Entries with Topic HR Knowledge .

November 30, 2018

HR Question: Requiring Mandatory Flu Shots

Question: Can we require our employees to get flu shots?

Answer: While there is no law that prohibits employers from mandating flu shots — and in some states, the law requires all healthcare workers to get flu shots — you should carefully determine if the benefits to your business outweigh the risks. There has been a rise in litigation brought by employees who object to this requirement for medical, religious or personal reasons. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed or joined several lawsuits over claims that inflexible mandatory vaccination policies are discriminatory.

Employees may be entitled to exemptions from a flu shot policy for medical reasons under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or religious reasons under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Requests for exemptions must be evaluated individually yet treated consistently, a difficult task. You will need to engage in an interactive process with the employee, just as you would for any other request for accommodations, to determine if they can be granted without presenting undue hardship to your company.

The EEOC recommends against mandatory flu shot policies, instead suggesting employers encourage employees get vaccinated on their own. Offering no-cost flu shots on site can further improve workplace vaccination rates by making it more convenient for employees.

If you choose to enact a mandatory flu shot policy, write it carefully to protect your company from the risk of discrimination claims and be sure to run it by your legal counsel. Make sure the policy:

  • Is worded concisely.
  • Outlines the reasoning behind the policy.
  • Is applied consistently. (Managers who enforce it should be trained on the policy and how to handle requests for exemptions.)
  • Explains the process for requesting exemptions due to medical contraindications or sincerely held religious beliefs. Any medical information obtained as part of the request for an exemption should be kept confidential.
October 18, 2018

HR Question: Requesting a Fit-for-Duty Certification

Question: If a new hire volunteers information about medical issues, can the employer ask for a doctor's fit-for-duty certification?

Answer:  Exercise caution in requesting medical documentation from applicants or employees, unless the applicant or employee is specifically requesting some form of accommodation in order to do his/her job or the employer has directly observed or has evidence that the employee is having difficulty in the job due to some type of limitation. If the employee discloses the information in the interview and/or onboarding process without a request for accommodation, we recommend the interviewer ask the employee if accommodation is requested. If not, then we recommend moving the conversation on to the bona fide requirements of the job. An employer should consider the following questions before requesting a fitness- for-duty medical certification:

Did the applicant or employee ask for an accommodation? If so, then requesting medical certification and suggestions in order to aid the applicant/employee may be appropriate. Does the employer request this information for all employees/applicants for the same position? If the employer is considering asking for medical certification based upon the new hire's health disclosure AND the new hire is not requesting any form of accommodation in order to do the job, then we recommend NOT asking for that medical certification unless the employer asks for it for all new hires in that position on a routine basis.

From a practical perspective, an employer should gather medical information only if there are concerns about the employee's ability to perform the essential functions of the job, considering any physical or mental limitations. An employer should request and consider only the information that is "job related and consistent with business necessity". Here are a few scenarios where requesting a medical fitness for duty certification may be appropriate:

  • The employee has admitted that his medical condition may be linked to performance problems and has requested assistance (i.e. his medications are making him forgetful, he is not taking the medications because they make him dizzy and he needs to work in high places, etc);
  • The employer has knowledge that an employee's medical condition may potentially pose a safety or health hazard to himself or others (i.e. an employee with seizures driving a delivery truck);
  • The employer directly observes severe symptoms that indicate that there is a medical condition that impairs performance or could be a threat to the health and safety of the employee or others.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

October 04, 2018

Work Addiction and Stress

People get addicted to all sorts of things that aren’t good for them: smoking, drinking, drugs, food. You don’t even need to like something to form an addiction to it—you just need to experience it consistently enough that it becomes your “normal”. We all stress at some point or another and that’s never going to change—it’s just a part of life.

Work related stress somehow makes us feel accomplished and successful. Without the daily rush of adrenaline created by stress, we don’t quite feel like we’ve done enough. This work style has reached epidemic proportions and we don’t need a study to see that. Just listen to the conversations that are happening in your day-to-day surroundings.

If you can answer yes to more than one of the following questions, you are likely addicted to stress and in need of some thoughtful change:

  1. Do you thrive better under pressure?
  2. Is all your time consumed with tasks?
  3. Do you find yourself complaining a lot?
  4. Do you move on autopilot from one activity to another?
  5. Do you find it difficult to turn your brain off when it’s time for bed?

While you are likely doing a fabulous job at getting all the things done that need to be done, the long-term side-effects that unmanaged stress can have on your health can be quite dangerous. The body reacts similarly to stress as it does to drugs and have been shown to have such side effects as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, migraines, depression and even loss of brain cells. Unmanaged stress has also been linked to a higher risk of cancer and heart disease—ultimately taking years off our lives. Whatever we experience in our minds eventually manifests itself in the body so it’s important to recognize when you are feeling stressed and make positive changes to ensure you don’t cause yourself long-term health issues.  

As with any addiction, the first step in recovery is recognizing that you are addicted. Most addicts know the consequences of their behaviors but simply can’t bring themselves to come down from the adrenaline rush. Many of us thrive on stress—the crunch of a deadline, the nonstop emails that hit our inbox, the countless meetings to prepare for, the list goes on and on. We convince ourselves that with such busy schedules and extreme workloads that there’s no way we can succeed if we slow down. One of the challenges in stress management is fighting our tendency to be pulled back into the adrenaline rush but the good news is that there are ways to break this unhealthy cycle once and for all. Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, taking a walk, yoga and massage have all been shown to be quiet effective when done regularly.

Work addiction, often called workaholism, is a real problem and like any other addiction hard to break but if you commit to breaking your addiction to stress at work and take the time to appreciate what you’re working so hard to accomplish, you’ll be more focused, more creative and more productive.

October 02, 2018

Investigations in the Nonprofit Workplace

As a nonprofit leader, you have an obligation to approach “harassment” with three key factors in mind— prevention, investigation and willingness to address. Investigations of harassment in the workplace can come in many shapes and sizes, meaning they can originate from a wide variety of topics—such as discrimination, substance abuse, harassment or workplace safety. While each investigation can be different and may have different formalities attached to it—standards should be in place to ensure a thorough investigation is applied to each incident.

It is important to respond immediately when an allegation of harassment surfaces. This can help prevent any new acts from taking place and will help with maintaining the trust of your employees. At the same point, you should be reaching out for professional guidance to ensure that all aspects of a harassment claim is carried out appropriately—reaching out to your insurance carrier to provide a “notice of a potential claim.” This is a common move for nonprofits since the insurance company can offer resources and the expertise of legal counsel. Another option is hiring a third-party human resource firm that has experience with handling harassment investigations. Lastly, a nonprofit may decide to handle the investigation in house utilizing its’ own staff with guidance from various legal resources.

Each investigation should be handled promptly, documented, thorough and remain confidential. Your nonprofit should always aim for consistency and consider how to best provide “due process.” This also includes, informing those involved with the outcome of the investigation once it has concluded. Being transparent about the outcome, actions or steps being taken to address a situation, will give your nonprofit the opportunity to demonstrate follow through of its own policies, while remaining confidential and maintaining privacy for those involved.

As a nonprofit, you are required to maintain the safety of your employees by creating a safe working environment—and with that comes the responsibility of acting promptly when approached with a harassment claim. Whether it’s the CEO or an associate being investigated, it should be carried out in the same manner and properly conducted. This will determine that the appropriate policies are in place and encourage fair outcomes for all employees involved.  

August 13, 2018

Decrease in Unemployment Rate means Gradual Employment Growth

Employers added 157,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate went down to 3.9 percent making the number of unemployed people decline by 284,000. At the end of July, the total number of people unemployed is now at $6.3 million.

In July, the number of long-term unemployed was unchanged at 1.4 million, which accounts for 22.7 percent of the unemployed. In addition, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons—also referred to as involuntary part-time workers—changed slightly in July, at 4.6 million, but has been down by 669,000 over the course of the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because of their hours being reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

America increased employment in professional and business services, manufacturing, health care and social assistance sectors. In professional and business services, there was an increase of 51,000 jobs in July making an overall increase of 518,000 over the course of the year. In the manufacturing sector, there was 37,000 jobs added with most of the gain in durable goods. There was a rise in transportation equipment (+13,000), machinery (+6,000) and electronic instruments (+2,000). Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has added 327,000 jobs in total. Lastly, employment in health care and social assistance rose by 34,000 and with an upward trend of +17,000  jobs in health care employment this past month, the number of jobs has totaled 286,000 since the beginning of the year. Hospitals and social assistance added 23,000 jobs during the month of July.

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $27.05. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.7 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $22.65 in July.

Each year, the establishment survey estimates are benchmarked to comprehensive counts of employment from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for the month of March. These counts are derived from state unemployment insurance (UI) tax records that nearly all employers are required to file. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release this preliminary estimate of the upcoming annual benchmark revision on August 22 at 10am.

July 11, 2018

Legalities Surrounding Arbitration Clauses

Question: May we add an arbitration clause prohibiting class action lawsuits to our employment contracts?

Answer: Yes. Until recently, courts were split on the issue and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that “it is a violation of federal labor law to require employees to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from joining together to pursue employment-related legal claims in any forum, whether in arbitration or in court.”

However, in its May 2018 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ended the split, overruled the NLRB, and held that arbitration agreements providing for individualized proceedings (thus banning class actions) are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), and neither the FAA’s saving clause nor the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) suggest otherwise.

As a result of SCOTUS’s decision, an employer may add an arbitration clause waiving class and collective actions to its employment contracts without fear of violating federal law due to the mere presence of the clause. However, it is essential that any employment contract — with or without an arbitration clause — comply with all applicable laws. Therefore, as always, we recommend seeking counsel to properly draft your arbitration agreement and for further guidance.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

June 15, 2018

HR Question: Employer Rights Surrounding Medical Marijuana

Question: Can we maintain a zero-tolerance marijuana use policy in our workplace if medical marijuana use is legal in the state?

Answer: Yes, you can. Employers have an absolute right to maintain a drug-free workplace and do not have to allow or tolerate drug use or intoxication in the workplace. Although some states permit the use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes, most state laws provide exemptions for employers to prohibit the use of marijuana in the workplace. If you maintain a drug-free workplace, then your employees may be subject to discipline and/or termination when working under the influence of marijuana (i.e., on-the-job intoxication). In states where marijuana use has been legalized for medical or recreational purposes, employers may elect to establish intoxication standards for marijuana metabolites, rather than imposing discipline for any presence of the drug. However, this standard must be applied consistently and regularly to all employees.

As of February 2016, marijuana continues to be an illegal drug under federal law (which trumps state laws), and employers are not required to permit on-the-job use of or marijuana intoxication by employees or applicants. You may discipline employees who are legally using marijuana under state law but who are in violation of your workplace policy, because under the law, employees are not protected from being fired for failing a drug test.

Alternatively, you may elect to accommodate your employee’s medical marijuana use, but the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require you to reasonably accommodate current unlawful drug use. Employees who claim disability discrimination for their medical marijuana use may attempt to file under the ADA. However, the ADA excludes current illegal drug users from protection; therefore, employers are free to conduct drug tests on employees, subject to certain limitations, to detect the presence of illegal drug use.

Refer to your state’s laws on employer rights and medical marijuana law. Additionally, you may want to update your policies to ensure you are clear about whether you will accommodate marijuana use in the workplace and the subsequent action should an employee be found using marijuana.

Finally, keep in mind that this issue can be complicated. When in doubt, seek legal counsel to ensure compliance.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

June 08, 2018

Keeping Your Talent Invested

Stellar recruiting and retention strategies are key to a nonprofit’s growth, but sometimes those solutions do not align with budgets. With the increasing rate at which talent moves through the nonprofit sector, it’s more important now than ever to reinvent the wheel when it comes to investing in employees.  

There are more and more people seeking to serve a higher purpose and one of the ways they see to accomplish that is to grab an opportunity to craft a mission-driven career.  If the nonprofit sector can’t demonstrate that they offer viable career opportunities within a strong organizational culture, they will miss the chance to cultivate future talent. The biggest talent acquisition challenge nonprofits face is limited budgeting but it’s important to remember that at the end of the day it’s the people that fuel the nonprofit sector – not just the donors and the volunteers but most importantly, the people who work for you.

Gaining a better understanding of how the leaders in your organization think about the development of talent, will allow you to start aligning those ideas with the overall goals of the business. Focus on your assets and what opportunities as a whole your organization has in its sights and commit to those aspirations by investing in the people. Creating an effective workplace isn’t just about compensation. Employees consistently rank company culture, leadership, career growth and work-life balance right up there with pay. The act of investing in talent sends a clear message that the company values its people by increasing morale, performance and retention.

You can make gradual improvements and see major results. Here are some things to consider:

  • Allow a greater amount of decision making with managers
  • More delegation with greater opportunities to learn
  • Continuous feedback and positive encouragement
  • Keep your team appraised of company progress and set backs
  • Wellness programs

It doesn’t hurt to also consider how much philanthropic capital is routed to talent efforts? Review where your donors dollars are going and make a case to shift some of those funds if there is currently no talent investment already set up. Grantmaking needs to intentionally invest in talent to keep top talent engaged and start Initiating conversations regarding the value of employee retention.

People are the most important asset—driving impact, performance and sustainability in the sector. No matter your nonprofit’s budget, you can have a strong organizational culture even in this time of uncertainty and budgetary struggle. And in fact, if you hope to advance your mission, you must make these types of changes. Take the time to invest in your teams and systems to stay ahead of the talent curve.

May 11, 2018

Four Benefits of Human Resources Calling the Shots

One of the many benefits that come with having a designated person or team to handle all Human Resources related issues, is that it allows the organization to operate at its full potential—especially nonprofits. Due to the inherent nature and structure of nonprofits, they can run into challenges when it comes to certain HR tasks and if not handled correctly, the fulfillment of their mission might be hindered.

Nonprofit organizations primary focus is on the communities they serve and the causes they support. When you have an HR professional on your team, it eliminates the burden of you having to worry about whether or not your nonprofit is covered regarding the logistics of legal issues, management of compliance, etc., allowing you to focus on what matters most—your mission.

Along with managing the day-to-day legal and compliance issues that may arise, HR provides many additional benefits as well. Here are four ways HR can enhance talent management, employee retention and a work-life balance.

  1. Finding the Right Employee: Hiring the right employee enhances your work culture, encourages high employee morale, positive thinking, future planning, and accomplishing professional goals. It also ensures that you are making the most of the time and energy being invested in a new employee and making sure, they are a good fit for the work culture.
  2. Onboarding is a Must: Starting a new job is exciting, however, the unknown can be quite nerve racking. An onboarding process offers a more hands on approach then just handing a new employee an employee handbook and sending them on their way. This should be a time when an employee can ask one off questions and an HR professional can offer more information.
  3. Creating a Career Plan: Offering your employees an opportunity to plan a strategy for how they want to move forward in their professional life is a great way to learn more about your staff. It’s a way to show your employees that you care and you want to see them succeed. The more you invest in your employees, the more likely they will do good work for your organization.
  4. Employee Performance Reviews: While performance review methods and approaches can vary from organization to organization, universal principles about how to talk with an employee about his or her performance exist. It is important that the employee knows exactly what’s to be expected of his or her performance. These periodic discussions about performance need to focus on the significant portions of the employee’s job.
March 23, 2018

How Employee Recognition increases Retention

Most nonprofit leaders recognize that employee retention can be a challenge and with limited resources, can lead to a lack of employee recognition. Nonprofit employees tend to have a passion for their organization’s mission—a sense of pride in their work and view their current employment as a career, not just as a job. So how do nonprofit organizations go about best supporting their employee’s goals and achievements?

Celebrating an employee’s career achievements by offering service awards is an effective strategy on multiple levels. Here are a few ways your organization can continue acknowledging your employees on a consistent basis:

1. Acknowledging reliability: While it can seem like a huge undertaking to implement a career achievement program, organizations that offer such programs are able to keep employees an average of two years longer than organizations that don’t. If the program proves to be effective, employees plan to stay at their current employer for an additional two years on top of that.

2. Reward accomplished career goals: According TLNT’s research, “81% of employees feel career celebrations help them feel appreciated for their work and found that 19% more employees strongly felt their current company cared about employees. Also, 18% more employees strongly felt they fit in and belonged at their current company if the company offered service awards.”

3. Encourage employee & culture connection: Recognizing an employee’s career milestone can offer an opportunity to connect back to the foundation of the organization. This can help employees feel that they are making an impact and doing their part to benefit the organization as a whole.

The benefits of a career achievement program will not only bring focus to your employees and their accomplishments, it will increase the overall morale of the organization and make your nonprofit a desired place to work at for future employees.

May 08, 2018

[Webinar Recording] Nonprofit Recruitment and Retention Best Practices

With the national unemployment rate steadily declining, and a substantial increase in expectations for competitive benefits and salaries, nonprofits are definitely feeling the squeeze—especially when competing against for-profit organizations for key staff members.

How can we overcome these challenges when funding support is steady at best, and often decreasing?

 

This webinar will teach you how to:

  • Attract stronger candidates and enhance their loyalty to your nonprofit
  • Establish a path to compensation growth for valued front-line staff members
  • Gain board support for increased compensation and investment in employee development

​​​​​Join Kathy Keeley, Executive Vice President, Programs and Senior Consultant at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, to develop a framework for effective recruitment and retention strategies in the current workforce environment.

Want access to more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly eNews today!

April 25, 2018

Are Your Health and Wellness Programs Making the Cut?

It’s no secret that people are more health conscious today than ever before. And over the last few years, business owners have gotten on board with a massive influx of corporate wellness programs being offered in the workplace. We’re talking everything from stability balls and standing desks to weight loss programs and opportunities to work from home.

It seems now, that employers are constantly looking for new ways to kick their corporate wellness programs up a notch. And the trends are getting more and more creative with companies expanding the definition of wellness through offerings that are much broader - improving the overall quality of their employees’ lives.

Some things are as easy as implementing standing desks as the standard – the kind you can move up or down so employees aren’t forced to do one activity or the other all day. While the debate continues over the health benefits, no one can argue that having the option to change your form throughout the day helps with muscle stiffness, brain fog and calorie expenditure.

Opportunities to work from home have rapidly become a hot trend but some organizations are still reluctant to let go of that much visibility. For many, it works like a well-oiled machine but for others, it ends up being one issue after another. You really have to take the time to evaluate your staff to see whether or not, they can handle that much responsibility – it’s definitely not for everyone but certainly worth doing the research.

At the top of the corporate wellness trends right now is “wellness technology”. Some companies are looking for ways to put all of that valuable information gathered by all those fitness gadgets to work. By working to keep corporate wellness offerings fresh, some employers are using Chatbots to help keep employees on track with their fitness goals.

Then there are those forward thinking companies who are looking to bring on the latest and greatest wellness programs for their employees. For example, one organization has an in-house masseuse available to their employees while another has a built-in office sauna. Others are subsidizing DNA kits, creating nap rooms, implementing vending machines with healthy snack options or offering an on-site Happy Hour at the end of the day.

It goes without saying that the possibilities are endless. Since workplace stress has become the biggest epidemic to hit corporate America in recent years—it is worth addressing internally through some form of wellness program that will help employees regain focus and energy. When employees don’t know how to manage their stress, not only is their work affected but so are the people around them. And the benefits of making your employees’ well-being a priority are endless – it can help with retention, reduce absenteeism and workers’ compensation claims, increase productivity as well as save your organization thousands in the long run.

April 20, 2018

Turn the Negativity Around

Some people just exude negativity. They gripe about anything and everything. Rarely do they take responsibility and more times than not, they see themselves as the victim. Through some combination of nature and nurture, negativity is their default response but that negative energy can be detrimental in the workplace.

If you manage people, you will likely encounter a situation in which you will have to manage a negative employee. Some managers have the innate ability to handle difficult situations but your team may lack the skill and confidence required to communicate effectively with someone who is negative and can be easily defensive which can cause conflict.

While communicating with these individuals about their behavior can be uncomfortable, doing so can help to eliminate the impact on other workers and this should be priority number one. It’s imperative to address the issue sooner than later to also avoid the spread of one person’s negative attitude to the rest of the group — ultimately affecting effectiveness and productivity. The last thing you want is to have team moral take a hit.  

Using specific examples of behavior will help the employee better understand where you are coming from and enable them to make some specific changes. You don’t want to lecture your employee but you do want to make sure you provide enough context to ensure they understand what your concerns are and what expectations you have going forward.  Also, encourage them to speak up as issues arise so things don’t escalate in the future. Taking an interest in their well-being by checking in periodically can also strengthen their sense of purpose and belonging. If you simply criticize their approach and don’t acknowledge their concerns, they will end up feeling like their feedback was unwelcomed and ultimately trigger frustration and more negativity.

Don’t take anything said personally and avoid becoming defensive. Keep in mind that most people don’t like constructive feedback even when given with the best intent. Anything can trigger a defensive response so practice what you will say and how – it could save you a lot of headache. A little compassion goes along way – it shows the employee you are interested and concerned about them as a person. There may be some things you can’t help with that perhaps have nothing to do with work but you can listen and sometimes that is all one needs.

Nothing is more challenging than trying to get negative people to respond more positively. However, dealing with issues when they arise and being clear on what those issues are while following through with a plan that addresses them can go a long way. It’s important to acknowledge the value of their perspective and involvement when they communicate effectively.

April 10, 2018

HR Question: Workplace Assaults and Workers' Compensation

Question: While working, an employee assaulted his coworker in our California workplace. May the injured employee pursue a workers’ compensation claim?

Answer: Yes. An employee who is assaulted at work by a coworker may elect to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, he or she may also file an internal complaint, report the assault to the police, or pursue a civil lawsuit. Whether the workers’ compensation claim (or any other claim) will be successful depends upon the facts. For example, was the injured employee the initial physical aggressor? According to California Law, at Cal. Labor Code § 3600(a)(7), employers are not liable under the state’s workers’ compensation law for an injury that arises out of an altercation in which the injured employee is the initial physical aggressor.

Regardless, after an injury occurred in the workplace, California employers must:

  • Provide a workers' compensation claim form to the claimant within one working day after a work-related injury or illness is reported.
  • Return a completed copy of the claim form to the claimant within one working day of receipt.
  • Forward the claim form, along with the employer's report of occupational injury or illness, to the claims administrator within one working day of receipt.
  • Within one day of receiving the claim, authorize up to $10,000 in appropriate medical treatment.
  • Provide transitional work (light duty) whenever appropriate.
  • Give notice of workers’ compensation eligibility within one working day of the crime (assault) that happened at work.

It is not for the employer to determine whether the injury will be covered under its workers’ compensation insurance. Rather, the claims administrator will determine whether the injury is covered.

Another issue worth mentioning is that California employers are required to abide by a duty of care in the workplace. According to Cal. Labor Code § 6401, “[e]very employer shall furnish and use safety devices and safeguards, and shall adopt and use practices, means, methods, operations, and processes which are reasonably adequate to render such employment and place of employment safe and healthful. Every employer shall do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees.” Violations of this duty incur significant monetary damages.

Read more about workers’ compensation and the process on the State of California, Department of Industrial Relations’ website. Read more about workplace assaults and Cal/OSHA Guidelines for Workplace Security.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

April 06, 2018

[Webinar Recording] Getting the Most out of Exit Interviews

Exit interviews can be an extremely effective tool when done properly. By gathering meaningful information from a departing employee about their experiences with your organization, you can make improvements that could increase retention.  

 

Presented by Glassdoor and hosted by Christopher Lee, this on-demand webinar highlights the proper execution of exit interviews and their impact on the business. Christopher is the HR Manager for Epsilon with more than 10 years of experience helping businesses to meet their goals through employee relations, performance management and organizational development.

 

You’ll learn why the exit interview is so important, not only for the organization but also for the exiting employee, current personnel and future staff.

Watch the webinar recording today!    

Want access to more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly eNews today!

December 14, 2016

7 Simple Steps to a Well-Balanced Work Life

With employees constantly striving to prove their invaluable skill sets, along with the rise of technological advances, employers are finding it more and more challenging to get their employees to slow down and take well-deserved breaks from their work responsibilities.

Often equipped with fewer resources and a smaller staff size, nonprofit employees tend to feel overworked and stressed out. Because high stress levels can lead to a domino effect of general workplace unhappiness and high turnover rates, it’s imperative that employers take the time to encourage a balance between their work and personal life.

Here are 7 best practices that will help your employees maintain a proper work/life balance:
 
  1. Set the example. Rather than just preaching the importance of taking time off from work, you need to take time off yourself and avoid work communications when you’re off the clock.
  2. Encourage vacations. Vacation days are meant to be used. In case your employees are too “busy” or nervous to take their allotted vacation time, make sure you let them know that you want them to take a relaxing break from the office.
  3. Have flexible work hours. If possible, allow your employees to work from home, outside or at a nearby café every now and then. You can also let them create their own work hours, rather than strictly enforcing a typical 9-5 schedule.
  4. Give time management tips. Provide training on the latest methods for organizing priorities or keeping track of both short term and long term tasks. This should help increase work efficiency and lessen the amount of time your employees work outside the office.
  5. Develop personal relationships. Ask your employees about any upcoming trips they may have or what’s new with them. Having consistent conversations with your team will help you gauge whether or not they’re feeling burnt out or overwhelmed at work.
  6. Implement interactive breaks. Whether it’s a quick game of charades or a weekly company lunch, set up fun breaks throughout each month so that your employees have something to look forward to.
  7. Ask for suggestions. No one knows what employees want more than employees themselves. Request feedback on what methods help them stay de-stressed and happy. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and will respond positively when you implement their ideas.


As a supervisor, your responsibility is to make sure that your employees have the tools and positive work environment they need to efficiently work through their day-to-day tasks. Taking the time to check in with your staff and encourage a balanced lifestyle will not only help your employees stay sane, but also improve general organizational productivity and growth. ​
March 30, 2018

HR Question: Electronic Summary Plan Descriptions

Question: Can we provide summary plan descriptions (SPDs) electronically?

Answer: Yes. However, just sending them is not enough to meet ERISA requirements; you must ensure the intended recipients are actually getting them.

Specifically, ERISA requires SPDs to be furnished using “measures reasonably calculated to ensure actual receipt of the material” via “methods likely to result in full distribution.” Electronic delivery is one way to meet this requirement.

Any electronically delivered documents must be “prepared and furnished in a manner consistent with applicable style, format, and content requirements.” Therefore, it is a good idea to test the electronic document and make sure formatting and style are correct.

Unlike first class mail or hand-delivery options, electronic delivery does not work the same for all recipients. Instead compliance differs depending on whether the recipients:

  • Can access the SPD through the employer’s electronic information system (such as email or intranet) located where they are reasonably expected to perform duties: Members in this group must use the employer’s computer system as an integral part of those duties. This covers employees working from home or who are traveling as well.
  • Cannot access the SPD through employer’s electronic information system in their workspace (access to a kiosk in a workplace common area is not sufficient). This may include employees as well as non-employees such as COBRA participants, retirees, terminated participants with vested benefits, beneficiaries, and alternate payees: Members of this group must “affirmatively consent” to receive the documents electronically, provide an electronic address, and “reasonably demonstrate” their ability to access documents in electronic form.

Both groups of recipients must be notified of their rights to receive paper copies of the documents (at no charge), and reasonable and appropriate steps must be taken to safeguard confidentiality of personal information related to accounts and benefits. A best practice is for employers to ensure return-receipt or notice of undelivered mail features are enabled. Employers may conduct periodic reviews or surveys to confirm receipt as well.

Just emailing the documents or posting them on the company’s intranet or benefit administration portal is not enough. Each time an electronic document is furnished, a notice (electronic or paper) must be provided to each recipient describing the significance of the document.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

March 28, 2018

Recruiting Trends in 2018

There are some hot trends in recruiting this year that HR professionals should be aware of as they will impact how you hire in the years to come. LinkedIn recently released its Global Recruiting Trends Report 2018 which details survey results of more than 9,000 recruiters and hiring managers from 39 countries – identifying diversity, new interview techniques, data analytics and artificial intelligence as being the most impactful trends.

Companies across the country have found incredible ways to bring diversity into the workplace by using such things as inclusive language to target diverse groups, showcasing diversity in recruitment marketing and utilizing staff member’s stories and experiences in the recruiting and hiring process.

Employers need to take a hard look the organizational culture and if necessary, work on building an inclusive one. Ensuring that employees feel accepted, included and engaged because even the most diverse companies lose employees due to the lack of diversity, inclusion and belonging. LinkedIn found that more than half of the companies surveyed already embrace recruiting for diversity – tackling head-on. They also found that the top reasons for focusing on diversity were to improve company culture and performance and to better represent customers.

Gender continues to be the main topic in diversity but age and disabled workers or veterans, are also high on the list of diverse candidate opportunities. “When different perspectives are recognized and supported, advocated, and most importantly, expected, I think it creates a more inclusive environment,” said Steve Pemberton, Former Chief Diversity Officer at Walgreens. “When you are recognized for bringing a different perspective, it leads to higher degrees of engagement.”

While the traditional interview is still wildly popular and the industry standard, it fails to provide a true assessment of the job candidate – under cutting the impact of more useful information and all too often resulting in a decision based only on a person’s looks and personality.

Forward-looking companies are exploring other means of qualifying candidates that include soft skills assessments (measuring traits like teamwork), job auditions (offering an opportunity to perform real on the job tasks), meeting in casual settings (providing an entirely different view of the candidate), virtual reality assessments (immersing candidates in simulated 3-D environments to test skills) and video interviews (allowing the ability to view a larger pool of candidates in less time). And other companies are taking an entirely different approach and hiring based on potential, not experience.

Collecting data is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s ever changing workplace. It can help organizations increase retention, evaluate skills gaps, build better offers and so much more. It provides the opportunity to better understand the reasons behind the questions we couldn’t before evaluate – filling in many recruiting gaps. Putting quality data to work for you can give your organization an edge above the rest.

Artificial Intelligence is a machine that is able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. They can understand verbal commands, distinguish pictures, drive cars and play video games better than we do. These software programs can move job candidates through the hiring process in far less time than it would take us to and removes human bias in the process. It not only saves time and money but also delivers the best candidate matches. Actual people are still needed to persuade and negotiate but the more you use technology, the more time you have to focus on building relationships.

Allow the data and AI to work for you while you spend more time investing in the personal functions of your job. If you don’t embrace change now, it’ll run you down and leave you behind in the years to come.

March 22, 2018

Department of Labor Opinion Letters

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had issued guidance based on inquiries from businesses about wage and hour issues that arise in the workplace through the distribution of opinion letters for five decades. In 2010, the Obama Wage and Hour Division decided to cease issuance of these letters and alternatively, decided to publish “Administrator Interpretations” of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) topics in its place.

Last year, the Trump administration announced that it would resume issuing opinion letters and began following through on its promise earlier this year when the DOL reissued 17 opinion letters previously withdrawn by the Obama Administration. Those letters addressed a wide range of topics from discretionary bonuses and calculation of salary deductions to administrative exemption qualifications.

Opinion letters are meant to guide employers and employees with respect to both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) laws by providing a better understanding of what is entailed. As noted on the DOL website regarding Rulings and Interpretations, “As part of the administration of the FLSA and the FMLA, interested parties may seek and officials of the Wage and Hour Division may provide official written explanations of what the FLSA or the FMLA requires in fact-specific situations.”

If you have a question about wage and hour laws that you can’t find answers to, requesting an opinion letter might be the way to go. It is important to remember that opinion letters are not binding but are rather informal guidance provided by the Department of Labor. A positive response can help an employer defend a policy in court while a negative response can get an employer to quickly change bad policies.

While the DOL can’t answer all employer inquiries, any clarity they can provide to employers in areas that are frequently unclear or confusing can be helpful—the hope is that the DOL continues to distribute these letters going forward.

February 27, 2018

HR Question: Hiring Gender Specific For Home Care

Question: Can we advertise for a specific gender for home health aide positions? (Some of our clients feel very strongly about having a same sex aide help them with their bathing and changing needs).

Answer: This question has been reviewed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as it relates to employment discrimination, particularly in service and health-related professions. And while the courts have consistently ruled that employers in personal service firms cannot discriminate based on "client preference" relating to race or national origin, this issue of gender preference has been open to more interpretation. Here's why:

While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race (color), sex, religion and national origin, it does allow an employer to have hiring preferences based upon "bona fide occupational qualifications" (BFOQs).

Some employers have taken these BFOQs to mean that if a client or patient demands not to be taken care of by someone outside of the patient's race or nationality, then the employer could use the client's demand as a BFOQ. The EEOC and the courts have expressly said that race can never be a BFOQ and that there are very few instances where national origin could be a BFOQ (and those instances are generally around language barriers, not cultural or religious ones).

However, in the case of sex/gender, the courts have ruled that it is unlawful gender discrimination in employment for a healthcare employer to have a policy saying that female patients get only female caregivers while male patients may be assigned either male or female caregivers. However, a health care employer can honor a specific request from a patient for a same-sex caregiver, without violating the laws against discrimination, but only if the care to be given involves issues of intimate personal privacy, such as a patient's preference not to have an opposite-sex caregiver assisting with toileting or cleansing the patient's body. The courts have gone on to say, however, that there must be a request from the patient for a same-sex caregiver, rather than a blanket policy excluding opposite sex caregivers. The blanket policy initiated by the employer could lead to legitimate charges of gender discrimination.

We would encourage you to review the types of work your employees are doing for your clients and document the instances of intimate personal care where the client has requested an aide of a certain gender. Do not institute a blanket policy where female clients are attended by female aides and male clients by male aides. Review each situation on a case-by-case basis to ensure that there is no unlawful discrimination or discriminatory intent.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

February 09, 2018

The Importance of Having a Sick Day Policy

Sick employees are bad for business – plain and simple. They can wreak havoc on the workplace in many ways - spreading germs, putting additional stress on co-workers who have to pick up the slack or even creating tension amongst the team. While it might seem great to have such dedicated employees who are willing to work even when they are ill, what might be a mild case of the flu for one can land another in the hospital or worse, put multiple members of your team out for weeks.

You need an equitable sick leave policy in place that provides employees a reasonable amount of paid sick leave,  allowing them the time to recover when they’re not feeling well. Additionally, having a clearly written policy that specifies the organization’s standards and what is expected of the employee will help to minimize sick leave abuse. Paid sick leave is not typically required under federal law but may be required under state law – different states have different requirements so make sure to do your research to determine what, if any, state laws are applicable to you.

By implementing a few simple guidelines, you can create a solid yet thoughtful sick day policy that helps to maintain a healthier workplace and keep your nonprofit running smoothing when someone is out. First and foremost, you need managers to not only encourage people to stay home when they are ill but to also stay home themselves when ill – leading by example is the most powerful tool managers have at their discretion.

Secondly, have a back-up plan in place for when those instances do arise so key tasks don’t go unattended for days at a time. For example, cross-train your staff so that everyone has someone who can fill in where and when needed. While this may not be an ideal situation for some, ensuring everyone understands the benefits of such a plan and knows what to expect ahead of time, can go a long way in eliminating some of the stress when the need presents itself.

Also important to keep in mind, while it’s not practical to have someone out of the office for weeks due to a general cold, it is wise to require employees who have been out with the flu and/or a fever to remain home until they’ve been symptom-free for at least 24 hours. This will ensure they are no longer contagious and getting others sick upon returning to work.

If an employer doesn’t offer sick leave, they will only accelerate health issues and the spread of illness, thereby lowering productivity and office morale. Remember, when an employee comes to work sick, it puts you and the rest of your staff in a weak environment, which can affect a nonprofit as badly as the loss of a major contributor. Being sensitive to the health of all your staff should be priority number one.  To ensure you are doing everything you can is to genuinely take an interest in the health of the people working with you. Remember, a healthy workplace is a productive workplace.

February 21, 2018

Simple Tricks to Help With Workplace Organization

Are you frequently overwhelmed by your workload and flustered by the chaos that your desk has turned out? You’re not alone. Many of us feel buried every now and then – it’s  your busiest time of year, there’s new mail, invoices and or reports that end up on your desk every day and before you know it your desk looks like a tornado swept through it. The problem isn’t so much that your desk is messy but that important stuff gets lost. Beyond efficiency, the strain of disorganization can add unnecessary stress to your work day and cause mental exhaustion.

Reason dictates that those who are unorganized cannot be as efficient or as productive as those who are. There are some however, that know exactly where everything is. Some people may feel that a cluttered desk makes they appear busier while others feel a clean desk shows how efficient they are at getting the work done. Either way, the key is to work in a manner that allows you to be the most effective.

Whether you want a white glove worthy desk or just to bring some order to your work area, utilizing these simple tricks will get you on track in no time at all.

  1. Prioritize your workload every morning. Create a to-do list and keep track of your projects on a week to week basis – this can go a long way in helping to stay focused on what’s most important. There are also many computer programs that allow you to set reminders that can be used in lieu of a spreadsheet.
  2. Scan your overnight emails first. Reply to emails that can be handled quickly. Then, delete those irrelevant messages and handle the remaining in order of importance. This provides an immediate sense of accomplishment and prepares you to move into your workday with some structure.
  3. Adopt the one-touch rule. One surefire way to prevent desk clutter is to deal with every piece of paper as it comes across your desk. Trash it, act on it, file it or – if you really must – place it in your inbox until you have time to deal with it.
  4. Get an inbox and look at it every day. Having a place to leave pending items serves as an excellent reminder to get the task done.
  5. Cut back on saving hard copies of everything. Nowadays, most businesses back up all business related files onto a company server at the end of every day. This makes savings those hard copies unnecessary unless there’s a legitimate reason to do so.
  6. Straighten up your desk every night before leaving the office. By spending just a few minutes at the end of your day ensuring everything is in its place, you will alleviate any early morning stress when arriving to work. Organization is best done regularly versus waiting until it’s piled up so high, it will take hours to sort through.
  7. Create a routine. Make it a habit to cover these steps every day and you will find yourself much more efficient than you could have imagined. It will allow for more time spent on the things that really matter. A routine ensures that each and every day you take consistent steps to rid yourself of mental and physical clutter.

If you are like most of us, you are going to spend the majority of your day at work. It’s essential to your organization and sanity to make your work space work for you so that it maximizes your efficiency.

January 27, 2017

Tips for Training and Welcoming New Employees

Transitioning into a new job with a new boss in an entirely new environment can be one of the biggest transitions we experience as an adult. It is often an exciting time but also comes with a blend of emotions reminiscent of the first day of school.

First-time impressions are everything from both the perspective of the employer as well as the new employee. Training is a key component when welcoming new staff and can go a long way if done right. Some ways to help a new employee adjust:

1. All Inclusive Tour. The standard company tour is an essential part of a new hires first day on the job but including the unexpected such as a stroll to local hotspots - the best coffee house or favorite lunch spot - will help ease new employees’ nerves by allowing them to unwind a bit and will help in making them feel more welcome.

2. Make Connections. Meeting a dozen people in one day can be overwhelming so break down introductions over the first week and by departments. Include a cheat sheet that includes some background information on each person with names, titles and any known tidbits - favorite baseball team, hobbies, etc. This will also help to kick-start the process of building relationships.

3. Wine and Dine. Make sure new employees have lunch plans the first few days on the job. Once with you and then with other members of the team they’ll be working closely with or even with other members in the office that you think they should meet. Again this will make them feel welcome and at ease rather than sitting alone and feeling awkward.

4. Provide Resources. Have a Welcome Guide with checklists, sample documents, FAQs and a list of go-to-resources that will help new hires get acclimated before they're off and running. Things like annual reports, marketing plans, the company newsletter and internal contact numbers for tech support and human resources among others. Easy-to-digest information that isn’t over-whelming helps to ease the stress associated with the transition.

5. Make Yourself Available. When faced with a steep learning curve anyone can get frustrated so make yourself available. Starting a new position is stressful enough, so making time to check in can make all the difference in the world. A no-fail way to make an employee feel like a part of the team is by making them feel comfortable in their new environment.

There’s no debate over the nerves associated with starting a new job so the more time you devote in the beginning, the faster you’ll have an at ease team member who feels welcome and wants to stay.

September 12, 2016

Webinar: Onboarding Tips to Start the Employment Relationship Right

Moving away from a traditional new hire orientation program can be scary... BUT can also be very cost-effective.

By implementing a more robust onboarding process that introduces new team members to the company, their jobs, their co-workers and helps them better understand what the company expects from them, new hires will contribute more quickly in their jobs and are likely to stick around longer.

Presented by ThinkHR, this 60-minute webinar is designed to spark your creative juices to design a more productive and meaningful employee onboarding experience with elements that are simple, fun and tie to your company culture.

In the session, you will learn:

  • Why new hire orientation programs need to change
  • How to reset the new hire orientation focus to reimage the employee onboarding experience
  • What tools you may already have available to use for your program, including your goal-setting, performance management and employee development processes
  • How technology and training enhances the onboarding experience

Throughout the presentation, Dan Riordan, President & COO of ThinkHR, will share tips and key findings with you and answer any additional questions you may have.

When: Tuesday, September 20th at 8:30 PDT / 11:30 EDT
Register: http://bit.ly/onboarding-webinar

Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ to sign up for a free 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.

September 14, 2016

HR Question: Employee Engagement Surveys

Question: What are some tips for developing and conducting an employee engagement survey?

Answer: An employee engagement survey can be a great tool to check the temperature of your culture. When done right, the survey can help you understand the needs of your employees, which in turn benefits productivity, job satisfaction and supports employee retention. It is also an excellent tool to help you calibrate the quality of your leadership as well as your employee relations and talent management programs.

Before you start, however, ensure that the management team is ready to act on the critical feedback you’ll get. Then decide what it is you need to know. Do you want to better understand how your employees view their relationship with management, understand and support the company’s strategic direction, or learn what aspects of their work environment, compensation and benefits, work assignments, and opportunities for learning and advancement are working (or not working)?

Next, determine how you will create, disseminate, tabulate, and communicate the survey process and results. If you’re creating your own survey, consider gathering employees from different areas of the company to formulate the survey questions and include them in the employee communications process to encourage participation. This team can also be instrumental in reviewing the survey results and providing feedback about how those results should be communicated and acted upon.

Another option is to use one of the many online engagement survey tools available in the marketplace. While the questions may not be as personalized to your company issues, you can get the surveys, along with the tabulated results, done quickly.

If you do create the survey in-house, consider these best practice tips:

  • First, determine whether the survey identifies the respondents. Confidential surveys typically yield higher response rates and include more candid feedback. With these surveys, be sure to include department or other group data to assist you later in analyzing feedback and specific action items that may be tied to one group. The decision to include identifying information is generally tied to the level of openness and trust in an organization’s culture.
  • Ask relevant questions. Ask questions that employees can — and want to — answer about their employment relationship with the company.
  • Make it simple and easy to complete. Keep the survey short. Employees may not take the time to complete a lengthy survey with in-depth questions. Save those types of questions for the follow-up action planning.
  • Provide an open comment area. Give employees an opportunity to comment at the end of the survey and add any additional information not covered by the questions.
  • Make the results actionable. Follow up on survey results so employees know they are heard and appreciated.

Encourage participation by using incentives or contests. With more feedback, you’ll have a better picture of your employees’ engagement level. Train your leaders so that they are prepared to use the survey feedback as a gift to improve performance and have productive feedback and performance improvement planning sessions.

Most importantly, don’t ask for employee feedback unless you are willing to do something with the results. Your employees will expect you to implement changes and take action. Let them know how much you value and respect them by listening and acting on their opinions and ideas.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

September 23, 2016

Recruiting Difficulty and Skills Shortages

HR professionals across all industries have been expressing concern over the difficulty in recruiting qualified job candidates for some time but with a lower number of applicants actually applying, the task of locating individuals who possess the needed skills, experience and educational credentials, is becoming even more challenging in the current day.

The fact that organizations are saying they have had more difficulty filling full-time regular positions in the last 12 months than in previous years is a sign that conditions have changed. The top cited reasons - lack of sufficient work experience and job skills among job candidates, more competition from other employers and a lower number of applicants’ altogether.

A skills shortage occurs when there are not enough people with a particular skill to fill the needed number of positions within a particular occupation. Some basic skills shortages are writing, basic computer skills, reading comprehension and mathematics. And applied skills shortages are critical thinking and problem solving, work ethic, written communication and leadership. With that said, the most difficult positions to fill were for high-skilled medical (nurses, doctors, specialists), scientists and mathematicians, skilled trades (electricians, carpenters, machinists), engineering and architecture, IT/computer specialist (analysts, developers, programmers) and executives. Basic and applied skills are not only critical but necessary in order to build a foundation for a strong and stable workforce.

Many organizations have had to have their training budgets increased in order to fill the gap between qualified candidates and or training existing employees. While online training courses have become the most utilized option, many employers are still utilizing conferences and professional workshops and on the job training. Investing in education and training should be viewed as a way to meet skills shortfalls.

Though many organizations are utilizing social media and collaborating with educational institutions as recruiting strategies, the most effective strategies have been using a recruitment agency and training existing employees to take on hard-to-fill positions.

Organizations need not to only focus on finding and retaining highly skilled employees but also need to consider how they are going to develop the next generation of organizational leaders as the current workforce ages and the highly experienced and skilled workers retire. Making sure employees are not at risk of burnout will also be critical, taking into consideration that when they’re unable to fill some positions, their existing staff may be forced to do more with less.

September 28, 2016

4 Ways to Keep Your New Hires from Quitting

From day one and onward, nonprofit employees look to training to feel capable at their job… and valued. Do you offer them that opportunity?

According to the 2015 Nonprofit Employee Engagement and Retention Report, organizations with high turnover also tended to have fewer training opportunities for employees—so providing new hires with the right tools at the right time is extremely important for retaining good-fit employees.

Employees want to feel like they’re making a contribution, and being trained on the job is a critical part of employee development and reinforcing their sense of worth. But in last year’s study, 29% of nonprofit respondents reported that they received NO onboard training, and about 1/3 said they got only 1-2 weeks.

Longer onboard training for new employees was linked to 1) lower turnover, 2) higher levels of employee job satisfaction, and 3) a lower likelihood of employees planning to quit in the next year. Organizations with 90-day onboarding strategies had the highest employee engagement. And when a company implements a successful onboarding program, they experience 54% greater productivity and 50% greater retention.

Here are 4 simple ways you can implement training at your nonprofit:

  1. Peer training: This is a cost-effective way to onboard and helps develop comradery.
  2. Written procedures and Employee Handbooks: These are critical to smooth transitions, and a handbook is also a way to document rules for when progressive discipline is necessary.
  3. Online Training: There are lots of courses available at an affordable cost. Check out Lynda.com, or you can administer courses to employees via UST’s HR Workplace training platform for less than $100/month for the whole organization.
  4. Conferences and seminars: In-person training helps employees network and bring knowledge of best practices in your sector back to your organization.

Overall, onboarding new employees (especially supervisors) can help them feel welcome and prepared to do their best. Ongoing training is a great way to develop skills, maintain goodwill among employees and keep your new hires from packing up their desks.

Discover a few other top reasons your employees might be headed for the door. For a limited time, download UST’s 2016 report, 6 Reasons Your Nonprofit Employees QUIT, and learn how you can improve your organization’s employee management strategies.

October 13, 2016

Webinar: New Accounting Standards Nonprofits Need to Know

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued the Accounting Standards Update 2016-14, which contains significant changes to not-for-profit accounting standards, focusing on improving, enhancing and simplifying financial statement reporting requirements.

In this 60-minute webinar, Jay Azar, Director of Not-for-Profit Practice Services at Lindquist, LLP, talks about how your organization can begin to prepare your accounting and financial reporting systems for these important changes.

Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Displaying the current three fund categories of Unrestricted, Temporarily Restricted and Permanently Restricted funds has changed to two fund categories of “Funds Without Donor Restrictions” and “Funds With Donor Restrictions.”
  • Requiring the use of a classified balance sheet and allowing for display of assets with limited use.
  • Requiring that information provided about expenses for the period will be presented both by functional and natural classifications for all not-for-profits.

After watching the presentation, you'll feel more confident and prepared for handling the accounting and financial reporting processes at your nonprofit.

Watch the webinar on-demand now.

This webinar series is part of UST's efforts to educate the nonprofit sector. Sign up to receive UST's monthly eNews for more free learning opportunities just for nonprofits like you!

October 21, 2016

HR Question: Time Off for Voting

Question: Is there a federal law that requires employers to provide employees with a certain amount of time off for voting?

Answer: Currently, no federal law requires employers provide employees with time off to vote. However, most states require employers to allow voters time off to vote and prohibit employers from disciplining or terminating employees for taking time off to vote.

For instance, according to Cal. Election Code §§ 14000 – 14003, if a voter does not have sufficient time outside of working hours to vote at a statewide election, the voter may, without loss of pay, take off enough working time that, when added to the voting time available outside of working hours, will enable the voter to vote. However, no more than two hours of the time taken off for voting may be without loss of pay. The time off for voting will only be at the beginning or end of the regular working shift, whichever allows the most free time for voting and the least time off from the regular working shift, unless otherwise mutually agreed. If the employee, on the third working day prior to the day of election, knows or has reason to believe that time off will be necessary to be able to vote on election day, the employee must give the employer at least two working days’ notice that time off for voting is desired, in accordance with the statute.

Finally, no less than 10 days before every statewide election, every employer must keep posted conspicuously at the place of work, if practicable, or elsewhere where it can be seen as employees come or go to their place of work, a notice setting forth employee voting leave rights.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

October 25, 2016

How to Distinguish Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Performing small business payroll can be both difficult and critical to effectively avoiding the all-too-tricky claim type, “independent contractor vs employee.”

Nonprofit employers must take the time to learn the distinguishing characteristics of an employee of an organization and an independent contractor, who are self-employed individuals. If and when you make a mistake when classifying these two worker categories, not only will this mix-up lead to high penalties, but you may have to outsource for payroll assistance—costing your organization both valuable time and money.

In general, here’s how you differentiate the two workers:

  • Employee – anyone who performs services and the company can control what is done
  • Independent Contractor – anyone who performs services and the company only has the right to control the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result

To avoid overpayments, rework for the employer and state, and potential investigations from the IRS, employers should use either the ABC Test or the Common Law Test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.

Both tests are designed to readily identify the worker-employer relationship, focusing on how much control the organization has over a worker and the work accomplished. Check out both the ABC Test and Common Law Test here to ensure your nonprofit’s compliance.

This article was adapted from Equifax Workforce Solutions, UST’s dedicated unemployment claims administrator.

UST members receive exclusive access to an online claims dashboard, e-filing capabilities, a state-specific claims representative and 100% representation at unemployment claims hearings. To find out if your nonprofit qualifies for the UST program, fill out a free Savings Evaluation today or call us at 888-249-4788.

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