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Entries with Blog Label HR Management .

September 24, 2019

Getting Ahead of Form 990

Nobody likes filing taxes or paying them for that matter but don’t let that put your nonprofit at risk. While your organization may be federally tax-exempt, you are still required to file Form 990 with the IRS. This is the only way the federal government can ensure exempt organizations are conducting business in a way that is consistent with their public responsibilities. It also ensures your compliance and evaluates how your nonprofit is doing financially while  allowing the public to see information about a nonprofit mission and programs.

The 990 provides a transparent glance into the organization and its accomplishments. Allowing the public to see, not only, the gross revenue generated but where the revenue came from. When individuals, donors or job seekers are trying to find out as much as possible about a nonprofit through their own research efforts, this is an excellent source of information since it serves as a tool to evaluate the best charities to support.

It’s important that you file and file on time. Your 990 is due by the 15th of the 5th month after your accounting period ends. For example, if your fiscal year ends on December 31st, your 990 would be due by May 15th of the following year. Which form you file depends on your gross receipts—you can determine which 990 form to file by visiting the IRS website to see which form category your nonprofit falls under. Take the time to complete this form and avoid losing your exempt status with the IRS—there is no appeal process. If you’re unsure of your status, check the IRS website and get back on track, you will thank yourself later.

Understanding the journey, planning ahead and being proactive, will save you time and make the filing process much easier.  Following the below guidelines can help with that preparation:

  • Review the audit requirements for your state. Be aware of requirements BEFORE you begin 990 prep.
  • Determine ahead of time if you will need to file an extension. If you know you have an upcoming audit, keep in mind that the earliest most audits are schedules is in March or April and can last up to six weeks or longer. If this timeframe falls outside of your Form 990 due date, file an extension with the IRS as early as possible.
  • Close your books. Your nonprofit has been doing this for some time now, regardless of whether or not you’ve been filing Form 990, so you undoubtedly already have a process in place for year-end accounting activities.
  • Gather your documentation. Review your 990 from the previous year to get an idea of what you will need for the current year, including any schedules. You can check the IRS website to confirm which schedules you will need to file.
  • Update any outdated non-financial information. Double check that your organization’s name, address, telephone number and board of directors list (names, titles and compensation) are current.
  • Maintain a timeline. Provide ample time for completing the required paperwork as well as time for your board to review and provide feedback. While a board review is not required, it is strongly encouraged.

Since 990 forms are public documents and widely available, nonprofits should be diligent about filing them out correctly and filing them on time. Remember, a nonprofit’s 990 provides valuable information that speaks directly to your organizations status so the extra time spent preparing will pay off in the end. Don’t think of it as another menial task on your list of things to do but rather consider how it can affect those researching who you are—ultimately impacting the communities you serve. 

March 27, 2019

​​​​​​​Work for Good eBook Download

Employing the third largest workforce with the third largest employee payroll, the nonprofit sector is quickly gaining momentum in the work arena. Work for Good recently released a new eBook, the 2019 Nonprofit Salary Report for California, based on results from an extensive survey of nonprofit professionals in the state. This eBook delivers comprehensive sector salary benchmarking based on nearly 10,000 positions at nonprofit organizations in the state of California. Those are impressive statistics and this report breaks down those numbers for you—helping in your quest for greater impact and organizational excellence. Download your copy today!

October 11, 2018

Creating a Unique Compensation Package

Different things inspire different people to work for nonprofit organizations—it can be a personal tie to the cause, the desire to make a difference, the work environment, or maybe, it’s the idea of working with really like-minded people. Whatever the reason is, it typically isn’t for stellar compensation.

While some nonprofits have the funds to offer exceptional compensation, many just don’t—there are a lot of reasons why nonprofit organizations struggle with offering competitive compensation packages but the most common are minimal funding and other spending priorities. We know there are many non-monetary rewards of working for a nonprofit, but creating the best compensation package possible can make the difference between attracting and retaining qualified candidates or suffering from high turnover. It’s important to recognize that nonprofit employers compete with for-profit employers all the time when it comes to finding talented job candidates. Equally important to recognize is that compensation isn’t just about salary.

Like all other employers, tax-exempt charitable nonprofits are required to follow federal and state wage and hour laws that include minimum wage requirements. To maintain their tax-exempt status, nonprofit organizations need to ensure that compensation is reasonable and not in excess. Performing your own data research to find out what the “going rate” is for a given position can be extremely helpful in ensuring that you’re aligned with other nonprofits in the same geographic area with a similar budget and mission.

Here are some things to consider when creating a desirable compensation package:

1 . Incentive Bonuses – Ensure expectations are clear surrounding any bonus through corporate communications that explain how bonuses are recognized as a discretionary gift to a regular salary--dependent upon budget limitations, and provided in recognition of an employee’s extra-efforts or exceptional performance.   

2. Work from Home Opportunities - Provide employees the option to telecommute in an effort to save time and money on commuting back and forth from work. Make sure that you have a clear policy surrounding a telecommuting program to avoid any possible issues in the future.

3. Recognition Awards Recognize employee’s successes on a quarterly basis by rewarding them with an additional perk such as a gift card to a local hot spot or perhaps a paid day off. This type of recognition carries extra meaning in building trust and loyalty.

4. Additional Time off Offering additional time off options such as a floating holiday or a paid birthday can go a long way in making employees feel valued and cared for.

5. Perks and Memberships More and more companies are providing their associates free memberships to discounted programs and offering special offers.

6. Increase Training Spending - Consider paying for certification programs,  learning materials and conferences. Create more budget space for investing in employees.

Being creative with your compensation package at a budget restricted nonprofit can be less expensive and often better received than a raise, so put on your thinking caps and leave no stone unturned. R emember, money alone will not keep employees engaged so make sure you show them some appreciation.

June 22, 2018

A Nonprofit Financial Check-Up

Nonprofits play a vital role in society by indirectly boosting the economy. Just like their for-profit counterparts, they have payroll, pay mortgages and utilities and have overhead costs. Unlike for-profits, they rely primarily on grants, donors and the community for financial support – making it all the more important that they understand the financial risks they face.

Earlier this year, the findings from a study put out by SeaChange Capital  Partners, Oliver Wyman and GuideStar, “The Financial Health of the United States Nonprofit Sector:  Facts and Observations,” were released and the results signaled an urgency for improved risk management to reduce the likelihood of financial distress within the sector.  

 

Some key takeaways from this report include:

  • Overview of the size and scale of the US nonprofit sector
  • Key financial metrics segmented by size, sub-sector and geography
  • Learn how you can strengthen your nonprofits financial position
  • Ideas for reducing financial distress within your organization
  • Key financial health indicators

 

If you missed it, download your copy today and learn how you can either put a holistic risk management framework in place or enhance your current risk management practices!

May 15, 2018

HR Question: Employer Requirements Surrounding OSHA Regulations

Question: Which employers are required to maintain records of illnesses and injuries under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) recordkeeping and reporting regulations?

Answer: Employers that had more than ten employees at any time during the last calendar year are generally required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Log. OSHA provides a partial exemption from the recordkeeping requirements for employers who had ten or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year and employers in certain low-hazard industries.

To determine if your company is required to prepare and maintain OSHA records, you will need to find your industry’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code number using one of these methods:

Once you have identified your industry’s NAICS code, you can use the Partially Exempt Industries Table to determine if your industry is exempt from the recordkeeping rule.

Important: States with OSHA-approved plans may require employers to keep records for the state, even if employers are within an industry that is exempted from doing so under OSHA regulations.

Unless your facility is municipal, state, or federally-owned, it is subject to OSHA regulations as long as it has employees. Having non-profit status or a small number of employees does not exempt a business from OSHA 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.

January 19, 2018

Why it Matters to Have Fun at Work

Have you ever considered different ways to engage your employees at your nonprofit? High performing companies like Google, Zappos, LinkedIn and other organizations have found a way to have both high productivity among their employees along with profitability and it’s all due to creating a fun work environment. When looking at these highly successful companies, they have been able to incorporate fun into the foundation of their culture. While having fun at work may not produce results on its own, it will make your nonprofit organization stand out among your competitors and spark the interest of future employees who are looking for new employment.

Prioritizing fun in the workplace can have a direct impact throughout your organization in ways that you may not expect - such as organizational health. Fun at work can be used to encourage participation amongst employees, making them want to engage in wellness programs. Productivity; fun can offer your employees a break or distraction from everyday tasks, creating valuable break time. Engagement; when employees are engaged they tend to be more enthusiastic about their work.

Many workers have a tendency to imagine the ideal work environment and can’t seem to shake the idea that there’s always something out there that is a better fit for them. This can make employees only look at the flaws of their current work environment rather than seeing its potential. Discussing such concerns with your manager and/or leadership will help them better understand the issue at hand and work together to create a fun workplace.

While fun at work can build solidarity, connections and an outlet for workplace stress, the BIG question is… how do you get started? Since this is a cultural change, no one single event or two can single handed lee change a work environment. You can begin by assessing your culture. Ask yourself if you see how the value of fun can fit and then explore how the fun can become a part of your operations. The next big revolution in the working world is focusing in on culture.

January 16, 2018

An Effective Promotions Policy is Vital to Company Success

Promotions are the cornerstone of professional growth - they motivate employees by appealing to their sense of ambition. While there are many things organizations can do to improve employee morale, if you don’t have a solid process in place for promoting your staff, you’ll never see their best efforts.

Over the past year, 400,000+ workers were surveyed in the U.S. and the results revealed that when workers believe that promotions are managed effectively, they are two times as likely to work harder and put forth the extra effort required to advance in the workplace.  In addition, these same workers said they are also more likely to stay put long-term.

For employers, having a clear promotion policy in place is one of the most powerful ways they can drive their company’s success. The payoff is priceless – employee turnover rates are lower, productivity and morale increases and businesses see revenue growth.

Promotions are extremely personal and should benefit both the employee and the employer – no matter how large or small the company is. Leaders should not focus only on an employees’ qualifications but should also take the time to understand their current role, their interests and career aspirations as well as their weaknesses. You then put yourself in a position to be their top supporter and can advocate on their behalf when an internal opportunity arises. By refocusing your energy on the people the process is meant to support, you can improve the effectiveness of the promotion process itself. Taking ownership of the process and encouraging your staff members to step forward when there is an opportunity, creates a trust between the two of you and ultimately the process.

You want to refrain from promoting your buddy or the guy whose ethics are questionable or promote on the basis of seniority. You’ll only leave the rest of your staff feeling like the truly important things don’t matter like productivity or integrity. They’ll start believing that they need to focus more on developing personal relationships or become lazy thinking they just need to put in the time to gain seniority. Even worse, they’ll think that it doesn’t matter how the work gets done just as long as it gets done making the quality of work less of a priority.

A solid promotions process allows leaders to elevate each employee to their full potential – while showing the company what type of results and behaviors are valued. Promotions are about people so when leaders take a caring approach to coach and advocate for their employees, everyone reaps the benefits.

January 05, 2018

5 Worst Ways to Give ‘Constructive’ Feedback

As a nonprofit manager, it is important to be able to give constructive feedback effectively to your employees. Being able to share and receive feedback is vital to self- improvement.  Examples of how to give constructive feedback  include, discussing appropriate behaviors, asking questions, creating an action plan together and building trust, just to name a few. On the other hand, there are a number of ways that your feedback could end up causing more damage than doing any good.

Listed below are five bad habits your nonprofit organization should avoid when giving constructive feedback:

1) Waiting for the annual performance review to give feedback– This method can cause confusion and make things more challenging to work through. Waiting too long to provide feedback could make people feel caught off guard or defensive, rather than being open to having a productive conversation.

2) Not providing specific examples –Concepts like “be more of a team player,” “be more professional” and “show more initiative” don’t typically sink in without the use of specific examples to illustrate them. Labels without examples can leave people feeling at a loss of how to go about making changes because they are unsure of what you’re looking for. Make sure to be specific with your feedback.

3) Lack of preparation – Making an assessment or judgment call prior to gathering all the facts and examining the logic of your assessment, can lead to a very negative outcome. Situations like these could lead to resentment or lose of respect for the manager.

4) Making an assumption of how to praise an employee– A natural tactic is to praise an employee the same way you like to be praised. However, what may work for one type of person or personality may not have the same impact on another. This is one of the many areas of managing where learning personality styles can be extremely useful.

5) Only giving corrective feedback without any positive feedback – If the only time you give feedback is to say something negative, employees will inevitably develop an automatic defensive reaction the moment you try to give them any type of feedback, whether it be positive or negative. Such conditions could be deemed hazardous for a constructive conversation and effect the overall culture of the workplace.

December 20, 2017

The Truth Behind Nonprofit Marketing

Leaders in the nonprofit sector can share in the same sentiment when it comes to concerns surrounding the day-to-day operations of a nonprofit organization—especially with marketing. While marketing can affect many aspects of your organization, the most vulnerable could be your reputation and financial well-being.  In the light of such concerns, some nonprofits have managed to achieve marketing success by using the services of a third-party marketing firm. While this option is not feasible for all nonprofits, having some type of marketing strategy in place is crucial for your organization.   Creating a well-organized and strategic marketing plan that remains true to your mission and keeps your organization within budget, will bring your nonprofit to new heights.

While there are many effective marketing strategies, discovering which one is beneficial for your organization is key to ensuring you receive the most from your efforts. Learning how to use analytics, and accessing different testing methods can help point you in the right direction of what your organization may need to get started on its marketing journey. Also, integrating the latest tools into your website and social channels will help your organization stay relevant and current.

A good marketing plan is interlined from top to bottom. For each goal, there are objectives, every objective has strategies, and each strategy has tactics.  Without good tactics, a strategy will not successfully complete an objective, rendering the success of a goal. A true marketing plan should employ the right mix of experience with critical thinking.

If your nonprofit has allocated a portion of their budget towards marketing, they’ll typically put it towards “outbound” marketing, i.e., email marketing, newspaper advertising, and press releases. Where “inbound” marketing, i.e., social media marketing, can be beneficial for nonprofits to generate leads, it can be difficult to turn these leads into donors. With marketing being such an essential part of the nonprofit framework, it requires participation from all aspects of the organization in order to see any return from such efforts.

Nonprofit marketing is an ongoing commitment that requires the development of new ways to keep your following engaged and willing to donate. Nonprofits are well-positioned to tell stories that have the ability to make an impact. By creating a comprehensive content marketing strategy, realigning your marketing dollars, and ensuring your goals, objectives and tactics are in place, your great stories will go further – attracting and motivating your audiences to do even more.

October 27, 2017

How to Invest in Talent on a Nonprofit Budget

Talent plays a critical role in the overall performance of a nonprofit. However, according to the 2016 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, 84 percent of nonprofits don’t have a formal retention strategy in place and the turnover rate has gradually increased over the past few years. Behind all this data, there is a noticeable pattern across these nonprofit organizations of why this is happening—limited budgets.

Allocating a portion of your operating budget to invest in talent will ensure that your organization has an engaged team to guide your mission in the right direction.  To achieve true sustainability for your organization, you must compensate your talent appropriately and commit both time and resources to strengthening your culture.

Fortunately, there are many ways to foster a healthy and effective workforce that won’t have a direct impact on your budget. Besides compensation, there are other important factors that drive employee satisfaction—culture, values, organizational leadership, work-life-balance and career opportunities. Here are several cost-effective solutions to use when finding talent regardless of budget constraints:

1) Define Your Culture- Regardless of your nonprofit’s budget, you can have a strong organizational culture and, in turn, will encourage advancement of your mission. The most effective nonprofits tend to have employees that have the highest level of culture satisfaction. In order to have a positive corporate culture, nonprofits should apply the following components:

  • Vision
  • Values
  • Practices
  • People
  • Narrative
  • Place

 

2) Implement Diversity Initiatives- According to a recent Glassdoor survey, 67 percent of jobseekers indicated that a diverse workforce is an important factor when considering a new employer. While diversity has an impact on recruiting, it also plays a significant role in organizational performance. According to McKinsey & Company, diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to outperform less diverse companies.

 

3) Incorporate New Management and Feedback Processes- While an overhaul to your approach on performance management can be costly and time consuming; you can now make incremental improvements even with a tight budget, and see major results. Improvements may include switching to quarterly reviews, encouraging employee feedback and evaluate current performance management tools. 

4) Encourage Self-Care and Work Life Balance- Actively promote self-care and let your team know that even in times of budget restraints, you value their well-being. Educate your team members regularly on how they can incorporate better wellness practices into their daily routines.

July 13, 2017

Ten Things You Should Be Doing When an Employee Unexpectedly Resigns

Unexpected resignations can present big challenges for any business but especially for nonprofits with an already limited sta ff. Image the shock slowly turning into disappointment, anger and dread. Abrupt departures can be an emotional blow to the psyche, especially if it is someone who has positively contributed to the company. Now what?

Once you’ve processed the emotional aspects of losing a star employee, you’re then faced with the challenge of making sure things run smoothly through the transition. The following steps can help you effectively manage your staff during an unexpected staff departure:

  1. Accept and reflect - Don’t take it personally, oftentimes employees resign for growth opportunities and if their reasons are related to your management style, they usually won’t say so. How you act now is pivotal in maintaining a good standing with them and sparing the company from any backlash once the employee is officially gone.
  2. Show your support – A good manager will support and wish its employee well. Don’t hesitate to offer a recommendation if the employee deserves it.
  3. Confer with your Human Resources department – It’s important to understand company procedure as related to resignations so you are prepared on how to handle any specific questions that may arise.
  4. Explore the merits of a counter-offer – You should be selective about who to give a counter-offer to and who to let go. Whether or not to make a counter offer comes down to how critical this person is to you and how much of a disruption their absence will cause.
  5. Develop a transition plan – Deciding how to divvy up responsibilities while you are short-handed can be difficult. Start by determining which tasks just can’t go unattended and if any can be put on hold. Discuss those priorities with your staff to divide among existing employees and ascertain if additional interim help will be required.
  6. Communicate – You can’t control how others will react to the news, but you can control how it gets communicated. Be positive and show respect by acknowledging the work the departing employee has done. Being honest about the impact on the team and offering a temporary plan of action will go a long way in easing the minds of your remaining staff.
  7. Transfer knowledge – Once you have figured out who will take on what, it’s a good idea to arrange time for training during the notice period before the departing employee leaves. Capturing unique knowledge the employee has developed over the years isn’t always as easy to capture but having an extensive shadowing mechanism can help in obtaining that information.
  8. Review the current job description and revise if necessary – Transitions are a good time to review a job description. You want to ensure company needs are being met and possibly add new responsibilities. Asking employees for input on what skills, experience and qualities they would like to find in the new hire can help ensure any gaps are covered.
  9. Post the job opening ASAP – Coordinate with HR to formally post a job listing in an effort to show your staff this transition period is temporary.
  10. Throw a Going Away Party – This small gesture should never be overlooked. It’s important to gather your team and say “thanks” to the person leaving. Failure to acknowledge an employee’s departure and his or her contributions sends a bad message to the rest of your team.

When an employee resigns it creates uncertainty which creates stress. While losing some of your best people is inevitable, it doesn’t have to wreak havoc on the entire infrastructure. Managers set the tone for what happens next and with clear communication and mindful delegation; you can ensure an unexpected departure doesn’t turn your business structure upside down.

June 13, 2017

Effective Teams Communicate

Humans are social creatures by nature. We work together, play together, and live together – we communicate on a daily basis with little to no effort. Verbal and non-verbal, quietly or loudly, we’ve been communicating our whole lives, so why, is it sometimes so difficult?

When people communicate effectively, in a way that makes all parties feel heard, even conflict and criticism can be constructive and lead to positive results. In business, a lack of effective communication can be detrimental. People are hired for jobs that they are knowledgeable about and have the skills to perform - but if they can’t interact with those around them in a productive manner, the whole team suffers and so does the bottom line.

Communication isn’t just about the words we say. It also includes the way we say it and the physical signals we use. Being able to read people’s nonverbal communication, such as body language and facial expressions, can give a much deeper understanding of the message being transmitted. Often times, conflict arises when written text is taken out of context because there are no visual signs that come along with it. Say the wrong thing, and the infrastructure of a team can quickly fall apart - effective communication can actually help build trust and employee engagement.

Tips on how to increase positive communication:

  1. Listen carefully – pay attention and ask clarifying questions
  2. Speak clearly – be concise and show confidence
  3. Watch your body language – make frequent eye contact
  4. Be respectful– put away the distractions
  5. Up your empathy – verbal or non-verbal feedback

People communicate differently depending on their personal and professional backgrounds. Some may need more mentoring than others on best practices. It all comes down to getting to know the people you’re communicating with and being able to adjust your communication style accordingly. Developing good communication skills is a must and good managers know that communication is a key factor in success and a vital part of teamwork.

June 08, 2017

Nonprofit HR Toolkit 2017

Here at UST we've put together our Top 10 guides for 2017 Nonprofit Human Resource management. And for a limited time we're giving them away for FREE.

You can use these tools to make sure your nonprofit is in compliance all year long. Plus, you'll learn the top trends in nonprofit job satisfaction so you can retain your mission's best assets: your staff. Click below to download the full toolkit, courtesy of UST and ThinkHR:

  1. Quick 2017 HR Practices Checklist
  2. Federal HR Compliance Chart
  3. Federal Recordkeeping Requirements Checklist
  4. Small Employer ACA Checklist
  5. Large Employer ACA Checklist
  6. Workers' Compensation Audit Checklist
  7. 2017 State and Federal Minimum Wages
  8. 6 Reasons Nonprofit Employees QUIT eBook
  9. Webinar Recording: Updating Your Employee Handbook
  10. Unemployment Cost Analysis Form

Download Now

Still have questions? Don't forget we're here for any of your unemployment cost questions or to set you up with a free 30-day trial of our HR Workplace, where nonprofits can get HR questions answered in just 24 hours, and explore our step-by-step Employee Classification, Handbook, and Salary Tools.

May 19, 2017

Webinar: Unemployment & HR Risk Management with UST

With $30 million in potential unemployment liability mitigated last year for over 2,100 nonprofits, it's likely that your nonprofit could be overpaying. This short 30-minute webinar reveals some of the most common unemployment & HR risks that can cost your nonprofit thousands of dollars. After identifying the risks, this webinar reveals UST's top recommendations to combat these issues.

Nonprofit Executives, Directors, and HR staff with 10 or more employees should register to learn about:

  • Reducing unemployment tax liability as a 501(c)(3)
  • Benchmarking unemployment costs
  • Protecting funding from claims and liability
  • Efficiently managing unemployment claims, protests, and hearings
  • Avoiding costly HR mistakes
  • Enhancing goodwill by utilizing outplacement services

The webinar will also explore UST's holistic program, created by and for nonprofits, which can help further lower your unemployment and HR liability. You can also get your questions answered live by an expert HR advisor at UST.

Register for your preferred webinar date at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/3707595373010251522

Even if you can't attend live, when you register we'll send you the recording as well as any handouts you'll need to make sure your nonprofit is in compliance.

May 17, 2017

Webinar Recording: Best Practices in Outplacement Services for Nonprofits

Is your nonprofit facing seasonal employment or in fear of funding cuts?

Marilyn Stemper, National Director of CareerArc, reveals how nonprofits who are utilizing outplacement services can more effectively reduce unemployment claims costs while establishing goodwill among former employees. (With CareerArc, you can help your displaced staff members find work up to 73% faster!)

CareerArc can help your former employees find new jobs quickly, with:

  •   Online & on-demand professional career coaching
  •   Interactive, flexible resume building and job search tools
  •   Networking guides and automated social media searches
  •   Interview tips and practice tools

As a nonprofit, every dollar that you're not paying in unemployment benefits is a dollar in support of your mission.

Watch the webinar recording today and learn how you can generate great savings and goodwill.

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This webinar series is part of UST’s efforts to educate the nonprofit sector. For more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for our monthly e-News today!

May 03, 2017

Bad Managers Aren’t Good for Business

Few things are as costly and disruptive as good people turning in their resignation. Finding qualified, motivated and reliable employees can be challenge enough but retaining them once hired can often be just as taxing. In order to prevent good employees from wanting to exit, companies and managers need to understand what they’re doing that contributes to an employees’ departure because people don’t typically leave jobs, they leave managers.

Many managers lack fundamental training in managing people. More importantly, they lack the values, sensitivity, and awareness needed to interact effectively with their staff which affects the company as a whole and causes the bottom line to suffer.

 

Let’s take a look at the type of manager behavior that send good people packing.

Micromanagement - Bosses who are always under foot and constantly requiring updates are exasperating to everyone. All managers should start out from a position of trust with their employees. Micromanaging shows a lack of trust and makes an employee feel like they can’t be counted on to do things effectively.

Failing to get to Know Employees as People – Developing a relationship with employees is a key factor in managing. Managers need to know how to balance being professional with being human. Because we spend more time at work than we do at home most days, it’s important that employees feel like they belong. Celebrating successes, both professional and person, and empathizing during hard times can go a long way.

Workload Burnout – If you want push people out the door, nothing does it better than overworking your staff and pushing the limits of excessive production. Managers tend to push their best and most talented to do more but overworking your employees is counterproductive and risky if you don’t compensate with some sort of recognition such as raises, promotions or title-changes.

Failure to Communicate – The best communication is transparent communication. Sharing as much information as possible helps to make employees feel engaged and empowered. It also opens the door for feedback, ideas and suggestions which every company should encourage.

Don’t Recognize Good Work – Everyone likes a pat on the back every now and then and it’s the managers’ responsibility to reward a job well done. It can be as simple as verbal recognition, a small token of acknowledgement such as a gift card for coffee or as grand as a raise or promotion.

Failure to Develop Skills – Talented employees are always looking to learn something new and missing the mark on this one can cause your best people to grow bored and complacent. If you take away their ability to improve, it not only limits them, it limits you too.

If you want your best people to stay, you need to think carefully not just about how you develop them but about how you treat them. Cultivating happiness and good will through methodical efforts will help to avoid any unnecessary losses.
November 16, 2016

Ready or Not, Here Comes Change

Change can be either good or bad... but if you don’t know what is changing and when , your organization is at serious risk.

UST helps nonprofits efficiently manage such risk through its industry-leading HR Workplace—a cloud-based compliance library that keeps you up-to-date on urgent regulatory changes that can impact your nonprofit’s operations.

Rather than wading through thousands of internet search results, UST participants can readily view which laws are applicable to them by utilizing the HR Workplace’s state-specific search engine. Additionally, the newly added compliance calendar automatically notifies employers of key filing deadlines at both the state and federal level.

Wouldn’t you like the confidence that comes with having the latest regulatory requirements, specific to your nonprofit, at your fingertips?

To test-drive the most popular HR tools, including the live HR hotline, employee handbook builder and compliance calendar, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial today.

If you’re a 501(c)(3) with 10+ employees, submit a free Unemployment Cost Analysis online and find out whether UST can help your nonprofit avoid costly legal fees and save significantly on administrative costs for 2017. For more information, contact a dedicated UST cost advisor at 888-249-4788.

November 08, 2016

Important Information about Affordable Care Act Reporting for 2016

The final forms and instructions that employers will use for 2016 reporting under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Employers that provided basic healthcare coverage on a self-funded basis in 2016 are required to report the names and social security numbers (SSNs) of all covered individuals. While this is the second year of reporting for most employers, many still struggle with the process of how to effectively report SSN’s for all covered individuals and their dependents.

If you are an applicable large employer (ALE) that employed 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees during the current reporting year, you must report to the IRS whether or not you did or didn’t offer healthcare coverage by completing Form 1095-C and 1094-C.

The requirement to report enrollment information on each covered individual, including dependent names and SSNs, only applies to employers that self-fund a minimum essential coverage health plan (e.g., major medical, PPO, HDHP). For an ALE, the self-funded plan enrollment information is reported in Part III of Form 1095-C while a “small” (non-ALE) employer reports the information in Part IV of Form 1095-B.

You can review a copy of the IRS proposed regulation on TIN solicitationhere.

This article was adapted from ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace provided to UST members at no additional cost. Get answers to your HR questions and sign your nonprofit up for a free30-day trial. 

October 27, 2016

HR Question: Bonus and Employee Leave

Q: Our company provides a bonus to all employees based on overall company performance. Do we have to pay an employee who is out on a leave of absence (LOA), and would payment of the bonus impact his or her disability payments?

A: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires that employees be restored to the same or an equivalent position with the same benefits and compensation. If an employee was eligible for a bonus before taking FMLA leave, the employee would be eligible for the bonus upon returning to work. The FMLA leave may not be counted against the employee. For example, if an employer offers a perfect attendance bonus, and the employee has not missed any time prior to taking FMLA leave, the employee would still be eligible for the bonus upon returning from FMLA leave.

On the other hand, the FMLA does not require that employees on FMLA leave be allowed to accrue benefits or seniority. For example, an employee on FMLA leave might not have sufficient sales to qualify for a bonus. The employer is not required to make any special accommodation for this employee because of the FMLA. The employer must, of course, treat an employee who has used FMLA leave at least as well as other employees on paid and unpaid leave (as appropriate) are treated.

Therefore, if the bonus is based purely on the company’s performance without specific individual employee productivity metrics to qualify that employee for the bonus, then the employee on leave would be entitled to such a bonus.

The bonus would likely not impact the disability payments, but it is best to check with the specific plan documents or with the carrier to determine what, if any, impact it may have.

Question and Answer provided by ThinkHR. Learn more about how your nonprofit can gain access to their expert HR staff here.
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.

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.

July 07, 2016

4 HR Mistakes Nonprofits Make

If you work for a nonprofit, you’re probably familiar with the concept of wearing many different hats for your job – whether it’s development, accounting, human resources, or all of the above. But no matter how hard you try, HR mistakes are bound to happen. It’s just the nature of the beast (a very, very regulated beast).

These mistakes can be costly if you’re not careful; think compliance penalties, litigation, unemployment costs and employee replacement costs. We’ve listed some of the most common mistakes so you can try to avoid them at your nonprofit.

1. Bad Hiring Decisions

In the nonprofit world, you’re likely to know just about everyone who works in the same circle. So it makes sense that to offer a job to someone you know, right? Well sometimes skipping the interviewing step means you’re missing out on the most qualified candidate, and missing important information. Interviews, background checks and references are absolutely a must when it comes to hiring the right person. The wrong person for a position can be costly, since you may have to pay unemployment if you have to replace them, and the cost in both time and money to find a replacement quickly adds up.

2. Not Documenting Infractions

It’s not easy addressing performance or company policy concerns with an employee. Although it can be uncomfortable, it’s much more uncomfortable to have to address these issues in an unemployment claim appeal hearing when you try to prove the employee was discharged for cause. The first steps are having clear performance expectations in your job descriptions as well as an employee handbook outlining organizational policies. Then create a performance review to discuss any concerns with an employee, and address the steps they can take to improve. And any infractions must be documented in writing, including:
 
  • Date of infraction
  • Details of infraction
  • Explanation of corrective actions needed
  • Statement of next disciplinary steps
  • Signature of the employee


Finally, don’t wait to have the conversation! It’s easiest to provide immediate feedback and point to a distinct occurrence rather than try to explain later on “Remember that one time…” Do it now, and you’ll thank yourself later.

3. Not Knowing Basic HR Rules

If you don’t have someone with acute knowledge of the laws around the following HR laws, make sure you get acquainted with the rules or have a certified HR professional to help you:
 
  • Discrimination
  • Overtime and minimum wage requirement
  • Family medical leave and Military leave
  • Unemployment
  • Age and gender discrimination
  • Disability
  • Safety in the workplace
  • Pregnancy discrimination
  •  Immigration
Ignoring these laws can lead to costly legal concerns and thousands of dollars wasted. Download the 36 Critical HR Processes, and learn more about UST’s live hotline with SPHR and PHR certified HR professionals.

4. Not Knowing the Difference Between Contracted, Volunteer, Part-Time, and Full-Time Employees

The U.S. DOL has strict rules around Independent Contractors and Volunteers. Not only do you need to be aware of the rules around pay and benefits, you should know who is eligible to collect unemployment benefits. Independent contractors may file for unemployment, and you need to be able to prove he or she is not an employee of your company.

Here at UST we know it’s not easy managing the most important part of your organization: your human capital. Having the right employees can make or break your mission, and so can following the proper HR procedures. Interested in learning more about our tools for nonprofits? Find out about Unemployment Claims Administration and our HR Hotline.
September 29, 2014

The 6 Signs of a Highly Engaged Employee

Engaged employees mean lower turnover and more productivity, as well as results that directly affect your mission.

But finding and hiring highly engaged employees is difficult. You might ask - How can an employee be “engaged” before they’re even hired? Well, the highly engaged employee is often a person who simply leans in that direction in all parts of their life. That’s why finding them is so important for your nonprofit – because it’s easier to help an engaged employee thrive than to try to build one from the ground up.

Here are some signs of a motivated personality when you’re looking at hiring, or even internal development:

1. They don’t expect their organization or their leaders to provide all the stimulation in their workday or their job. They seek out new opportunities to engage in their job on their own. Complaining about a former manager or job not providing enough work satisfaction in an interview can be a red flag that they didn’t take that extra step to engage themselves at their previous job.

2. They know their performance speaks for itself, and they’re not worried about what their organization can give them, but rather about what they can give to their organization. They have a low sense of entitlement. (Although rewarding and recognizing them is important to keeping them engaged!)

3. They help inspire others to love your mission, including clients and volunteers.  They can’t help but be excited about what they’re doing and that translates to others.

4. They are engaged despite the conditions around them. Even if their last job wasn’t perfect, they found ways to be engaged. And even motivation in other places of their life can show an “engaged” personality – like running a 5k to help a local dog shelter. Your job is simply to foster this engagement at work.

5. They enjoy shaping their own outcomes – and the outcomes of your organization. Being a voice in the direction of your organization, whether it’s something small like finding a better way to file invoices, or more strategic like new ideas for an annual campaign, they will feel happiest when they can give something to your organization.

6. They like to stretch the limits. This can be uncomfortable for leaders, but allowing engaged employees to think outside of the box can lead to some amazing results. And sometimes listening and showing you are truly interested in their input, even if it doesn’t get used in the end, shows that this behavior is not only welcome, it’s appreciated – and it should be!
September 28, 2014

EAP and Performance Issues

Q: How does an employer go about using the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to address an employee’s performance problems that may be related to issues outside of work?

A: The employer should contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) directly and request a review of the process for making referrals. In general, during the implementation process, the EAP provides the contracting employer with that information so that employees and employers have a clear understanding of the services the EAP can offer employees and the process by which the employer can make referrals to the service. This service typically includes employer assistance so that employers may communicate directly with the EAP counselor to provide a “heads up” to the counselor regarding the performance issue and obtain guidance for handling the discussion with the employee. Then the employer can have the performance discussion and refer the employee to the EAP as part of the action plan for performance improvement. Discussions between the employee and the EAP are confidential, and the employer should not expect feedback from the EAP regarding those discussions.

While the employer can make the referral, it is ultimately an employee’s choice whether or not to contact and work with the EAP. If the employee chooses not to seek help or address the issue that led to the referral in the first place and performance does not improve, then the employer should follow its progressive disciplinary process, including corrective action up to and including termination of employment.

Question and Answer provided by ThinkHR. Learn more about how your nonprofit can gain access to their expert HR staff here.
September 24, 2014

The ABCs of Ethics in the Workplace

While a substantial paycheck may entice a job candidate to seek employment at a particular nonprofit, an organization’s reputation for ethical procedures and workplace culture can be just as persuasive. An ethical workplace provides a fair and harmonious environment for every worker, promoting equal opportunity, honesty and open communication. Specifically for leaders, developing and adhering to ethical values in the office is key to helping employees determine what type of behaviors are expected of them.

Here are a few ways you can maintain an ethical culture at work:
 
  • Communicate ethical priorities through training, meetings and ongoing encouragement—From the get-go, it’s imperative to train your employees on the fundamental values of your organization. Explain why ethical behavior is a priority, and how to effectively carry out ethical action. Give them realistic examples of potentially tough decisions, and equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to make the ethical choice.
  • Lead by example and be consistent with your follow-through—Your employees can readily identify inconsistency or unfair treatment. Rather than merely telling them how to act, show them that you not only support ethical behavior, but practice it on a day to day basis. This includes addressing bad decisions, and brainstorming ways to improve ethical practice.
  • Hire employees with a similar ethical compass—Being upfront with your nonprofit’s ethical culture during the recruitment process can help you determine best-fit candidates. More often than not, employees will have a difficult time upholding ethical priorities if they do not agree with them. Hiring individuals with the same morals can lead to an easier transition and will further strengthen your nonprofit’s ethical foundation.


Because nonprofits are often small organizations working in a small sector, their reputations are precious. Creating and implementing a strong ethical culture where employees maintain integrity will improve internal morale and help the overall business grow.

Learn more about how to encourage strong ethics within a work environment here.
September 22, 2014

10 Ways to Avoid Costly Employee Turnover

In order to minimize costly hourly employee turnover, there are 10 things you can do, writes Mel Kleiman on his Humetrics blog:
 
  1. Hire tough (so you can manage easy).
  2. Let every new employee know why their job is important.
  3. Avoid the mindset that it is “only an entry-level job” (in both the new employee’s mind and in your own mind).
  4. Pay the highest wages you can afford. (When you can pay more, then you can expect and get more.)
  5. Give a pay raise as soon as the new employee deserves one (not on a time schedule, but on a productivity/ learning schedule).
  6. Give recognition when recognition is deserved.
  7. Train for process, not for speed.
  8. Help the new employee make friends at work.
  9. Learn to fail fast. (When you realize you made a hiring mistake, release and replace that person immediately.)
  10. Make work FUN!!


Here at UST, we believe hiring the right employees is one of the top ways to reduce your organization's overall unemployment costs. That's why we're committed to this blog, and giving nonprofits the tools they need to reduce turnover, reduce costs, and reduce time spent managing them!  We also want to make sure nonprofits aren't overpaying for unemployment taxes. You can find out by filling out a (free) savings evaluation here.
September 17, 2014

HR Question: Can we transfer a sub-par employee?

It can be okay to replace a sub-par employeee[/caption]Q: Would it be permissible to transfer a long-term part-time employee who is an average to poor performer to another role and replace that position with a full-time employee?

A: Unless there is an employment contract or collective-bargaining agreement that suggests otherwise, employers do have the ability to set an employee’s work hours and job duties based on business needs. In the situation you described, you have a poor performer whom you want to transfer to another position, enhance the job, and bring in another employee to do the work. We assume that you have been addressing the current incumbent’s poor performance issues and the job that you are moving the employee into will be more in line with his or her skills and hopefully provide an opportunity for the employee to be more successful on the job. If you have not addressed your performance concerns, now is the time to do so. Explain why the change is necessary and use the opportunity to discuss the employee’s career goals and development needs. It is critical that the employee receive feedback regarding performance and behavior, as this may continue into either role and should be addressed to correct the concerns or take progressive discipline as appropriate. Have these conversations before you announce the new employee transferring into the expanded position.

The employee may have questions regarding why you are taking a part-time position and turning it into a full-time one and may suggest that he or she could be successful in the job if allowed the additional time each day to complete the duties. Be prepared to address that and provide the employee with a copy of the expanded job duties and explain why he or she is not the right fit for that job. Having a direct and respectful conversation, with specific feedback and action plans to move forward, can go a long way to making the change successful.

Question and Answer provided by ThinkHR. Learn more about how your nonprofit can gain access to their expert HR staff here.
September 16, 2014

How to Create a Smooth Transition for You and Your New Hire

New employees provide fresh ideas, new skill sets, and positive thinking—all of which impacts any nonprofit’s potential growth. However, a new hire’s success rate is greatly influenced by their initial onboarding experience.

Follow these 6 simple methods to ensure a successful employee transition:
 
  1. Educate everyone prior to the new hire’s start date—Encourage your new employee to learn more about the nonprofit’s history and mission objectives, either through research or conversation. In addition, notify current staff of the new employee’s background and role responsibilities so everyone is prepared for the transition.
  2. Create and communicate realistic goals—Develop both short and long-term goals for your new hire. Be as clear as possible when outlining job priorities, and check in consistently to give constructive feedback on their work.
  3. Assign a senior mentor—Having a senior employee, who is well versed in your nonprofit’s procedures and history, will provide your new hire with a valued resource that can further build their sense of belonging. This additional outlet will also free up some of the time you would be spending on your new employee’s training.
  4. Encourage innovative thinking and listen to new ideas—Explaining correlated challenges and strategic goals to your new hire could help inspire new solutions. A new employee’s fresh perspective can help break the cycle of seemingly unavoidable problems.
  5. Help them feel like they’re part of the team—Construct interactive opportunities in team meetings and planning sessions. It’s also important to have team building opportunities, enabling your staff to develop strong professional and personal relationships with one another.
  6. Celebrate early wins—No matter how small the accomplishment, celebrate early wins as a form of encouragement for the new employee’s hard work. But don’t forget to celebrate the team’s work as a whole to continue the positive momentum.


Taking the time to efficiently train your new employees on your nonprofit’s culture, strategic goals, and personal role expectations will not only help new hires adjust, but also strengthen your organization as a whole.

Learn more tips about how to manage new employees here.
September 09, 2014

HR Question: Can the board request payroll info?

Q: Can executives or board members review our company payroll register upon request?

A: Yes. You may wish to inquire as to what types of compensation information they need so that you are providing the detail and data that is relevant for their review and discussion. You will want to ensure the privacy of your employees’ personal information, such as concealing Social Security numbers, garnishments, etc.

Executives typically need relevant summary compensation information for decision-making with revenue and cost considerations. Reviewing the actual intent of how the data will be used may enable you to provide a summary report without revealing data that could potentially be perceived as inappropriate to reveal.

Question and Answer provided by ThinkHR. Learn more about how your nonprofit can gain access to their expert HR staff here.
September 01, 2014

HR Question: Can FMLA be used for frequent bathroom breaks?

Question: If an employee states that he or she needs to use existing Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) designation during the day for restroom breaks, is that something the employee can do?

Answer: More than likely the frequent use of a restroom may be a serious health condition; however, one would look to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prior to counting this time against the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitlement.

In general, when counting bathroom time against an employee’s FMLA entitlement, only do so if the frequency and duration extends beyond the employee’s normal lunch and break periods.
 

Question and Answer provided by ThinkHR. Learn more about how your nonprofit can gain access to their expert HR staff here.

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