Understand Important HR Trends in 5 Minutes

If you missed Paycor’s Fall HR and Compliance Web Summit, we’ve got you covered. For detailed action plans on how to find more qualified talent, navigating compliance uncertainty and increasing employee engagement, check out full recordings from each session. But if you’re pressed for time, then skim this review for key takeaways. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find:

  • Critical components of the recruiting process
  • Are your FMLA practices compliant?
  • What CEOs wish HR would do
  • Employee Engagement 101

RECRUITING

What keeps HR pros up at night?

With unemployment numbers at a record low, HR pros are facing an uphill battle to attract and hire qualified candidates. In fact, according to a LinkedIn study, the top obstacle to hiring is finding suitable candidates (46%). Keep reading so you can start counting sheep, not open positions.

The stakes are high

Recruiting used to be about filing jobs, period. Not anymore. With such a premium on avoiding bad hires and developing productive employees, employers are placing greater emphasis on optimizing their recruiting processes to ensure the right candidate is hired for the right position. If you’re not making this a priority, there’s a good chance you’re rushing to hire out of necessity instead of finding the most qualified candidate.

Want to avoid hiring remorse? Ask yourself these four questions:

#1) Does my company’s employment brand appeal to candidates?

Your brand is how you are perceived by those inside and outside of your organization, and it’s a critical factor in attracting new talent. How are you positioning your brand to potential candidates? Is your brand seen as desirable with a strong reputation? If you’re concerned you’re stuck in the middle of the pack, find something you do that separates you from the competition. Here are some questions to consider when defining and developing your brand:

  • What’s the personality of your organization?
  • What’s your culture, your mission, your values?
  • What makes your organization different?
  • Why do employees enjoy working for you?

#2) Does my company know who they’ll need to hire a year from now?

Creating a talent pipeline will likely require a shift in your recruiting strategy. Instead of reacting to open positions and recruiting to fill the job, plan for future positions and the candidates you’ll need to fill them. Developing this pipeline won’t happen overnight, but if you make it a priority, the results will pay off in the form of better hires and higher retention rates.

  • Consider collecting information from candidates who peruse your website even if a position is not open.
  • Referrals are important so always ensure you’re in recruiting mode even if you don’t have a position open. An employee referral program is a great way to build a pipeline while incentivizing employees for introducing you to talented people.

#3) Would I want to apply for a job at my company?

Job descriptions shouldn’t be painfully long and boring, but unfortunately, many are. Some employers simply copy and paste the same job description, substitute a few key words and roll it out to candidates. Instead of going back to the same well, create a compelling job description that contains the necessary information and reveals your personality. Here’s where to start:

  • Primary roles and duties
  • Other essential functions
  • Minimum requirements
  • Physical requirements
  • Employer protections

What to do: Remember, the best time to review current job descriptions or to create new ones is during the recruiting process. Need help? Download our template.

#4) What’s the best way to attract and retain top talent?

Not only does your compensation and benefits structure play a critical role in attracting top talent, but it can motivate and engage your workforce. According to the MRINetwork, the most attractive benefit to prospective hires is a competitive compensation and benefits package.

Remember that compensation is not just salary but other benefits you offer employees – and benefits go beyond offering health insurance. Don’t hold back when describing the benefits you offer. It’s a candidates’ job market, so the more you can do to tip the scale in your favor, the better chance you’ll have at attracting top talent.

Here are just a few examples of what you might offer:

  • Holidays
  • Vacation or PTO bank
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Telecommuting
  • Jury duty
  • Bereavement

The challenge for employers is to think outside the box when it comes to compensation. What progressive benefits can you offer that will attract top talent and make them want to work for you?

What to do: Total compensation statements are a great tool to demonstrate the benefits you offer employees beyond just salary. Learn more about how you can use it to engage employees here.

But it’s not just recruiting and hiring that’s keeping HR pros and business leaders awake at night. Compliance anxiety is causing great uncertainty and fear for employers. Here are a few areas we’re keeping our eyes on.

COMPLIANCE

Compliance doesn’t have to be that scary monster under the bed

Ask any HR professional about the most challenging part of their job and you’re certain to hear a few different answers, but one theme that constantly tops the list is managing compliance. So, what are the top concerns?

New form, no problem… right?

I-9 compliance is routinely one of the most attended webinars and popular questions we’re asked about here at Paycor. We’ve even created a checklist that covers what employers need to know. Download it here.

As of September 18th, employers are required to use an updated version of Form I-9 with revision date 07/17/17.

  • Check the upper-right hand corner of the I-9 you are currently using for new hires; the expiration date should be 8/31/19.
  • Also, on the lower left-hand corner, you should see the date of 07/17/17. The correct form should include both dates.
  • Employers must retain one I-9 for each current employee.

Are you up to speed on state laws?

If mitigating compliance risk and understanding regulations at a federal level wasn’t hard enough, HR pros must also understand the state laws and local municipalities that could impact your organization. Here’s a list of policies that you should be particularly sensitive about in your employee handbook regarding state and local laws.

  • Ban the box
  • Medical marijuana
  • At-will employment
  • Anti-harassment and discrimination
  • IT systems, email and social media
  • Pay practices
  • Confidentiality
  • COBRA/FMLA

FMLA should be as easy as 1, 2, 3

The Family Medical Leave Act or FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

Are you a covered employer?

The FMLA only applies to employers that meet a certain criteria, including:

  • Private-sector employers with 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, including a joint employer or successor in interest to a covered employer;
  • Public agency, including a local, state or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees; or
  • Public or private elementary or secondary school regardless of the number of employees it employs

Is your employee eligible?

An employee is considered eligible if:

  • They work for a covered employer
  • Has worked for the employer for at least 12 months
  • Has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave
  • Works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles

When does FMLA apply?

Eligible employees may take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period due to one of the following reasons:

  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter or parent who has a serious health condition
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job
  • For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status
  • An eligible employee may also take up to 26 workweeks of leave during a "single 12-month period" to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness, when the employee is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of the service member.

Is your organization administering FMLA properly?

Labor and employment attorney Katharine Weber offers the following steps to conduct an audit of your FMLA and leave management policies. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but think of each step as a guidepost to ensure your practices are compliant.

#1) Conduct audit under attorney/client privilege

Let’s face it, many employers assume that their policies are right and are being applied properly. But not so fast. Work with your labor and employment counsel to ensure you are managing FMLA practices properly. You’ll likely uncover weaknesses and areas of improvement. Here’s what to consider:

  • Be critical of your FMLA practices to avoid future liability
  • Always conduct an audit under attorney/client privilege
  • Otherwise, your findings could be discoverable later if a lawsuit is filed against you

#2) Ensure your FMLA policy includes the required elements

First, audit your policies to determine if:

  • Your FMLA policy informs employees of their obligations to provide you notice of the need for leave, including intermittent leave
  • Your FMLA policy informs employees that merely stating that they are sick is insufficient to satisfy their notice obligations to trigger their FMLA leave rights
  • You have a reasonable accommodation policy
  • You provide explanation when FMLA is not available

#3) Audit your forms

  • Are you using government-issued forms?
  • Are you using the most up-to-date forms?
  • Are you including job descriptions and indicating that fitness for duty will be based on the job description?

#4) Review initial FMLA designation forms

  • Did employee provide reasons for the absence that would have triggered FMLA rights?
  • Did you designate FMLA properly?
  • Did you issue Wage & Hour Form 381 timely (within 5 business days of receiving notice of need for leave)?
  • Did you issue Wage & Hour Form 382 timely (within 5 business days of receiving all necessary medical information that was sought)?

#5) Review occasions when you had to contact a healthcare provider

  • Did you seek too much information from the provider?

#6) Review medical certifications supporting need for leave

  • Are they complete and sufficient?
  • Do the forms set forth the anticipated frequency and duration of the episodes of incapacity?
  • Did you follow up with requests for recertification when you were permitted to do so?

#7) Review terminations or suspensions for excessive absenteeism

  • Were any of the absences due to covered FMLA reasons?
  • Were any of the absences due to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
  • Did you charge points to the employee for FMLA or ADA related absences?

#8) Review performance evaluations for those with attendance problems

  • Is attendance mentioned as a negative factor in review?
  • Were any absences mentioned covered by FMLA or ADA?
  • Did you withhold a bonus payment based on FMLA usage and if so, does your bonus policy treat FMLA takers and non-FMLA leave takers the same?

#9) Review what happened to FMLA takers who could not return in 12 weeks

  • Did you grant employees leave under the ADA?
  • Are employees whose positions filled due to undue hardship considered for vacant positions that fit their skills set and abilities?
  • Are employees on leave invited to discuss reasonable accommodations to allow them to return to work sooner?

10) Conduct man on the street interviews with your managers to ensure they’re saying the right things about FMLA policies

  • What do your managers say happens to employees who can’t return to work when FMLA is exhausted?
  • What do your managers say happens when FMLA is not available but the employee has a significant medical condition?
  • What do your managers say is the maximum any employee can take off from work due to a disabling condition?

What to do: Contact your labor and employment attorney for guidance on your FMLA policies and practices.

MANAGING UP

Think you know what your CEO is thinking?

Even though the discipline and practice of HR has come a long way, and is legitimately being seen increasingly as a strategic function, it’s not uncommon for HR leaders to still feel like second class citizens. The key is to understand what the C-Suite expects from HR. Here’s HR and Recruiting talent pro Tim Sackett on what CEOs really want:

They want HR to be simple. Applying for a job is a perfect example. How many clicks does it take for a candidate to apply with your organization? The fewer clicks, the better. In fact, by the third click, you’ve potentially lost 67% of your applicants.

They want to be told the truth. Many CEOs feel that they are not being told the truth. Too often, people want to tell leaders what they think they want to hear.

They want an HR pro who gets it. CEOs are looking for HR leaders who are willing to understand the business before they are willing to put HR in front of the business. By understanding the business first, HR leaders can provide recruiting and talent acquisition knowledge to help put the business in the best possible place to succeed.

They want HR to be social butterflies. HR cannot sit behind locked doors. They must be accessible and available to engage employees and understand what people are saying. HR leaders must know the pulse of the organization.

They want HR to hire great talent in HR. Talent that can one day run different functions of the business. Tim likes to hire candidates so good, that he’s fearful the employee will one day take his job.

They want HR to manage up. HR leaders should not be afraid to take a piece of information or a key learning to senior leaders and share the knowledge or promote the good work of an employee.

They want great competitive information. HR leaders should be able to answer who in the industry is aggressively going after talent. Also, who are the difference makers in your competitors? What are they doing to separate themselves and what could our organization learn?

Finally, Sackett recommends that HR leaders become a day 1 HR leader. This means:

  • Never being satisfied with your results and continuing to push for more
  • Always looking at trends within the industry and preparing the organization for what’s on the horizon
  • Not allowing the process to run decisions or strategy strategy, but allowing the strategy to run the process
  • Be a high-velocity decision maker

What to do: Check out this short article featuring tips from other HR professionals on tips to drive strategy within your organization.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

What does “engagement” mean?

Gallup defines employee engagement as being involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to work and the workplace. But an employee also must feel a profound connection to their team, to the mission of the organization, to their work, to the culture of the organization and to clients.

ROI of Engagement

  • Companies with a strong employer brand enjoy 50% cost-per-hire savings
  • Engaged employees increase customer satisfaction levels by 80%
  • Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%
  • Employee recognition means 31% lower turnover than business with no recognition

Are you tracking engagement at your organization?

Consider conducting an engagement survey at your organization, to see where you stand. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What are you going to survey?
  • When will you send it?
  • How will you help participants understand the importance?
  • How will you guarantee confidentiality?
  • Do you have leadership’s full support?
  • What is the communication plan before, during and after the survey?
  • Pre-survey: A leader should be actively involved and advertise the purpose of the survey
  • Within 7 days of close: Share high-level data
  • Within 14 days of close: Provide at least three immediate actions

Unfortunately, engagement is hard to achieve…

A global Gallup survey from 2015 found that:

  • Only 33% of employees are engaged
  • 67% of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged

Check out this infographic for everything you need to know about employee engagement.

Now for the good news. Fixing employee engagement issues won’t happen overnight, but with the right attitude and approach, you can help change the tide. Take note of these tips and share with your managers to enhance engagement across your organization.

Help your employees feel valued

Employees feel valued if they have a voice and it’s heard by peers, managers and leaders. Listen to your employees and show appreciation for their work.

What to do: Share these tips with your managers to ensure they are making employees feel valued:

  • Look employees in the eye and say “thank you”
  • Let employees share successes
  • If an employee has an idea, listen and discuss it
  • Discuss how employees contribute to the mission, goals and bottom line – and do it often
  • Ensure your onboarding program includes company history
  • Recognize employees often

Help employees feel connected to their work

Communicate with your employees to help them understand how and why their role is important to the overall mission of the organization.

Help employees feel connected to their team

Create an inclusive dynamic within your team where employees trust one another and are comfortable sharing feedback.

What to do: Creating a collaborative and cohesive team environment is no easy feat. Here are a few tips to share with your managers if they’re struggling to create this environment.

  • Schedule time with your team to relay positive feedback
  • Engage in projects with your team both in and outside of work – have some fun!
  • Train employees on providing feedback and receiving feedback

Create a positive work environment

Listen up leaders! You are the tone setter for creating a culture/environment that energizes employees and makes them want to come into work each day. The example you set and atmosphere you create has a direct effect on the attitude of your employees.

Lead by example

Employers must trust that their manager has their best interest at heart. Employees also want to feel supported by their leader, and employees should feel that they are given the right tools and training to perform their job.

What to do: Train your leaders to be leaders, not just managers. Here are a few questions your managers can ask during evaluations to help build stronger relationships with employees.

  • What would make your job more fulfilling?
  • How can I help you achieve your career goals?
  • What is one area of development we could focus on that would allow you to perform more effectively?
  • What’s your biggest challenge and what can I do to help?
  • What can I do to make you more successful?

Promote growth

Career advancement is a key component of employee satisfaction and retention. Not only does a defined career path motivate employees, bit it adds an element of focus that helps increase productivity. The reality is that many employers fail to provide career advancement opportunities or defined career paths for employees. The longer you wait to establish career development plans and define advancement, the greater chance that you’ll struggle with morale issues and having to replace top employees.

What to do: HR leaders must work with departments to create defined career paths and clear job descriptions that are available to all associates.

How Paycor can help

If recruiting and hiring the right candidates, engaging your employees or compliance uncertainty are keeping you awake at night, we can help. Our goal is to provide the HR technology and tools you need so that you can spend more time focusing on strategic initiatives and accomplishing your goals. Click here to connect with a Paycor consultant so we can learn a little more about you and how we can support your organization.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

Sources: Dale Carnegie, Deloitte, Department of Labor, Gallup, Society for Human Resource Management, Undercover Recruiter