Affordable Care Act Reporting Software

The Biggest Challenges of Affordable Care Act Reporting

Written by Adam Miller, HR Compliance Manager, Passport Software, Inc.

Affordable Care Act

I’ve helped hundreds of Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) manage their Affordable Care Act requirements and file their 1094-C/1095-Cs. Though each had different reporting needs, the same question kept coming up…

How do I complete Part 2?

1095-C Part II
The original source: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf

Lines 14, 15, and 16 make up Part 2 of the 1095-C and provide details of an employer’s offer of coverage to a full-time employee. Knowing how to correctly complete this section is imperative for Affordable Care Act compliance and avoiding penalties.

Line 14—Use code 1E.

Choosing a line 14 code requires you to know three things:

  • Was coverage offered?
  • Did it meet minimum standards?
  • Was it available to the spouse and dependents?

Deciding on the best 1A-1K code to complete line 14 has one extra nuance, and it can save you hours of scrutiny: If a full-time employee is offered coverage and has the unconditional option to add their spouse and dependents to their plan, you may use the corresponding 1E code for all employees offered coverage—even those who are not married or do not have children. Since spouse or dependent coverage doesn’t need to meet any cost standards, there is little reason not to offer it.

With this allowance, most fully ACAcompliant companies will find they can use Line 14 code 1E for every 1095-C they submit, instead of 1B for single employees, 1C for single parents, and 1D for childless couples. Your life is already easier, isn’t it?

Line 15—Forget about Line 14.

This continues to be a very tough concept to nail down. The IRS wants to know: What is the monthly employee’s share of the least expensive, employee-only plan available to this person?

Let’s review each part of that statement.

  • Employee’s share—the employee’s remaining portion after the employer’s contribution.
  • Least expensive—the qualifying plan with the lowest monthly cost available, often referred to as bronze level. This is not what the employee is paying for a more comprehensive plan.
  • Employee only—One Person. Forget that on Line 14 you reported that the offer included the spouse/dependents. For the purposes of ACA reporting, it does not matter which plan an employee actually enrolls in, only what they could have chosen and what it would have cost them.

Line 16—What happened after Line 14?

It isn’t difficult to find that code 2C applies to employees who accept an offer of coverage, or that 2B is used for a part-time employee. Things start to get murky with code 2D. Code 2D refers to the variable-hour[i] employee who is in their Initial Measurement Period, also known as the Look-Back Method.

People start to panic when it comes to employees who were offered insurance but declined. In their 1095-C Instructions, the IRS wrote 1181 words describing all the Series 2 Codes in use. Nowhere does it say “Use code __ if the employee declined coverage.” In cases where you have made an a fully qualified offer which an employee has turned down, use whichever of 2F/2G/2H matches your method for calculating their income and ensuring affordability:

  • Use 2F if you look at W-2 Wages
  • Use 2G if you use the Federal Poverty Level
  • Use 2F if you look at the employee’s Rate of Pay

Congratulations…

Not only have you completed Part 2, but unless your company self-insures, you can bypass Part 3 completely!

What’s the next step?

Knowing how to correctly use the codes and contribution fields is fundamental, but organized tracking of ACA-related information throughout the year is equally important to save time and avoid penalties. A good, regularly maintained spreadsheet is a serviceable option for smaller ALEs with straightforward ACA reporting. For larger employers, or more complicated reporting, a specially designed software solution or service will reduce the compliance workload and help avoid penalties. A good one will help you accurately manage changing and editing data and even create the 1094-C/1095-C forms or electronic files.

Passport Software’s ACA Software and Services range from on-premise software to full year-round compliance management services. Our friendly service is fast and accurate, and our customers have given us great reviews. Our software is IRS-certified and we are IRS-approved to file on behalf of our clients.

Dealing with past years reporting troubles? We can help there, too.

Learn more about Passport Software’s ACA Software and Services, or call us at 800-969-7900.

[i] variable-hour refers to cases where it is unclear whether the employee will be comfortably above or below the 130 hour per month full-time threshold.

Form 1095-C
The original source: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1095c.pdf

About the Author:

Adam Miller

Adam Miller is the HR Compliance Manager at Passport Software, Inc. He designed their ACA Software and, as a support tech, he has helped hundreds of people with Affordable Care Act compliance and reporting.  Adam has a background in engineering, the service industry, and print, which makes him a technically proficient and friendly communicator for Passport Software.

Passport Software, Inc.

181 North Waukegan Rd, #200

Northfield, IL 60093

800-969-7900

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5 Ways Outsourcing Your Payroll Can Improve Work-Life Balance

Written by Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliances at SD Worx.

Outsourcing Payroll

There are plenty of reasons why outsourcing payroll strategies can be hugely beneficial to your company. Typically, it is the financial arguments that are used, not the emotional ones. However, there are many ways in which outsourcing your payroll can improve the wellbeing of your employees and can restore their work-life balance.

It’s well known that happier employees are much more likely to commit themselves fully whilst at work, bringing increased employee retention rates. Yet, many employers don’t realise that changing your payroll strategy can have an incredibly positive effect on the happiness of your employees. Here’s five reasons why:

1. Reduced workload

If your team is overworked and understaffed, an outsourced payroll strategy is the perfect way to get things back on track. An outsourced payroll strategy takes away the need to recruit and train an additional team member, and can dramatically reduce the workload of your staff much more quickly than getting a new member of staff.

Reducing this workload will make your employees instantly happier as the amount of potential overtime required will fall. Working fewer extra hours will allow employees to improve their work-life balance and will free up time for them to do the things they really love outside of work.

2. Reassuring the workforce

Payroll duties are sometimes given to members of staff who already have packed schedules with their own duties and responsibilities, which can lead to an anxious workforce.

Some employees may also feel concerned about other staff members having full access to their salary details. Moreover, relying on an over-tasked employee to process payroll can create tension for employees who expect to be paid accurately and on time each month.

By outsourcing payroll, an impartial person has access to salary details, which will eliminate any personal tensions surrounding payroll. Knowing that an outside specialist has sole responsibility will also reassure employees that their payroll matters are being taken care of, leading to a more relaxed workforce, a better work-life balance, and a better company culture.

3. No delays

Internal payroll managers are subject to the same demands on their time as everyone else in your company. If a company is going through a busy period where everybody’s help is required to solve an urgent issue or meet an external deadline, those members of your team responsible for payroll are no exception to this.

By outsourcing your payroll to specialist company, you hand over a big responsibility that would require lots of time, money and pressure on payroll employees. The payroll process becomes the outsourcing company’s top priority, so the internal team can focus on other tasks. There are few things which disgruntle an employee more than delayed pay, so offer your employees guaranteed on time payment by using an outsourcing partner to handle your payroll.

4. Lifting the pressure

Managing payroll is a huge responsibility, since you are personally responsible for the livelihoods of everyone in the company, many of which will be close personal friends and colleagues. This can put a lot of moral burden on an employee.

Outsourcing your payroll removes the personal element, as the person making sure that everybody is paid each month won’t individually know the people whom they are paying. Taking this emotional burden away from one of the members of your staff will relieve them of a huge weight, meaning that they are less likely to have to put in long hours to get the payroll sorted in time and will be able to regain a much better work-life balance.

5. Lead by example

Making a positive action such as changing the way you run your payroll will have a trickle-down effect throughout the business. Firstly, it will show employees that their payroll is an essential part of the business, and will lead the way for other changes in different areas and departments.

Many workplaces suffer by not adapting their strategies as the business grows and develops. Outsourcing your payroll strategy is a great example to show your teams of how to be proactive about making changes for the better that will set the business up well for its next phase. You’ll be amazed at how influential such a decision can be, and how large an impact it can have on the mindset of your workers.


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Three ways a Mobile App will Improve Staff Engagement and Your Business’ Bottom Line

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The Employee: Lost in the On-Demand Economy

Why is staff turnover so high?
What can I do to improve worker retention?
How can I keep track of staff that work off-site?
Can I even do anything to improve the worker experience for hourly, on demand and/or off-site staff?

After hearing these concerns from many business owners who schedule and manage remote and hourly workers, I put together a list of core concepts and even unpack a few specific features that will improve worker engagement for event driven businesses that rely on hourly workers.

The growth of on-demand workers dramatically altered the classic employer/employee relationship. In the past, workplace relationships were built nourished by employers and employees sharing time and space. Loyalty and accountability were natural extensions of the relationship. It was not uncommon for people to hold the same job for ten years or more. In the new worker paradigm, hourly workers are assigned event based shifts by catering, hospitality, security, promotions, fashion, and staffing agencies. Event duration can be a couple of hours and event frequency can be irregular. Loyalty, communication, and accountability often suffer as collateral damage of this new worker paradigm where the employer and the employee have minimal interaction, irregular schedules and few points of contact.

Tech to the Rescue

Technology solutions can benefit business owners and workers. Software will save your business (large or small) time and money, by automating processes and providing business insights to make more informed staffing decisions. Empowering workers by providing them with a mobile technology platform will lower absenteeism, reduce churn and improve productivity.

1. Mobile Automated Scheduling Solution

Manual scheduling can be a hassle. Workers have to sift through emails, text messages, calls, and/or excel sheet and then keep track of their personal schedules for their shifts for multiple non-recurring events at different sites.

To address this pain, employers should find a mobile solution that automates much of the scheduling process. Here’s why:

  • Mobile Today’s workforce is mobile first, you have to meet workers where they are: on-the-go and on their phones.
  • Retention If a comparable alternate employer offers an easier process for scheduling, onboarding, and keeping track of events – it will be more difficult to retain good talent.
  • Control Offering on-demand workers the option to accept and decline shifts to comply with their scheduling needs, offers hourly workers more control over their upcoming schedules.
  • Convenience Providing a platform and dashboard where the booking requests and confirmed gigs can be easily accessed removes much of the burden of scheduling from hourly workers.
  • Reminders Being able to easily schedule events to a mobile calendar and set reminders can reduce absenteeism.

2. Improved Communication

Workers that work hourly shifts can find it hard to keep track of their employer, manager and/or team. Working one-off events with different teams makes it difficult to feel connected.

Even in a scenario where it is hard to feel connected, if you choose the right platform, a mobile app will improve communication between workers and management and benefit all parties. Here’s how:

  • Familarity Managers that have access to staff profiles + photos can help develop familiarity enjoyed by people who have worked together for longer periods and improves managers’ ability to create a more pleasant team environment.
  • Teams Having an easy way to connect with fellow workers and managers helps teams build emotional connections, trust, and respect. Stronger teams do better work.
  • Complaints Creating a method to report issues or concern to management via a mobile app normalizes the reporting process, providing a comfortable and convenient way for workers express concerns which increase worker appreciation and loyalty.

3. Accountability

It’s easy for hourly workers that work off-site to feel removed from the business.
Giving contingent workers access to a system provides workers with a sense of accountability so they will be more likely to achieve their goals.

  • Brand Providing workers access to a dashboard, allows businesses to remind workers of their brand.
  • Accuracy Tracking time is a burden for workers and managers alike. Providing workers with a mobile solution with GPS check-in/check-out will track hours with greater accuracy.
  • Feedback Having a mobile app is a great way for businesses to ask workers for feedback allowing businesses to harness the collective ideas and feedback of staff that are on the front lines of the business. Feedback is also a great opportunity for businesses to demonstrate to workers that they value worker input and insights. When workers feel like their voice is heard, their investment in their work increases.
  • Rating Another option to increase accountability is to utilize a rating system, built into mobile a workforce management solution. Knowing managers will evaluate worker performance, gives workers incentive to improve and excel.

Adapting a mobile solution will improve team communication, satisfaction, and efficiency.

About the Author:

Omri Dekalo, Co-Founder and CEO of Ubeya

Omri Dekalo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ubeya.

With web software for business owners and a mobile app for workers, Ubeya nails scheduling, communication and workforce management, empowering business owners and workers alike. Ubeya accommodates custom shifts for 1000s of workers in catering, staffing agencies, and other event driven businesses.

Website: https://www.ubeya.com

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Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

When experts talk about employee engagement, most people imagine lower-level employees and middle managers. These workers have minimal authority over their daily tasks, they are the least job-secure, and they tend to receive the lowest pay and worst benefits packages, meaning they are most likely to be disengaged from their work. As a result, the web is filled with engagement solutions to keep lower-level employees around.

Yet, while HR professionals devote the bulk of their energy to engaging this portion of the workforce, executives are suffering. Though they have greater responsibility and greater remuneration for their efforts, executives can still disengage from their work, lowering their productivity, and endangering the entire business – including those workers at lower levels. However, the engagement solutions that work for lower-level employees rarely apply to higher-level business leaders. Therefore, HR professionals need an entirely different strategy for executive engagement.

Understanding Executives

HR typically doesn’t pay much attention to executives for a couple reasons:

  1. Executives already earn high salaries, and they generally have more control over their schedules and tasks. Therefore, the monetary rewards and engagement strategies HR is most familiar with don’t work.
  2. Most HR reps can’t relate to executives.

Most HR professionals have more in common with low-level employees than upper-echelon executives. Most HR reps earn respectable salaries and average benefits; they complete daily tasks that have little bearing on the greater goals and direction of the company; and only the CHRO and similar top-tier HR workers ever interact with executives. Thus, few members of HR comprehend the lifestyle and struggles of working in the higher levels of an organization.

The first step to engaging executives is understanding executives. It is important to consider that although executives might boast different responsibilities, they are still human. As such, they experience stress and concern for their jobs, their subordinates’ jobs, and their families’ well-being. Further, executives have interests and hobbies, they consume media, and they take pleasure in small joys like the rest of us. Remembering this, HR reps should find it easier to empathize with higher-level workers.

It might also be useful to know what executives discuss with one another – which is not nearly as disparate from the lower-levels as HR reps might expect. Alongside infrequent discussions about business direction and organization design, executives lament their full schedules and intrusive meetings, gossip and chat about mutual acquaintances and people within the organization, and generally talk about what work needs to be done. A savvy HR professional will note that their discussions are nearly identical to those of lower-level workers.

HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

Aside from their wealth and authority, executives aren’t terribly different than anyone else within a business. Therefore, HR reps only need to determine what motivates individual executives to develop effective engagement tactics for the upper echelon. Some common higher-level motivators are:

  • Need. Executives have finely honed talents, and they want to know their talents are integral for business success.
  • Passion. Like everyone else, executives want to like what they do.
  • Chemistry. Workplace culture is important; even executives want to like the people they work with.
  • Challenge. Executives tend to be competitive. If a job isn’t challenging enough, most will disengage.

It isn’t difficult to develop engagement programs around executives knowing how simple and common their needs and wants truly are. To stimulate their need motivation, HR reps can institute a “thank your boss” day, where higher-level employees receive executive gifts. To improve chemistry around the office, HR can organize team-building exercises that are mandatory for the C-suite.

Another useful tactic for engaging executives is to connect them more closely with their subordinates. While some high-level managers are naturally proficient at seeking out and befriending low-level employees, most executives maintain a boundary between themselves and the grunts. HR should strive to coach executives in their behavior toward lower levels, revealing their blind spots when it comes to leadership methods and results. HR should lead by example, placing people first and exemplifying how executives should interact with other members of the organization.

If necessary, HR should encourage executives to enroll in leadership training courses; just because they’ve reached the higher levels doesn’t mean they can’t acquire new skills and knowledge. If an organization invests in its people, its people will invest in the business – even executives understand the value of that.

About the Author:

Tiffany Rowe

Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.


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HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking | Featured Image

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking

HR Specialists Talk About Their Stances On Time Tracking | Main Image

The exponentially growing digitalization of business and life itself is disrupting almost any industry in every country, and it didn’t bypass their HR departments either. Until recently, HR has operated relatively separately from the other parts of the organization, but the evolution of HRMS and SaaS solutions made the HR embedded in everyday business just as much as Marketing or R&D. On the other hand, just like new technologies have created new forms of organizing work (think about digital nomads and virtual organizations), so must the way of managing those employees differ from the conventional ones.

In my attempts to understand the challenges of managing people in large enterprises, as well as the shift in the approach that technology brings in this area, I spoke to a couple of experts in this area – a director of HR department in a large corporation, and a CEO of HR software developing company, about their views on employee time tracking as a business practice. Their rich experience in “both sides” of human resource management allowed them to discuss the benefits of this concept, but also to elaborate their objections.

It’s not for everyone

The first professional I talked to is Sonja Jovanović, head of HR in Serbian branch of accounting and advisory company Ernst&Young. Besides using manually filled timesheets for tracking revenue streams, and punching cards system for checking in and out of the building (although this serves primarily as a security measure), the company does not use any other forms of time tracking, nor do they intend to in the future. Working hours are flexible, remote work is allowed in some circumstances, and their company culture simply doesn’t leave much room for implementing this type of business practice.

The very nature of the industry of providing high-quality services to business clients requires a substantial level of professionalism and severity of their personnel. It takes a tremendous amount of confidence, followed by the strong and thorough selection, to entrust a client to a group of employees. “ […] Therefore, I do not see a situation in which a time tracking tool could bring any value to our organization,” says Sonja.

In EY, performance reviews and feedbacks are being conducted through the complex network of department managers and counselors, and though the employees do use computers, their performance simply cannot be seen nor measured by the amount of time spent on particular computer activities. “Our HRM is digitized in many ways, but tracking time does not fall into that. It simply isn’t applicable, because you cannot gauge the scope and quality of intellectual work by time,” she explains. “The more you try to frame people and their creative process, the greater the set-down will be, and the poorer results you can expect. This simple principle is something that many discipline-obsessed managers fail to understand.”

It’s about culture and priorities

In order to find which companies do find time tracking useful, or even a must have solution for their business, I spoke to Ivan Petrović, CEO of WorkPuls, a company providing time tracking solutions for businesses around the world.

“When it comes to implementation of time tracking solutions in medium and big companies, there are two basic factors that affect this. The first is the company culture, and the way productivity is understood in the company. The second factor are the individual views of managers, especially the HR Directors and their priorities”, says Ivan. WorkPuls works with various companies, from BPO companies, software and video gaming companies to construction companies and e-commerce businesses. While they think that there are certain patterns that one might observe among use cases of different customers, they say that there are also differences among specific goals different managers want to achieve.

“If you are in charge of HR in a company that has more than 500 employees like one of our clients, and your top level management has an initiative to increase productivity, or just wants to gain better insights into current ongoings, you might sometimes feel that it is impossible to know what everyone is working on currently, how happy or productive they are, and whether some teams or employees might be too loaded with work. So you want to find a way to get your insights efficiently, and this is what a good time tracking solution should provide. Such software gives you an easy overview of what your employees are doing at any given time, if this is what you want to know, but also whether they are getting more or less productive over a specific period of time; if they have too much work to do, whether they are “morning birds” or “night owls” and so on. With these insights, it is easier to work together with your employees to optimize workflow, provide a better working atmosphere, and consequently bring up the productivity of the whole company. Of course, all under the condition that your employees’ work is dominantly computer-bound,” explains Ivan.

Smaller companies, however, seem to have a different motive. “Speaking of smaller to medium size businesses, many times owners or managers look for an easier way to monitor whether everyone is working as promised, or they want to use insights to reduce the waste of time,” explains Petrović. “But there have also been cases where business owners used time tracking to see whether their employees needed any additional training with the tools they use. If some of your employees are spending way more time on those Excel sheets or Google Translate then the rest of the team, that might suggest that it’s time for additional training in that specific area.”

Since large companies already have their own payroll accounting solutions and punch in/punch out systems, the analytics side of time tracking software here becomes much more significant. Ivan mentions security related questions, along with the need to integrate time tracking data with other data in the company.

“There is an increasing need in this field to provide ever more flexible solutions, balancing the transparency for the employees with solid protection of security and privacy, within the company, but also towards the outside. Integration with other systems is also important.”

Control or motivation?

The overall impression was that for companies like these time tracking would not be yet another control mechanism, but a tool for improving the insight of HR professionals in everyday work and interactions of their people as well. It seems that if you are willing to dig deeper into the metrics, you might discover some remarkable ongoings which would hardly be detected in traditional ways of performance management. For many managers, this feels like a big step forward.

Although the digitalization of HR activities has opened great opportunities in terms of increasing the speed and quality of analytical processes and providing greater insights into organizational affairs, while at the same time reducing costs, there are still some downsides to be looked after. Downsizing the HR departments or burdening HR professionals with technical details are the first threats to successful adoption and modernization of people management. The serious threat to privacy that technology presents is the main reason why the initiative for using such tools should and must come from the HR. Bearing all this in mind, we can conclude that the basic challenge of the profession will be to recognize, develop and exploit the positive potentials of digitalization, while at the same time avoid, or at least minimize the concomitant risks.


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Performance Management in Agile Teams and How to Improve It

Performance Management in Agile Teams and How to Improve It

We’re living at an exciting time in the history of work. Everything from the way we design our workplaces to entrenched ideas of organizational hierarchy are being questioned and even rejected in favor of new processes, designs and ideas which favor flexibility, customization and, above all, agility.

One such ingrained concept which is being totally revamped is the idea of the team. Rather than the traditionally static top down teams, knowledge intensive organizations are reformulating this concept to better fit their fast paced environment.

The great thing about this reconceptualization of the team is that there is not one but several new models which are being taken and adapted to fit the needs of the organization. Customization and experimentation are key.

team-network-infographic
Source Deloitte University Press

However, the unique characteristics of these teams also means that they don’t necessarily fit into standard HR processes, especially the annual performance appraisal. Traditional top down annual reviews were created for static teams in which managers, peers and reports stay the same and an individual’s year long performance is assessed. The challenge for HR will be to redesign performance appraisals so that they can be customized for each teams’ needs.

Here are some common characteristics of these new types of teams which HR will have to take into account:

Self-steering

The main idea behind these new types of teams is to increase agility. One of the most important parts of this is keeping decision-making at the team level. Rather than having to wait for approval, these teams have the ability to act fast facilitating a more flexible response to sudden industry changes. These sudden changes in direction also require flexibility in goal-setting and constant feedback to help get everyone on track.

Cross-collaborative

These teams consist of people with different areas of expertise, thereby, both enabling each member to leverage their strengths to accomplish team goals and facilitating knowledge-sharing within the team. For example, Spotify has created its own grids of employees based on different groups, tribes, chapters, etc. of skills. Watch this video to see how their system works. With everyone bringing a different skill to the team in order to reach a common goal, feedback is key, not only from team leads, but also from peers.

Ad hoc

These may not necessarily be static teams but can also be project based groups which form and disband on a needs basis. For example, gaming company Valve is famous for allowing their employees complete freedom to form and move between groups based on their interest in a project, even providing them with rolling desks which can be moved along with their owner.

Creating psychological safety in teams

According to Juan Castillo, Scrum master at tech company Impraise, no matter what type of team you have, creating psychological safety is the most important element you need to create a successful team. This is difficult to build as safety requires trust, which can only come when people feel comfortable sharing ideas or raising concerns without being judged. The term psychological safety was originally coined by Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson and later found to be the top quality needed for a successful team during Google’s Project Aristotle study. Read more about psychological safety.

How can HR create a performance management process that fits the needs of these new types of teams and, at the same time, fosters trust?

Performance management in agile teams

Rather than trying to fit these unique types of teams into a traditional annual performance appraisal framework, allow teams to customize their own performance management cycles which are sprint or project based. This could include:

Sprint or project based performance appraisals: Rather than basing performance reviews on year long performance, allow teams to decide when performance assessments are most needed. In the past, pen and paper reviews took hours for HR to set up and then distribute the results. Using a performance management tool gives team leads the power to set up reviews in minutes eliminating hassle.

Empower your people: The best people to receive development advice from are those you work with the most. If your people move frequently between ad hoc and project based teams they may miss the opportunity for valuable insights from temporary team members. Allow your employees to take ownership of their development by giving them the flexibility to choose who they want to receive feedback from during their performance appraisal.

Continuous feedback: In these teams everyone has their different field of expertise but the point is not to keep this knowledge separated. Agile teams present a unique opportunity for upskilling and growing your talent organically. Make the most out of this by facilitating continuous 360-degree feedback outside of performance reviews.

Feedback moments: Creating specific moments during which people share feedback with each other can help train positive feedback behavior within teams. The more people are prompted to give feedback the more they’ll become comfortable with it and then begin sharing it on their own.

As Castillo shared with us, this has to start at the top level. As a scrum master he regularly asks his team for feedback after retrospectives to see how they can be improved so that everyone benefits. Leading by example can show the rest of the team that it’s ok to ask for and receive feedback.

Another important moment during which feedback is essential is during sprint demos. It’s not only important that agile teams share the work they’ve accomplished with other teams, but it’s essential that they’re also able to receive external feedback, especially from individuals in customer success or sales who are working directly with clients.

Finally, a major part of creating a successful and comfortable environment is by taking time to celebrate success. Let people know that their hard work won’t go unnoticed.

You may be wondering, if you give these teams too much flexibility over their performance management process, how can you ensure alignment across the organization?

HR’s role in creating a self-service performance management system

While teams should be given the flexibility to choose the performance management style that works best for the way their team works, there are three things HR will need to do to facilitate this self selection based environment:

Competencies: Create core competencies which will help you align and compare team performance across the organization. Likewise, having a library of competencies will set the standard for new leaders learning how to best guide their teams.

Technology: It’s up to you to choose a performance management tool that allows each individual group, team tribe, etc. to customize their own process within the same platform. Impraise is one option which has been chosen by over 100, mainly tech companies, including Atlassian, Fandango and Shopify.

Data: Using one platform allows you to collect, analyze and compare the performance of different teams on core competencies. Use this data to gain insight into the health of your teams. Rate of feedback exchange within a team can be a great indicator of psychological safety.

There can be no more one size fits all performance management process. Instead, it’s time to build an agile process that caters to the needs of agile teams.


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Why HR Must Take Ownership Of Data To Survive

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The jobs market remains buoyant, emphasising the need to increase efficiency in hiring processes and improve retention levels but without taking responsibility for its data, achieving these goals will remain elusive and threaten HR’s survival.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) Report on Jobs last month revealed that permanent placements rose at their highest rate in over two years in July while the availability of temporary and permanent candidates dropped again. An increase was also reported in salaries for all new hires.  

This news comes as the CIPD reports that analytics and AI were named as two of the top three most disruptive issues facing HR during a panel debate at the University of Bath. The contingent workforce was the third. ‘Ownership of data’ was highlighted as a specific issue as the nature of the jobs market and the working environment are both relentlessly disrupted by technology. CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese also observed a ‘complacency’ surrounding technology.

Taking ownership of data

Without taking ownership of data it is impossible to understand what is happening in your hiring process or improve falling retention levels among new hires. This is a particular problem in the UK as nearly half of all employers are failing to address the impact automation and AI will have on their business.

In order to avoid a complacent attitude towards recruitment data, adopt the following three steps:

Align your recruitment planning with business objectives: Talent acquisition strategies should be aligned with the overall objectives of the business but nearly a third of hiring teams don’t have a strategic workforce plan according to a Korn Ferry report. Collaboration is essential to implement effective talent planning and must be supported by technology.

Use applicant tracking software: The first step towards effective use of data is the implementation of a modern recruitment management system yet nearly half of employers don’t use applicant tracking software in their recruitment strategy. Without it, gaining an accurate understanding of what is preventing your business from hiring talent is impossible. Vital recruitment metrics enable HR to evaluate and improve hiring success yet too many hiring teams lack this vital knowledge.  Evidence based decision making is critical to creating a talent acquisition strategy that works.

Acknowledge the mobile job search: Only just over a quarter (28%) of companies use mobile technology in recruitment yet the rise of mobile job search is one of the most prominent tech trends affecting talent acquisition. By integrating a mobile responsive hiring process your ability to hold on to the qualified candidates in your recruitment funnel will improve – it is a straightforward step available through your recruitment software.

Improving the effectiveness of HR

Additional issues complicate HR’s ability to take ownership of its data.  The effectiveness – or otherwise – of HR functions also affect this area. 

A new survey from ViewsHub found that HR departments in technology companies were rated as the least effective and notably below the industry average. Professional service companies and retail also recorded low rankings which were based on three key criteria, namely, the ability to get things done, their technical ability in their jobs and their responsiveness to other teams. HR functions in the travel and food sectors ranked highest in the survey. 

Again, a move towards data driven recruitment can improve the perception of HR across an organisation:

Become more agile: An article in the Harvard Business Review, suggests that a lack of agility is holding back HR’s ability to adapt to disruptions. It proposes that HR should operate in ways that respond to ongoing changes in culture and working style – which includes developing a tech-centric culture. This is evident in tired recruitment processes that bear no resemblance to the job search habits of today’s candidates and are based on assumptions that the labour market still favours employers. An agile HR function increases efficiency in hiring and ultimately productivity. Relinquishing your reliance on manual recruitment processes will enable that and improve the ‘effectiveness ranking’ of HR departments which are struggling to respond to the needs of their business. 

Use data to understand the jobs that make a difference: McKinsey suggests that 5% of jobs create 95% of the impact within an organisation. Those exact jobs are different for every company. HR analytics will help your business to identify your roles which fall into the 5% category and focus on sourcing the talent for those positions  – and improve the effectiveness of HR. Taking ownership of data and avoiding complacency around technology is key to this. 

Take ownership of your data. Invest in world class recruitment software used by some of the world’s leading organisations to manage their entire talent recruitment systems. Contact Advorto today.

This article first appeared on Advorto's blog.

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5 Social Media Recruiting Tactics You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

5 Social Media Recruiting Tactics You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

Written by Helen Sabell, CEO & Principal of the College for Adult Learning.

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In our current digital era, it is so easy to reach a wide group of people from your fingertips. It is important for companies to have strong social media recruitment strategies so that they can fill their teams with the best candidates for each position. Social media recruiting is one of the most effective tools in attracting talented professionals to your organisation.

Read on to learn how you can improve your social media recruitment tactics and increase your chances of finding the perfect candidate for your role.

Sourcing Candidates

Sourcing potential candidates via social media is an excellent strategy, especially with people using an average of five or more social media platforms. LinkedIn is the most common social media platform recruiters turn to in order to find talent and it is an excellent place to start. However, if people are using more than five social networks, surely there’s room to branch out?

Instead of heading straight for LinkedIn, try other social media sites like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook to source new talent. Specialised search tools such as Followerwork can search through Twitter bios for job titles and keywords. Chrome browser extensions such as Intelligence Search, can easily search Facebook and Google+ and help you find potential candidates.

You can also use social media to filter out bad candidates since how someone behaves on social media can be a direct indication of their attitude. If you find that your candidate’s values do not match your company’s you can cross them off your list before you go through the lengthy recruitment process.

Monitor Your Competition

Social media is not only an excellent form of finding candidates, but you can also use it to keep an eye of your competitors. There are many tools available to recruiters to monitor the social media activity of their competition. Certain tools allow you to set up search columns which display how often certain hashtags and key terms are mentioned on sites such as Twitter. Such insights can allow you to get a leg up on competitors and improve your on social media tactics.

Targeted Facebook Ads

Targeted Facebook ads can be a great opportunity to connect with the best candidates. Many companies are investing a large portion of the advertising budget towards Facebook ads. Targeted Facebook ads allow you to choose certain demographics so that your ad is seen by the groups you are looking for. For example, if you are searching for an entry-level candidate, you may target a younger crowd (e.g. early 20s). It is an excellent way to narrow down your search and make sure you are reaching the right people.

“Occupational targeting” is also an excellent strategy to make sure your Facebook ads reach users who are experienced and working in your desired industry. You can alter your settings so that you are targeting users from particular companies, job titles or adult education courses.

Engage With Candidates

Social media platforms are a great way for you to communicate with new and current candidates throughout the recruitment process. Your Facebook page is a great tool for communicating your company’s image to potential candidates. Be sure to include useful information about the work culture, locations, employee testimonials and other relevant information.

Encourage your candidates to visit your page and ask any questions they may be pondering. Be sure to present an accurate image of your company as most people can usually tell if you are being ingenuine. You will pull in more talent if you provide an authentic persona of your company. 

Participate In Online Discussions

Social media can give you the opportunity to make sure you are present in the right conversations. Through the social media sphere, you can sort through your pool of candidates and find the right people. Being present in LinkedIn groups and using hashtags is a great strategy for making sure your job ads are seen by your target group. Make sure your job hashtags are unique and carry some relevance to the role.

Adult learning forums are constantly active, with many students seeking job advice and eager to gain experience. Online forums like these are an excellent place for recruiters to source talent and find the right people for their positions. Make sure you are getting your brand out there so that you have a well-known presence online.

Recruiting through social media strategies opens up a world of opportunities for HR professionals. It is a vital channel for sourcing new candidates and reaching the best people for the job. Start getting to most out of your social media recruitment strategy today.

About the Author:

Helen Sabell

Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs.

Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+


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How Technology Can Help to Prevent Workplace Stress

We spend over eight hours a day, five days a week at work.

Some of us may even spend more of our waking hours with our colleagues than our families.

It’s therefore important that our working lives leave us happy and fulfilled.

Sadly, studies show that one in four of us will suffer from a mental health condition in our lifetime.

Spending so much of our waking time at work, it’s inevitable that work will affect our mental health.

Too much pressure or long-term stress can cause employees to burn out, leaving them with less energy to function in and out of work.

Too little work – or a lack of stimulation – can also lead to stress. Employees feel under-fulfilled, like they’re wasting their time, and want to be anywhere but at work.

The more stressed employees are, the less work they get done, and the more businesses suffer.

Embracing technological innovations puts employees back in control of how they spend their time at work and greatly reduces the risks of stress and burnout.

Here are four ways technology can make employees feel more fulfilled, and help to prevent workplace stress.

Organize and coordinate schedules

Trying to find a time when a team can meet to discuss something important can often take as long – sometimes even longer – than the meeting itself.

If it’s an important or last-minute meeting, trying to get everyone together can cause employees huge amounts of stress.

There’s always a risk of someone being double-booked because they didn’t check their calendar before agreeing to a suggested time.

This then causes more stress because the meeting needs to be rescheduled.

Calendar connectivity means that this process can be automated, preventing double-bookings and avoiding any stress the process could cause.

Instead of long email chains or back-and-forth phone calls, the person organizing the meeting can tell the software whom they need in the meeting. It can then suggest a list of times when everyone is free to meet. If calendars are set up for bookable resources such as meeting rooms or parking spaces, it can incorporate this into its calculations too.

Connecting an employees’ calendar to HR software also means that they don’t need to switch between applications to keep track of their schedules.

Speed up and streamline complicated processes

On the surface, organizing interviews seems like an easy process, but with so many candidates and interview panellists to coordinate, it quickly becomes laborious.

Hiring managers can spend as many as 20 hours a month organizing interviews.

Automating this process gives hiring managers more time to spend on other tasks, saves interview panellists from having to constantly flit between their calendar and emails, and allows candidates to book their interviews discreetly.

Another process that can be automated is the organization of staff appraisals. In large organizations, this process can be particularly time-consuming.

However, when employees are calendar connected, software can work out the best times for an employee to meet their manager and automatically add the appointments to their calendar. No matter what size their team is, the process is instant.

Offering training programs for employees to expand their skills further breaks up the tedium of the daily routine.

Training programs don’t just have to take place at work, either.

There are thousands of online courses out there, and many of them are free.

Many industries also have their own courses or week-long events that employees can attend to network and get a change of scenery.

Giving employees new ways to learn and grow helps to spark new ideas that they can bring back to the workplace.

Learning new skills is also an effective way to prevent stagnation and keep employees interested in their work.

Monitor employee wellbeing

Looking after employees is a key part of HR.

New technology means HR teams can track how employees feel and gain an insight into how different teams work.

They can also encourage employees to get up and get moving by offering incentives such as fitness trackers.

Communication tools such as Slack give employees the opportunity to keep in touch whether they work in the same building or different parts of the country.

Tools like this can be key for managers and HR staff to keep informed of how employees are getting along, particularly if they work remotely full- or part-time.

Let employees take control of their schedules

The more things a person has floating around in their mind, the more difficult it is for them to organize their thoughts.

When employees have a lot to do and nowhere to organize their time, it’s inevitable that something will be forgotten.

Taking advantage of technology allows them to use it for everything from creating to-do lists in Trello to tracking customer queries in Zendesk.

Giving employees somewhere they can make a note of everything they have to do means that they spend less time trying to remember everything and more time getting things done.

The technology you provide for your employees matters

Richard Branson once said that if you “look after your staff. They’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”

When employees feel overwhelmed or overworked, they’re less productive and less able to help a business to grow.

Employees are what make a business a success.

Choosing the right people is crucial, but that’s only part of it.

If you don’t look after them, they won’t be as good to your business as they could be.

By nurturing employees, making them feel appreciated, and giving them opportunities to learn and grow, it not only benefits them, but the business, too.

The more knowledge employees acquire in their industry, the more they can use this to create a better customer experience and increase company revenue.

This then means the company can grow and increase its profits faster.

Everyone wins.


Source: How Technology Can Help to Prevent Workplace Stress | Cronofy Calendar API

Crelate’s Opportunity Management Tool Is Coming

Recruiters Are Searching for an All-in-One Solution

Have you ever dreamed of being able to manage ongoing candidate searches alongside your clients and sales pipeline? Ever wish your sales and recruiting efforts were always on the same page? That’s the value of a unified Recruiting Opportunity Management and Applicant Tracking Solution and this is what Crelate Talent has been building for the past several months.

Recruiting is very difficult and can be quite stormy. It’s ideal if you can gain access to a technology solution that helps calms the waters and helps you be more productive. Technology shouldn’t get in the way of you doing what you do best: connect with others and build relationships.

Recruiting can be Difficult – Technology should help Calm the Waters

Crelate Talent has been building an applicant tracking/talent management system since 2012. During this time as we have developed software solution for recruiters and talked to hundreds and hundreds of ATS users. One request we’ve heard over and over is: Can we get an applicant tracking system (ATS) and a customer relationship management (CRM) solution in one system? The hassle of working with multiple systems can be time consuming, require doing tasks twice, and pose the risk that the systems won’t play nice with each other. There is a better way.

One of our key principles is that recruiters should “Spend Time Recruiting Not Entering Data”. Therefore, having an all-in-one solution for ATS + CRM has always been on our road map. Further, we were founded on the notion that recruiting is about ‘Creating Relationships’. We see recruiting as the process of aligning the right talent to the right opportunity at the right time. Recruiters are constantly meeting new candidates and meeting potential clients and, therefore, need a way to track these vital connections.

Technology can edify this process and lead to helping good recruiters be great. Just like you need to connect with candidates recruiters also need to build long-term relationships with customers and clients. And wouldn’t it be awesome to have both of these processes in one system? We are excited to bring our Recruiting CRM/Opportunity Management solution to your business.

Crelate’s Opportunity Management Solution

ABC :: Alway Be Closing

Crelate is excited to announce that coming in the fall our recruiting solution will be updated to include a full-featured Opportunity Management system that will live along-side our ATS system. CRM solutions are talked about often in recruiting. The reason we’ve chosen to name ours “Opportunity Management” is we see it as a way to manage your sales pipelines and potential clients in a similar way to how you manage your candidate pipelines.

In a similar way to managing a candidate pipeline you can also view the sales process as “managing the sales pipeline.”

Our opportunity management system allows recruiting agencies ways to better engage customers, mange their sales process, and forecast potential revenue. Pairing this functionality with a fast, modern ATS is a powerful combination.

What’s more, we’ve built our Recruiting CRM solution to function in a similar way to our ATS–meaning keeping the same ‘drag and drop’ style that is user-friendly and is easy for your team members to learn.

Value of an Opportunity Management Solution for Recruiting

There are many ways that an effective opportunity management system can help your business. Here are 3 to start with:

  • Better Engage Clients – We live in a fast-paced world where we are constantly making connections and meeting new people. As recruiters meet potential clients they must be able to capture the important information and get those folks in their database. Once they are in the system, and the relationship continues to blossom, it’s critical that recruiters be able to quickly recall personal information.
  • Manage the Sales Process – Every agency has their unique sales process workflows and so it’s critical to have a CRM that fits exactly what you do. Your opportunity management solution should be fully customizable and work how you do.
  • Forecast Potential Revenue – Every business clamors for more data and information on how their business is doing and where it’s going in the future. If you can have a system that can provide you with a quick snapshot of the business in real-time that is a difference-maker. This also allows you to see where you need to focus your efforts and the potential value (ROI) of opportunities in your funnel.

If having an integrated ATS + Opportunity Management sounds intriguing contact our Customer Success Team today for more information on our Opportunity Management Solution.

Drag and Drop Feature for your Sales Pipeline

Source: Crelate’s Opportunity Management Tool is Coming – Crelate