How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

Author: Jen Stroud, HR Evangelist & Transformation Leader, ServiceNow

How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

I once worked for organization where most employees exiting said their reason for leaving was because it was just too difficult to be an employee there. Wow! Too difficult to be an employee? As HR professionals, we hear concerns about managers, pay, or even leadership as reasons people leave. Those are big challenges most organizations face at one time or another, and they are not easy to solve. But when an employee says it’s too hard to be an employee, that should get your attention quickly.

Jen Stroud, HR Evangelist & Transformation Leader, ServiceNow
Jen Stroud, ServiceNow

An HR leader told me that making work life easier for their employees is vitally important. This leader works for a company that is in the business of saving lives every day. They want their employees focused on this critical mission rather than on who can answer their benefits question or what process they need to follow to be reimbursed for a course they’ve taken. And they’re not alone. All executives want their employees focused on their mission, whether it’s creating innovative products, building a sales pipeline, or servicing customers. Organizations hire employees to perform a role that is vital to a company’s growth and stability. Any obstacle that gets in the way of that mission should be removed. Yet, the challenges often remain because some people view change as difficult and too disruptive or we have bought into the belief that one system can solve all our HR technology needs. It’s also possible that no one is asking employees what they think or ignoring the signs of frustration until it’s too late.

The good news is that with the technology solutions available today, HR leaders can dramatically impact the employee service experience in a positive way. But you have to be willing to look at your employee service experience and your HR technology landscape in a new way. You have to be willing to imagine the art of the possible and be ready to disrupt the status quo. I have met with several HR execs over the past few years who cannot acknowledge the need to disrupt their HR service landscape. Instead they trust that the investments they’ve made in the past will pay off one day. HR has been a laggard department when it comes to innovation and change. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be your reality.

Your Employee Service Experience

First, ask the simple question, “Is it easy for employees to take care of their basic HR needs and be productive in their jobs?” Are you providing your employees with a service experience at work that resembles their service experiences outside of work? Employees bring expectations to work every day. If they use an app in their personal lives that makes it easy to get something done, that is the type of experience they expect at work. And while no two organizations are alike and employee expectations vary, it is safe to say that most organizations face the same challenge—the majority of employees have high expectations for their employee service experience. Consider the following when assessing your current state:

  • Do you provide a one-stop shop for all HR questions and requests?
  • Are employees able to view their submitted requests at any time?
  • Are you keeping employees notified on the status of their requests in the manner they most desire (via text for example)?
  • Can employees easily find information pertinent to them and quickly submit requests to HR?
  • Can employees do all of this from their mobile device?

Your HR Technology Landscape

Digital Employee Experience

In most organizations, HR teams spend more than 30 percent of their days repeating the same information to employees over and over again and doing other repetitive work. Unfortunately, the information is not always consistent and correct. Often, response times are long leading to frustrated employees. In addition to preventing HR teams from focusing on more strategic initiatives, old school work environments that rely heavily on email communication and lack automated workflows are encouraging attrition as employees make the decision to move on to other organizations where they feel more valued… where it’s easier to be an employee. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time is your HR team spending on the daily administrative minutia of answering the same questions over and over again whether by email, phone or in person?
  • Are they still manually updating systems and processing paperwork?
  • Are employee needs being anticipated? Are their expectations being managed?

Are the HR systems in use at your company fit for purpose or are there gaps that prevent you from providing a service experience to your employees that will make them feel valued and prepared to fully contribute to your mission? Most companies have invested in technology designed to manage employee information and transactions. The missing link is often the “interaction” component. Consider the following questions:

  • How is email used in your company to manage employee questions and requests?
  • Can you easily determine how many and what type of requests are coming into HR or your employee information needs?
  • Do employees have access 24/7 to a knowledge base that will inform their decisions about benefits?
  • Can your HR team easily and independently make modifications to workflows and forms without having to engage with IT or professional services?

There are great HCM solutions available in the market today though I have yet to see one that alone can truly accomplish all of these. Email continues to be used in most organizations to manage interactions with employees even though it provides no visibility into request status and no structure or metrics for HR. The good news is that service management technology exists that integrates with existing HR technology to fill in these gaps allowing organizations to streamline and modernize the entire employee life cycle.

If employees are not giving you direct feedback as they leave your company, they may be posting their thoughts on sites such as Glassdoor or otherwise letting potential applicants know about their experience. Don’t wait for disaster to strike or be overwhelmed by the challenges in front of you. All great journeys begin with one bold step. The first step in your transformation journey could be a matter of adding structure and visibility to your employee request and information processes. Seize the opportunity to make a difference—a difference that will have a long term impact on the viability of your company. Invest in your employee service experience and you may reap the rewards of higher employee engagement and longer employee tenure. At the very least, you will have far fewer complaints about the ease of working in your organization.

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8 Best Practices to Protect Your Enterprise Network

How to Simplify Your Self-Storage Business with HR Outsourcing

Starting a business is a challenge. It is, however somewhat of a dream for quite a lot of people. Knowing that self-storage businesses are thriving due to the ever-growing need for more storage space, it’s perfectly normal that you are thinking about starting your own self-storage business, and why shouldn’t you? The real question is – how to do it in the best possible way?

We’ve searched the web for you, and we’ve made this short guide that should help you understand how to simplify your business and still keep it professional and on a road to success. As you’re probably thinking about starting small, you must think about maximum efficiency. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and check how outsourcing strategies can help you out with your business.

Why Outsourcing?

One of the most amazing things about self-storage businesses is that they could be run very efficiently with a small staff. As a business owner, even the opportunity to avoid making internal departments and different segmentations of your employees should sound amazing. Well, outsourcing can help you out with this issue significantly.

Let’s take a look at how any employees do you really need. First of all, the main idea behind self-storage is that customers can come and go as they please. This means that you don’t need too many people tend to their needs. You would need someone to take care of security, maintenance, and housekeeping. Other than these staff members, all other parts of your business could be addressed externally.

In order to truly provide the best service and focus on your customers, you should think about hiring a B2B finance company to handle your finances. There are incredibly affordable marketing companies and services that can take care of your advertising and marketing needs and your human resources could be handled by outsourcing professionals. This way you really don’t have to burden yourself with multiple roles, and you can focus on the development of your business.

Hiring New Stuff Personally VS Outsourcing Human Resources

Let’s focus a bit on your employees and the entire process of hiring. When it comes to finding the perfect candidate for the job, you may already know that it can be tricky. One of the worst scenarios is handling employee turnover. There’s quite a lot of time involved in the entire process, as you need to make the offer, wait for the candidates to respond, find the best ones, provide them with the proper training and regulating all the things that follow like tax documents, payrolls and so on. And if that employee gets a better offer after a month or two, and decides to leave, you have to go through the entire process over again.

When it comes to outsourcing an HR company, you only have to find the one that suits your needs, and that’s all. What you can expect from them is that they go through their professional networks and connections in order to find the candidate that suits your needs in the best possible way. They help the employee implementation and some even provide full HR support if needed, so your company has the best possible retention. While they’re doing their job, you can really focus on the necessary tasks needed to help your company evolve and flourish.

Benefits of HR Outsourcing

We’ve explained how outsourcing an HR company can help you out with finding the perfect employees, but there are other reasons why you should consider this move, whether you’re running a self-storage start-up or you’re running a large company. Here are some of them.

  • Keeping the staff count low – As you don’t need so many people to help you run a successful self-storage business, you definitely don’t need an internal HR department. Usually, quite a lot of business owners take the role of an HR manager and they lose precious time on tasks that would have been completed with ease by an outsourcing HR firm.
  • Technological advancements – You would be surprised how many storage owners still use old time tracking processes or paper insurance enrollments. Quite a lot of them still operate using pen and paper, and having an HR outsourcing company take care of some of those things can speed up things quite significantly. With online platforms, time tracking and attendance systems you can really boost your business.
  • Compliance – Having to track everything, from your employees’ medical records and overtime pays by yourself can be quite hard. With an HR outsourcing firm, you don’t have to think about that. We’ve talked about it with a lot of self-storage business owners and Super Cheap Storage professionals from Gold Coast have emphasized how this solution helped them focus more on their customers and their needs.
  • Single solution – Once you replace numerous vendors with a single streamlined process, and once you know that a single team of professionals is handling your affairs, you, as an owner get to focus on your primary duties, while the entire workflow is not disrupted.

Wrapping It Up

No matter what type of self-storage business you’re running, whether it’s a startup or a well-established self-storage facility, you should always look for the ways to make your business more efficient and customer-adapted. Having enough time to complete your tasks as an owner is crucial if you’re planning on running a successful self-storage business. A thorough research and some planning can help you a lot in a long run, so start thinking about outsourcing solutions for your business.

Creating the right learning environment for your employees is imperative. Here's how you can do just that.

How to Create a Better Learning Environment for Your Employees

Encouraging employees to always be developing their skills is good for their mood, career development, and even team bonding.

When you offer employees the chance to learn and grow, it shows that you value them. This makes them more effective in their role – both because they’re expanding their skills and because they don’t feel like just another cog in the machine – and therefore makes your business more successful, too.

From attending conferences online to making classes more interactive, technology makes staff training easier than ever. Here are just some of the ways technology helps you to create a better learning environment for your employees.

Make training part of company culture

Training should be seen as a key part of company culture. It’s only when employees are supported and guided in their growth strategies that they can really excel.

However, it can be difficult to for employees to find the time to work on their skills around their busy schedules. Automating certain tasks, such as speeding up data entry using Excel macros, gives them more time to spend on expanding their skills.

Other repetitive tasks, such as organizing meetings, can also be automated by adopting features such as calendar sync. When a team’s calendars are connected to a booking software, the meeting organizer can select the meeting attendees, then leave the software to work out the rest. It can even work out the most suitable meeting room and schedule the meeting around the availability of that room.

Give employees easy access to the training resources they need

Employees need the right equipment for their training session so that they can get the most out of it. This could involve laptops, projectors, screens, or even parking spaces.

In a large organization the availability of these resources can’t always be guaranteed. Connecting the calendars of these resources to a booking software allows them to be reserved in advance. Training sessions can even be scheduled based on the availability of the necessary resources.

The schedules of guest speakers can also be connected to your booking software, meaning that you can book a training session based around both their schedule and the schedules of everyone that needs to attend. Nobody needs to miss out because they’re on vacation or at another training event.

It’s not always necessary to attend training events in person anymore, though.

Many conferences now offer e-tickets, which allows employees to attend without the extra expenses of travel or hotel stays. This saves your business money while employees still get to develop their skills.

E-tickets often come with the chance to rewatch lectures after the conference is over, which can also be a valuable resource. It also means employees can watch talks at a time that is most convenient for them and don’t have to miss out on anything because of time differences.

Make learning more engaging

We’ve all had to sit in a cold, dank room surrounded by colleagues while someone talks at us all day. Sometimes what can be explained in an hour is dragged out into an all-day event to justify guest speakers or room rental.

This isn’t an effective, fun, or engaging training method.

When employees can use technology, learning instantly becomes more engaging. Training modules can be turned into games; meetings can be simulated or even attended in VR, and employees can get their questions answered instantaneously by a chatbot.

Chatbots can help employees both inside and outside of a training room – should a new hire have any questions, for example, they can ask the chatbot and get an answer straight away. This means they don’t have to disturb their colleagues to get answers, and they don’t have to wait around for their colleagues to be free, either. Your latest hire can get to grips with things and start helping the team faster.

In-house training can also be made more interactive with the use of virtual reality. Virtual reality can be particularly useful for dangerous jobs where on-the-job training isn’t always possible, but where it’s important for employees to develop their skills before completing their tasks for real.

It can also be beneficial for training sales teams or telemarketers in how to deal with difficult customers, or to teach pilots how to fly before they go up in the air.

Virtual reality can also benefit remote-working employees as they can feel just as much of a part of team meetings as those who are there in person. They can also be more immersed in client meetings.

Growth is important for people and businesses

Retaining highly skilled employees is one of the most difficult tasks that a business faces. Finding a way to keep them is important if your business is to grow, though.

One of the ways in which businesses can help to attract and retain the best employees is by offering them the opportunity to constantly learn and expand their knowledge. The most successful people are always learning new things, so it makes sense that these people, in turn, help to build a successful company.

Investing in employees’ skills is a win-win situation, it prevents staff from going to the competition and helps to build a business’s employer brand. The more advanced and interesting the development package, the more attractive it is to employees. One of the ways employers can make this attractive to employees is to invest in the right technology for the job. The better the technology available to employees, the more control they have over their schedule and the faster they can develop their skills.


Source: How to Create a Better Learning Environment for Your Employees | Cronofy Calendar API

About the Author

Kristina is a writer, digital marketer, and social media addict. She spends her days working as a content marketer for Cronofy, and her nights writing novels.

About Cronofy

Cronofy connects HR software to users’ calendars via a unified calendar API.

To discover how calendar sync can save you and your users time and money, and help to hire the best candidates, watch our Real-Time Scheduling video.

Wheel Gear

What potential HR struggles can early stage start-ups encounter?

Active

With every great idea and every platform or app that promises to be the next great disturber, there is normally a common challenge faced by many SME’s and early stage start-ups, and that is hiring.

The hiring process can potentially be a long and drawn out process that is both time-consuming and expensive. Here are just some of the potential HR struggles that today’s start-ups face.

They neither possess the skills, tools or networks

Recruitment can be a fine art. Finding the right person is difficult enough and knowing where to look and having the appropriate networks to search for these people is a big initial challenge in itself. Then there’s assessment, in most early stage-ups, many of its senior officials will have to take on different hats and sometimes may have to go on instinct when looking to hire someone.

They don’t have the budget

In follow up to this point, with some early stage start-ups not possessing the appropriate HR skills, there may be need to call up on the service of others. This could be through posting on a job posting site, or hiring agency help which of course means investment. They may also not be in a position to hire a HR Professional full-time in their embryonic stage so don’t have a great deal of options. With Development as we know requiring huge investment, the cost of finding and hiring someone can be a daunting prospect.

They don’t have the time

A great idea can be just that and never see the light of day. Traction is key for the success of any start-up, and this needs to be almost immediate. Looking for someone to potentially hire can be a long and arduous process. Where you may get hundreds of applicants for one role, trawling through the many CV’s and profiles can be extremely time consuming and most senior figures will want their time and energy invested elsewhere.

They don’t have the control

All of these points lead to one issue, control, and the lack of it. Hiring someone is a big decision and something you feel you want to be a part of. Much like buying a house, hiring someone is something you want close control over from start to finish to ensure you’ve hired the right person and there’s no grey area or doubt left in mind. Leaving it in the hands of others isn’t something most start-ups are fond of but something they comply with due to their circumstances.

About the Author:

Chris Henry

Chris Henry-Reeve has 7 years of experience in online content marketing, social media community management, as well as experience in public relations and creative project management. Chris is a regular commentator on retail and experience led marketing, plus societal changes and their impact on industries such as recruitment. He was responsible for the launch of a new marketing insight magazine entitled HATCH which enjoyed a distribution of 10,000 copies and saw it stocked in premium airport lounges and private members’ clubs such as SOHO House, as well as enjoying a live launch event attended by over 250 industry professionals. Chris also has consummate experience in video development and production, being responsible for the management of several marketing video case studies and previously working with an online video focused start-up.

About iContract:

iContract is an online platform transforming the hiring process of contractors in the field of legal, finance and tech.

Talent seekers can be instantly recommended to relevant contractors based on the specific needs of their company and the contract they are posting.

Ensuring more transparency in the contractor market, iContract matches you to contractors that are tailored to your unique needs. Reducing the need for long and arduous assessment processes such as CV trawling, iContract connects you to the right candidate quickly and effectively.

Learn more here www.icontract.co.uk
AI is all the rage, but is it dangerous?

AI is all the rage, but is it dangerous?

AI on the digital map

Artificial Intelligence continues to be a major trend in HR as companies look to improve hiring decisions and efficiency. As a computer scientist and expert on hiring research, I can attest that there are definitely components of hiring that can be improved with AI. One example is using algorithms to automatically remove identifying information from resumes to make identity-blind resume review more efficient. We can also use AI to help companies write better and more inclusive job descriptions that attract a broader pool of qualified applicants. A company concerned with employee turnover could use AI to identify employees who may be likely to leave based on variables like how many managers they’ve had, pay equity, and length of tenure. These are all exciting applications of AI that could make a real difference to a company’s hiring success.

AI and Recruiting

The main place people seem to be interested in using AI in recruiting is in reducing the number of resumes recruiters have to review to get to the best candidate. This makes perfect sense: given how easy it is to apply to a job with one-click these days, recruiters are understandably overwhelmed with the number of resumes they receive.

Unfortunately, there is a huge risk that using AI in the recruiting process is going to increase bias and not reduce it. Why do I sound so pessimistic? Because AI is completely dependent on the training set that is used to generate its predictive results. We’ve already seen how this can go horribly wrong in trying to identify images and create Twitter posts. When it comes to hiring, a critically important function for companies, AI can perpetuate biased patterns and teams that are very similar to existing ones.

Here’s an example where AI does not serve a company well. Let’s say a corporate hiring manager always looks for candidates who went to Ivy League schools. When an algorithm looks for patterns of the employees at the company, it will notice that there are certain schools that are more common among current employees, and it will seek candidates from those schools. However, research has shown that where someone went to school is not predictive of how well they will perform in a job. So, the algorithm has now found a “signal” in the data that is not predictive of how well a potential candidate will actually do the job. In this case, AI is simply feeding recruiters “more of the same,” which may not be what your company needs to achieve future goals.

Using AI in this way won’t be help organizations predict what they need to achieve future goals. AI is essentially “driving in the rearview mirror” – it is based on what has been done in the past. That’s why AI can’t replace recruiters, who have specific knowledge on the best types of people to hire to meet certain skillsets that will move a company forward.

How to spot potential bias in AI

The possibility of bias in AI training sets won’t occur to many algorithms designers, so it is up to the organizations that are deploying these algorithms to ask the right questions about what testing has been done to ensure bias was not trained into the algorithm itself. For example, if you’re considering video software that analyzes nonverbal communication to predict candidate quality or a pre-assessment that claims to predict job performance, ask whether there were observed group differences in the training data. If they can’t tell you, think twice about using it.

You’re still smarter than AI

Use AI to augment your hiring wisely. No amount of AI can replace following best practices in hiring, like identifying key skills and values before sourcing candidates and using structured interviewing. Some AI can help improve these best practices and get you closer to your goals, faster. Just make sure you have your eyes open for potential biases along the way.

On the streets. An image from SplitShire.com

Finding the Right Job in the Right Field (Infographic)

Millennials – those who are born between 1977 to 1995 – is the generation that is widely discussed and written about these days. Characterized as tech-savvy, updated, and forward-thinking individuals, the millennial generation cannot be simply ignored nowadays, as many experts see them as the future that will revolutionize the way we conduct business and the way we think about the workplace.

But surprisingly, a significant number of Millennials across the world are still struggling to find the right job that matches well with their skills and knowledge. In the latest report from the International Labor Organization, it was reported that the global youth unemployment rate was expected to reach 13.1 per cent in 2016 and remain at that level through to 2017 (up from 12.9 per cent in 2015).

With the increasing saturation of the labor market, Millennials need to gain legitimate experience, hone their skills and knowledge by being involved in industry-related projects, and acquire the ability to be efficient in an environment relevant to their degree. These play a crucial role in finding the job that matches their education and qualification as prospective professionals.

However, the problem not only lies in the competition in the labor market but also on the way people view what a “job” is. For most Millennials, a 9-5 job is a set-up that will inhibit their personal growth, though also sees it as the only way to gain legitimate work experience. The Millennials have to change their outlook towards what job is and should start leveraging the potential of freelancing as a type of employment.

To learn more about freelancing and how it can help millennials find the right job for them, check out the infographic below from BrainBoxol.


Source: Finding the Right Job in the Right Field (Infographic) | Brain Boxol Blog

Chatbots Are the New Phone Interview

Chatbots Are the New Phone Interview

What is the purpose of a phone screen?

What is the purpose of a phone screen?

We asked Jim Stroud, Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy for the Randstad Sourceright Talent Innovation Center. Here’s what he said:

“A phone screen is generally perceived as an effort to gauge the qualifications and interest of a candidate. However, I see it as more than that, especially when representing a client. A phone screen is an opportunity to make an indelible mark on someone we might hire, someone who might refer a candidate, someone who might consume the products or services of our client and someone who may rave about the recruitment experience so much that their testimonial on social media serves as a recruiting vehicle in and of itself.”

Additionally, in a recent blog post titled The Best Phone Screen Interview QuestionsRobert Half similarly highlights the importance of phone screens saying, “a candidate’s answers to key phone screening interview questions can allow you to speedily identify the most promising candidates.” The post goes on to share a list of questions aimed at uncovering a candidate’s work style, soft skills, technical skills and expectations for the position.

When it comes down to it, recruiters use phone screens to achieve three things:

  1. Present information about the job to the candidate
  2. Capture information about the candidate
  3. Be empathetic and engaging for the candidate

These three outputs are vital, allowing recruiters to make informed decisions on whether to move candidates forward or not. Monster and G2V Careers reports that recruiters spend 78,352 minutes on the phone per year or roughly 63% of a 40-hour work week.

By the Numbers
Source: Monster

This got us thinking…

What if we could achieve the outcome of a phone screen without actually having a phone screen?

When we began testing our AI chatbot for recruiters, Wendy, we asked ourselves:

  • Would this save recruiters hours of time each week?
  • Would this be an engaging and empathetic experience for candidates?
  • Would this capture the necessary information to further decision-making capabilities?

Our hypothesis was “yes,” we can replicate the outcome of a phone screen without actually conducting a phone screen. In our early beta stage, Wendy has begun validating this hypothesis. She pre-screens applicants via chat (think: text, Facebook messenger or web) and then delivers the transcript (as well as her recommendations) to recruiters. Here’s what we’re seeing so far:

1. Better Candidate Experience

Recruiters have a lot on their plate, especially when over half their week is spent on phone calls. As a result, many phone screens are rushed and distracted, leaving candidates feeling unheard. Wendy, on the other hand, is patient. She doesn’t have the same time restraints as humans and can chat with candidates whenever and for as long as they wish. For corporate positions, candidates are spending around 31 minutes chatting with Wendy, while candidates for more blue collar positions are engaging for 7 to 11 minutes.

2. Better Notes & More Complete Candidate Profiles

Following a chat with an applicant, Wendy shares the transcript directly with recruiters. As a result, recruiters are learning information about applicants outside their cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile — without having to take notes or conduct any research.

With the Wendy chat transcript, recruiters have a robust profile on every applicant before they ever reach out. The information is detailed and presented uniformly, so if hiring for a position is put on hold and resumed months later, there’s no knowledge gap or need to re-assess the applicant for fit. With Wendy, candidate fit is no longer determined by the note-taking skills of the recruiter. Regardless of how detailed their notes are, at some point, a recruiter will be under the weather and forget to capture an important point or their computer will crash, capturing nothing at all. Wendy removes the subjectivity of recruiters’ notes and the effect they have on a candidate’s standing.

3. More Intelligent & Knowledgeable Conversations

Wendy allows recruiters to pre-qualify ahead of scheduling a phone interview. This means two things: (1) recruiters are taking less phone calls and (2) the phone calls they do take are more informed. With more information about an applicant available to them, the initial conversation flows better and is more relevant.

In some cases, recruiters have moved candidates straight to the in-person interview after reviewing the Wendy chat transcript. We expect this to happen more and more as Wendy’s knowledge base and understanding of various roles and domains grows.

Looking Forward

When you think back to the best interviews you’ve had (whether as an interviewee or interviewer), it usually has something to do with the quality of conversation. People remember really great conversations. Our goal with Wendy is to allow better flowing and informed conversations to occur. By automating the outcome of the pre-screen process, recruiters can focus on listening and candidates can focus on sharing their story.

About the Author:

Bailey Newlan is the Content & Growth Marketer at Wade & Wendy, a New York City-based startup on a mission to make hiring more human. Wade & Wendy is a conversational engagement platform for recruitment automation. To connect, reach out to Bailey via LinkedInTwitter or Medium.

P.S. If you went down on SourceCon, give Bailey a shout at bailey@wadeandwendy.ai

 

Work Hard Anywhere

How Ergonomic Technology Is Eliminating Office Injuries

How Ergonomic Technology Is Eliminating Office Injuries

As a refresher of its core meaning, ergonomics is the “applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” This definition of ergonomics is a good reminder of how our time spent at a desk can present hazards and injury. While it may seem to some that those who work in an office are least likely to experience harmful consequences from their work environment, this is actually untrue. Back injuries, carpal tunnel, and rotator cuff injuries are just a few of the conditions that can develop without proper ergonomics.

Thankfully, technology has stepped in to save the (work) day. Take a look at some of the latest ways technology is helping eliminate the risk of office injuries.

Monitor arms

As you plan a productive and ergonomic office space, one commonly overlooked (yet essential) component is the positioning of your computer monitor. If you are looking at a screen that is too low or too high for 8+ hours per day, you will likely end up suffering from neck and back issues. One recent release for the modern workspace is an advanced monitor arm. These redesigned arms suspend your computer monitor (ranging between seven and 20 lbs.) above your desk, and can be adjusted to the precise height you require. When you are done using your monitor for a period of time, you can simply move it out of the way to open up more of your desk space.

State-of-the art computer mouse designs

Now it’s time to pick a computer mouse. If you haven’t reviewed the latest developments in ergonomic mouse designs, you are in for a treat. New computer mouse designs take every curve of the hand into consideration, providing unmatched support and futuristic designs. These high-tech offerings limit the chance of joint problems and of developing muscle strains.

The latest in ergonomic keyboards

Finally, it is time to choose a desktop keyboard. Ergonomic research has led to some pretty impressive keyboard designs within the last few years. Soft palm rests, high quality keys, curved layouts, and split key designs are some of the top features found on the latest ergonomic keyboard releases. These technologically advanced designs offer a comfortable, injury-free experience for users. They also prove how far along the science of ergonomics has progressed.

Enhancing your space with ergonomic technology

Leveraging the latest advances in technology is a fantastic way to make your workspace more ergonomic. Not only will ergonomic office technology help you to avoid pain and injury, but it can also improve your productivity and boost your mood as a result. Begin by assessing your current workspace to see what is working and what isn’t. If you are unsure whether or not your current office adheres to ergonomic practices, start paying greater attention to any strain or pain felt when using your computer, keyboard, chair, or mouse. When you have taken the time to assess every element, you can begin to research which brands of ergonomic office technology are right for you.

Written by Jackie Edwards, specially for The HR Tech Weekly®

Artificial. An image from stockio.com

How to Write Great Job Descriptions: 15 Science-Backed Tips

Some vector hands and objects for free design. An image from stockio.com

Whether your company needs to fill a new position or replace an existing employee, it is incredibly important to have the right job description to attract the talent you want.

Crafting that description is not an easy thing to do, especially considering that 63% of all new job openings in 2016 came from the creation of new positions.  So, how do you create a compelling and effective job description?

While there is no one-size-fits-all template for every position, there are some specific tips that can improve the quality of your posting. These tips can increase the number of applicants, and hopefully help you find just the right fit. Once you have it written, make sure you consider all of the available job posting sites on the web to ensure you are getting eyes on your posting.

Here are 15 science-backed tips to help you write the perfect job description from Employment Background Investigations, Inc. (EBI):

How to Write Job Descriptions Infographic


Source: How to Write Great Job Descriptions: 15 Science-Backed Tips

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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