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Entries with Topic HR Knowledge .

May 01, 2017

HR Question: Employees That Are Always “On”

Question: Generally our employees are “always on”, meaning they check work emails and communicate with co-workers/supervisors via smartphones during all hours. However, some of our employees are beginning to feel overwhelmed. Any suggestions?

Answer: Although employers may see the “always on” employee as highly productive, the constant state of being readily available can leave employees feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. To combat this struggle, employers may:
 
  • Elect to simplify the workplace and clearly outline expectations of employees during non-working hours.
  • Implement more flexible workplace standards encouraging employees to take time off and teach employees how to prioritize the constant flow of work. Employees inundated with information overload will benefit from streamlined information that is easy to understand and apply.
  • Teach employees how to delegate tasks and help employees learn new skills to manage their time so as to decrease the sense of a “workaholic” environment.
  • Outsource tasks to free up employee time.
  • Direct supervisors not to send employees emails or message employees after standard working hours so as to put employees more at ease and not feel the pressure to be "always on."
Note: The application of any new or existing workplace policy must be applied consistently and without discrimination throughout the workforce.

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.
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.

January 20, 2017

Webinar Recording: It's Time to Update Your Employee Handbook

Are you dreading updating your employee handbook? You’re not alone! Most of today’s HR professionals can agree that employee handbooks can be a handful.

Presented by ThinkHR, this on-demand webinar will cover some best practices for creating an employee handbook. This one-hour presentation will go into detail about:

  • Content every handbook should have plus content you might want to include and why
  • How handbooks can help maintain a vibrant company culture
  • New laws that impact employer policies
  • How the Trump Administration may impact employer policies

Watch the webinar recording today: http://links.thinkhr.com/O0y0S9nW0100WKRC0G09eoT

This webinar offers 1 HRCI and 1 SHRM-approved credit. Want access to more HR-certified webinar opportunities and a live HR hotline? Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ to sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.

January 17, 2017

HR Question: Time Off for Religious Holidays

Question: We do not give our staff floating holidays and only observe 10 holidays per year. How do we allow for staff who observe various religious holidays the time to do so, without giving them more personal time than staff who do not?

Answer: Employers are required to accommodate time off for religious practice, but are not required to pay for the time off. For employees who are nonexempt, the company should work with the employee to determine how much time off will be needed, and decide whether they will require the employee to use his or her available personal time off (PTO) before taking the unpaid time off for religious accommodation. It is important to note that although your policy needs to be applied consistently, different religions will require different amounts of accommodation. As a result, your pay practices should be consistent and aligned with the requirements of the religion. If employees requiring religious accommodation are exempt and taking partial days off, deductions may be made from their accrued paid time off banks and they must be paid their full salary according to FLSA rules.

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.

December 22, 2016

[Free Webinar] New Year, New President, New HR Challenges

President-elect Trump’s agenda for employment law is still being formulated, but one thing is certain: change is coming. Business managers and HR practitioners need to be ready, and we can help.

Presented by ThinkHR, this webinar will explore the practical impacts employers need to know now in the following areas:
  • Affordable Care Act regulations and reporting
  • Immigration status verification and reporting
  • Wage and hour changes EEOC enforcement and reporting activity
  • Paid family leave
  • And more!

When: Two dates available (Thursday, January 5th or Tuesday, January 10th at 8:30 am PDT)

Register: http://pages.thinkhr.com/HR-in-2017-Webinar.html

Register Now

This webinar offers 1 HRCI and 1 SHRM professional development credit. Want access to more HR-certified webinar opportunities and a live HR hotline? Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ and sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.

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. ​
November 18, 2016

What is the General Consensus of the Nonprofit Workplace?

Great places to work actively support their associates to do their best by honing in on employees’ skills, strengths, and interests, thus maximizing their potential for growth. Having a strategic approach to talent management and an overall commitment to workplace culture has clear benefits, namely a greater level of employee engagement that leads to a significantly lower turnover rate and higher productivity.

In line with a recent Bridgespan report, the 2015 UST Nonprofit Employee Engagement & Retention Report revealed that nonprofit employees have a high level of job satisfaction and engagement—with 85% of non-supervisory respondents reporting being “Satisfied,” “Highly Satisfied” or “Extremely Satisfied.” The Bridgespan Report, which was based on a Leading Edge “Employee Engagement Survey” specific to Jewish nonprofits, showed us that there are striking similarities with nonprofit organizations in general when it comes to employee engagement regardless of sector.

Both reports show that employees are motivated first by the organizations mission. Having a clear understanding of how employees work directly contributes to advancing the company mission is key to job satisfaction and can be fostered by reinforcing a culture with mission-based accomplishments.

In descending order, the Bridgespan report listed management practices, work-life balance, advancement opportunities and good leadership as ways to keep employees engaged. This information aligns with the UST survey results that ranked job satisfaction factors as culture, flexibility, a sense of purpose in work and benefits.

It’s imperative that nonprofit organizations continue to educate themselves on the latest engagement and retention strategies. By defining your organization’s core values, communicating them regularly, establishing rewards for demonstrating them, and ensuring they are part of an employee’s experience from the interview all the way through their career will help to foster a more positive workplace culture at your nonprofit,

Want to learn more about the latest nonprofit turnover and employee engagement trends? Get your free copy of the “2015 UST Nonprofit Employee Engagement & Retention Report” today.

November 02, 2016

[On-Demand Webinar] Is Your Nonprofit Ready for the New Overtime Rule?

December 1. This is the date that employers must be in compliance with the higher Department of Labor salary threshold standard for overtime exemption. Are you ready?

Presented by ThinkHR, this 60-minute webinar recording provides additional insights into employer compliance with this rule as a follow-up to the webinar conducted back in May. Learn about the common concerns employers face as well as other employment issues that this rule may cause.

By watching this webinar recording, you will learn:

  • The impact these changes may have on employee benefits such as health, disability and life policies as well as 401(k) plans and paid time off programs
  • Employer work rules, including overtime, tracking time and attendance and telecommuting programs
  • The affect that changes in classification may have on travel pay,  meal and rest breaks, and training/development time
  • Employee communications tips and strategies

Throughout the presentation, ThinkHR’s compensation expert, Renee Farrell, will share examples of calculating the costs involved with the final rule, including cost of overtime versus increasing salaries, and share ideas for controlling overtime costs.

Watch the on-demand presentation here: http://bit.ly/overtime-rule-2016

Want access to a live HR hotline and additional webinar opportunities? Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ and sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.

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.

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 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!

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.

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 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 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.

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