses should be mindful of the cost that excessive turnover can have to their organization. Sure, there may be the cost of sign on bonus for the new employee or unemployment benefits for the departing employee, but there are also other hidden costs. A recent article from Inc. gives five ways that turnover has the greatest monetary impact on your organization: Lowered productivity- No matter the caliber or position of the employee leaving your organization, it is safe to say they were performing some work at your organization before they left.  Their…
Dec 22
Keeping Employees Engaged During the Holidays
This time of year can be tough when it comes to employee engagement and productivity. The holidays can be a big distraction from the workplace, but acting like the holidays don’t; even exist is no fun for anyone. With added personal issues and stress, this time of year can really take a toll on your employees. Here are some ideas of ways you can increase employee engagement at the holidays and reap the rewards all year long. Organize a volunteer activity- According to a survey by United HealthCare, 76% of employees feel better about their employer after participating in a…
Dec 17
Finding the Best Employees for Your Business
Have you ever looked around at your team of employees and wondering how you could get just a few more of the really great ones? I’m sure most business leaders have been in this position. Hiring new employees is difficult and time-consuming and mistakes in hiring are costly. Like everything else in business, having good strategy behind your hiring process is a great way to minimize risk and maximize efficiency.  Here are some tips to get started: Understand what type of employee fits well within your company. Take a hard look at your company culture and the types of employees…
Dec 15
Six Steps for Year End Self-Review and Goal Setting
The end of the year is a great time for reflection on past performance and for setting new goals. You may already be talking to your employees about setting their goals for 2016 and setting some goals for yourself and your company. Goal-setting is important for professional growth, but it can be difficult to get started. A recent article from Fast Company give six steps you and your employees can follow to perform an year- end self-evaluation and set goals for the new year.  1- Do a brain dump of the year: Sit down and write a list of the…
Dec 11
Your Weakest Link May Not Be Who You Expect
We’ve all heard the statement, “You are only as strong as your weakest link.” And it is easy to see how this statement relates to your business and your team of employees. Have you ever looked around and considered who your weakest link might be? The truth is, it is likely not the employee that is performing poorly. It may actually be your best employee. A recent article from Entrepreneur suggests that the vulnerability of losing your best employee without notice is actually your weakest link. Think about it. How would your company fare if your hardest-working employee, most-respected manager…
Dec 2
What Makes Someone a Good Leader?
The topic of what makes someone a good leader can be found in countless books, business periodical and blogs. Leadership development can be a great place for a small business to set themselves apart from the competition. But what is a leader anyway? A recent blog from Fast Company suggests we first look at what isn’t a leader: Being a leader has nothing to do with your title, your seniority or your relative position within the company. Getting a promotion does not automatically qualify someone to lead or manage people. Management and leadership skills must be learned, practiced and constantly…
Nov 23
Easy Ways to Show Employees You Appreciate Them
This week, gratitude is on everyone’s mind. As a small business owner, there is no doubt that you appreciate the work your employees do for you. There is no way to have a great company without great employees. With limited resources, small businesses often need to get creative with how they show employee appreciation. A blog from Business News Daily give some great examples of ways other business leaders show appreciation to their employees. Here are a few of our favorites from that list: Encourage employees to grow. "The best way to show appreciation for your employees [and] people you…
Nov 20
Change to Overtime Law Could be Delayed Until Late 2016
Many small business owners have been concerned about the news released by the Department of Labor on June 30, 2015 of a change coming to the minimum salary required for executive, administrative, and professional employees (typically white collar employees) to be considered exempt from overtime.  There has never been an exact timeline for the release of the Final Rule, which would require all employers to make the change, but many expected it to occur in late 2015 or early 2016. An article in the Wall Street Journal last week, reported that the final rule on the change to overtime eligibility…
Nov 11
Understanding USERRA for Small Businesses
In honor of Veteran’s Day, we wanted to offer a refresher on one of the employment laws that impact your employees who are also serving in the military, USERRA. Often these laws don’t even cross the minds of business owners until they are in a situation where they have an employee in the military, but it is important to understand your responsibilities as an employer. USERRA (The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act) USERRA was enacted in 1994 to expand and strengthen the employment and reemployment rights of uniformed service member including those in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps,…
Nov 9
Preventing the Flu at Work
Flu season has arrived and it is important to understand what we can do to help prevent the spread of the flu virus at work. You may not think that the flu can have a big impact on your business, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu costs employers in the U.S. an estimated $10.4 billion per year. That breaks down to about $135 per employee per day missed due to the flu. For small business constantly working to compete with fewer resources, this can have a huge impact. Here are some tips from the…
Nov 5
10 Ways to Take Employee Engagement to the Next Level
Employee engagement is something that is discussed often in small businesses and among HR professionals. According to Gallup, only 31% of the American workforce is actively engaged in their work, but here is a lot of evidence showing that actively engaged employees are also your highest performers. It is important that small business leaders take notice of this and find ways to increase engagement at their organizations if they want to continue to competes and win among larger corporations. In a recent post on the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) blog, Brady G. Wilson, author of the new book…
Nov 3
What People Who Love Their Work Have in Common
Most small business owners would say that having employees who love their work is one of their goals. Not only do happy employees make your workplace more pleasant, they are also 12% more productive. For small businesses, every little edge you can get on the competition is so important, but happiness so subjective. How do you make sure your efforts will pay off? A great place to start is a recent article in Fast Company that gives five things that people who love their jobs have in common. They enjoy their co-workers. Creating a cohesive team of employees is important.…
Oct 23
Small Business Employee Benefits Trends in 2015
One request we receive often from the small business owners we work with is access to information about what other companies are doing, particularly what benefits are being offered by other employers. The National Compensation Survey is conducted each year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides some insight into what types of benefits are offered to employees at small businesses around the country. The most recent data was released in March 2015 and offers some information that could be helpful as small business owners consider their benefits and total compensation strategies. For the purpose of this research we…
Oct 14
Thinking Beyond Short-Term Achievement
The pursuit of success and achievement is what drives all small business owners. In a past Tedx Talk, Clayton M. Christensen, author of an article in the Harvard Business Review called, How will You Measure Your Life? and book by the same name,  discusses how to define success and why so many successful businesses ultimately fail. The reason that successful businesses often fail is that they focus solely on profits, which push them to focus on short-term achievements. Focusing on profitability alone means that you focus more on short-term gains that bring you profits tomorrow and less on long-term profitability that…
Oct 13
Get a Head Start on Setting Goals
The beginning of the calendar year is the time when most people think about setting goals. This year, get a head start on your goals for your company and your employees and plan them before the holidays hit and distractions get in the way. A recent blog from Talent Culture gives some great advice about goal setting for success. Make sure they are difficult, but achievable. Talent culture suggested an 8 out of 10 on a difficulty scale. Goals should stretch employees, but not be so unattainable that they cause unnecessary frustration. Inspire to aspire. Make sure the language you…
Sep 25
3 Ways to Improve Your Leadership Abilities Each Day
Leading teams of employees is one of the most difficult parts of owning a small business. There are often many different personality types and learning styles all mixed together. Additionally, finding the right managers and giving them the tools they need to succeed makes a big difference in employee engagement and overall business success. With so much on their plates though, leaders sometimes fail to take the time to develop their own skills. A blog from the Harvard Business Review provides three things you can share with your managers that they can do every day (and also do yourself) to…
Sep 3
ACA and IRS Prohibit Pre-Tax Contributions to Individual Employee Plans
3 Sep, 2015. 0 Comments. Benefits, Insight Blog, Taxes. Posted By: A Plus Benefits
We often get questions from employers about paying for an employee’s individual health plan with pre-tax money. The IRS recently clarified the rules regarding the ACA and IRS regulations surrounding employers reimbursing employees, on a pre-tax basis for individual health coverage obtained inside or outside the Marketplace. Some health insurance brokers and agents have been promoting pre-tax premium reimbursement arrangements for individual plans obtained by employees. We want to warn companies that these plans have several pitfalls. First, employers with 50 or more employees are required to buy group health coverage for their employers or face a penalty. This type…
Sep 1
Driving Employee Performance through Celebrating Small Wins
Sometimes running a business can feel like you are running a police department, especially if you are currently dealing with poor employee performance or less than desirable behaviors. You may feel like it is time to step up your game and whip your employees into shape. The most common way to crack down on rising crime rates is to institute new laws, harsher sentences or zero-tolerance policies.  The traditional way of handling criminal behavior is similar to how many employers approach employee issues. If they have employees exhibiting behaviors they don’t like and/or not performing the way they would like,…
Aug 19
5 Tips for Your Most Productive Workday
We’ve all been there. Those days where five-o-clock hits and we feel like we haven’t really accomplished anything. Sure we’ve been working all day. Maybe we haven’t even taken a break for lunch, instead choosing to heat up leftovers and eat at our desks. Small business owners find themselves in this position all too often. It’s not that they don’t want to be productive; it is just that they are being pulled in so many directions. A great article in Fast Company outlines five tips for having a more productive work day. 1- Make Your Morning Count: Instead of sitting…
Aug 14
How to Feel Positive about Giving Negative Feedback
One challenge all small business leaders and managers face is providing effective feedback to their employees. We all know the importance of open honest communication and a free-flowing feedback loop with employees, but that doesn’t mean it comes easily. Sometimes leaders avoid providing criticism because they are concerned with how it will be received. A recent article in Fast Company gives some great advice for providing constructive criticism that will motivate rather than deflate employees. Balance the negative with positive: It is unlikely that your employee is doing everything wrong. Find something that you can highlight that is going well.…
Aug 12
5 Tips for Motivating Employees
Often we hear from business leaders that one of their most frustrating challenges is getting employees to perform. From white collar to blue collar and everything in between, every industry and every business owner faces this same challenge. The power of effective persuasion is an important skill for all leaders to master. A recent article in Inc. provides five tips for getting people to do what you want. Here are there ways you can apply these same ideas to your employees. 1- Always tell the backstory. This is great advice for business owners as well as managers. Share with your…
Aug 10
What Message Is Your Benefits Package Sending?
One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is attracting and retaining top employee talent. Especially in a job market where unemployment rates are low, employees have options to look elsewhere. There has been a lot of talk recently about employer branding, that is the perception that potential, current and former employees have of your organization. Having a positive employer brand greatly impacts your ability to compete for top talent. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), one of the big benefits of a strong employer brand is that employees are more likely to refer other people…
Aug 7
3 Reasons PEOs Make Sense for Small Businesses
When an individual decides to start a business it is because they love what they do. They have a passion for their industry that drives them to put in the time and resources to build a company of their own. What most small business owners don’t have a passion for is all of the pieces that come along with hiring employees. Finding and keeping great employees is necessary for any business that wants to grow and succeed. But many small business owners struggle to find the time to focus on the growth of their employees and their business. That is where…