Growing your business is an exciting venture that often results in hiring new team members or leadership. Though it may seem like a daunting task to integrate new faces into your existing company, mission and network, proper planning and foresight can ensure that new hires feel comfortable and capable in their new positions. By taking the time to establish an onboarding plan and implementing thoughtful strategies for procedures like open enrollment, you can facilitate your company’s expansion in a sustainable way. Consider the following suggestions to ease the transition for new hires and existing employees alike.
Provide New Hires with Onboarding Buddies
Even for the most confident of new hires, the prospect of an unfamiliar workplace and brand-new coworkers can be daunting. Reduce potential stress by implementing a “buddy” system. By pairing your new hire with a seasoned team member, incoming employees are more likely to feel welcomed and at ease with their new surroundings. Make sure that your “veteran” employees maintain open communication with their new coworker as well as a positive, helpful attitude. You can also split your new hires into pairs or groups during training so they start to build community within the company. This can be especially helpful if new employees belong to different departments — this way, they will understand the larger context of the company and who to go to with various questions.
Ensure All Open Enrollment Information is Clear and Consistent
When it comes to educating new hires on employee benefits, it’s imperative to communicate openly and frequently. Provide relevant information in multiple formats and let employees know about any open enrollment paperwork early on. By sharing employee benefits information in different ways such as through email, the company portal, printed pamphlets, and group seminars, employees can absorb the information in numerous ways and resolve any lingering questions. Keep in mind that the beginning of any job is typically stressful, so if new hires can’t access employee benefits for a period of time such as 60 or 90 days, you don’t need to worry about communicating benefits information on the first day. The most important thing you can do is remain available — set up “open office” hours when employees know you’ll have time to discuss topics like employee benefits.
Prevent Stress by “Dripping” Information via Email
You’ve taken your new hire on a tour of the office, made all the introductions, and shown them to their desk and computer. At this point, your new coworker has already absorbed a lot of information, so sending a bulky email with a run-down of the company is probably not the most effective first-day strategy. Instead, favor a less-is-more approach. Try parsing out relevant updates about company procedures, day-to-day operations and your expectations over time. By periodically communicating smaller amounts of information, you are less likely to overwhelm new hires, increasing the probability that they stay on track throughout the onboarding process. After you disseminate information over email, try to follow up with employees in-person so they have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss with team members.
How can you implement these strategies in your company to ease the transition for new hires? Strategies include organizing a “buddy” system between experienced team members and new employees, clearly communicating benefits information in multiple formats, and disseminating information in a measured, digestible way. These approaches are just some of the ways you can create a welcoming work environment where new employees will thrive. To learn more about facilitating new hires’ onboarding experience, download the How To Give Employees A Great First Week checklist. You can also contact Innovative Broker Services at 916-932-2864 for expert onboarding advice that will benefit your business for years to come.
United States Supreme Court Rules Title VII Protects Individuals From Discrimination Due To Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity – Does this impact employer health plans?
On June 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released its
Final Rule under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act which, among other things,
modifies the regulation issued by HHS in May 2016 (“2016 Rules”). The 2016 Rules were
subject to multiple lawsuits over the years and HHS claims the Final Rules, among other
things, “better comply with the mandates of Congress…reduce confusion…and clarify the
scope of Section 1557 in keeping with pre-existing civil rights statutes and regulations
prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and
Just days after the Final Rule was released, the United States Supreme Court released its
much anticipated opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia regarding whether an
employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity protects them from discrimination on the
basis of sex under Title VII.
While these two issues are seemingly unrelated, as we discuss in this alert, we believe the
Court’s decision makes the Final Rule ripe for legal challenge. The decision also impacts
employer-sponsored group health plans regardless of whether they are “covered entities”
for purposes of Section 1557.
Many companies offer employee benefits such as gym memberships and wellness programs over and above normal health care benefits. A key consideration is determining how can you support the health and wellness needs of those working remotely. Working remotely is more than a trend, it’s become a necessity to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As more companies are seeing the benefits and cost-savings of having their workforce work remotely, it’s likely many companies will continue to allow their workers to continue to work remotely post COVID-19. These four wellness tips will help staff outside your home office feel as though they are fully included in your employee benefits.
Block Out Time to Support Their Health and Wellness Needs
Going from an office environment where employees had the support and mentorship of coworkers and managers to working remotely from home is a big adjustment. Block out time to support their health and wellness needs. For those remote workers who have children, they have the additional stress of homeschooling them. This takes their focus away from work trying to juggle both work and family at the same time. Supporting them by allowing them to take a mental health day, taking time out to go to an appointment or taking time for an afternoon nap due to exhaustion, are strategies that will not only support their mental health and well-being, but it’s also better for you as they will be more productive. Schedule time daily or weekly to follow up with them either individually or in a group zoom meeting shows them that you care about their changing wellness needs. They will appreciate this support over and above the standard employee benefits they receive.
Provide Remote Staff With Resources That Promote Health and Wellness
Yes, the gyms might be closed for now however, you could set up a weekly newsletter promoting other options and include links to online yoga, meditation tapes, and online fitness programs. You could also provide them with a list of local walking trails in their area and encourage them to share photos of spectacular scenery encouraging their remote coworkers to do the same sot hey feel connected. Consider holding weekly challenges that support healthy eating, standing while working, or getting in 30 minutes of activity daily. You could provide them with a FitBit tracker to encourage them to keep up their activity. This also doesn’t just promote health; you’ll get your team engaging with each other comparing how many steps they did that day!
A simple newsletter or blog is all it takes to trigger a healthy lifestyle while working remotely from home. Apart from the obvious health benefits, all these ideas only cost a little of your time. It helps remote workers feel connected and encourages them to embark on a lifelong journey incorporating health and fitness into their daily routines if they aren’t already doing so.
Employee Benefits Should Include Remote Health Care Options
Working remotely means employees can no longer enjoy typical perks like free gym memberships, motivational workshops, or experience other wellness programs from the confines of their home. You can harness technology to overcome these challenges to boost engagement through virtual meeting boards and using social media platforms such as yammer to share additional benefits to remote workers. Providing consistent and positive messages helps to keep remote workers motivated which ultimately leads to improved efficiency and productivity.
Your remote staff may not be aware that many doctors are taking telecalls to assess minor health issues. You could schedule a virtual health and wellness session via video conferencing and invite a health and fitness coach to give a talk ending with a question and answer session. Better still, ask your employees how you can support them right now. As the restrictions ease from stay-at-home orders, you could provide your remote workers with a voucher for a massage or walk-in clinics for check-ups.
Encourage Ongoing Conversations About Employee Benefits
While employees depend on their employers for healthcare, mental health is an issue that still needs to be addressed. Most employer-sponsored health plans do not cover mental health to the degree that is needed. A wellness program should reflect a flexible approach where employees can address these concerns as they may differ substantially from your concerns. Now is the time to analyze if your employee benefits are right for you and right for your employees. You can download the 10 Step Checklist to Help Make Your New Employee’s First Week Great here. By broadening the definition of wellness, more employers are demonstrating their commitment to improving their employees’ lives. They are expanding their definition of wellness to include emotional and financial wellness, in addition to the traditional pillar of physical wellness.
Putting together an employee benefits package that will resonate with your employees can be confusing. The professionals at Innovative Broker Services are experts in this field which can save you time and money. Contact them today at 916-932-2864 to get help analyzing if your employee benefits are attracting and retaining the best employees.
The world of work is changing dramatically, and that isn’t just caused by the health crisis in early 2020 that caused the majority of the country to work remotely. Nearly 7% of Americans work from home or other remote locations on a fairly regular basis, and that number is likely to increase dramatically as employers and employees see the benefits of this type of engagement. There are a range of technology tools such as videoconferencing and chat that can help ensure collaboration is seamless, but what about times such as open enrollments where employees traditionally gather together to ask questions and gain an understanding of any changes from previous years? While there are certainly some challenges, there are still ways that you can have an extremely successful open enrollment period with staff members working in a variety of different scenarios.
Congress passes the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
On March 27, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act comes as a continued response to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that is significantly impacting the United States. The Act is a $2.2 trillion economic package that is meant to stabilize individuals and employers, while the nation continues to experience shelter-in-place advisories/orders and hospitals report a surge of severely ill COVID-19 patients. The Act’s Paycheck Protection Program is retroactive to February 15, 2020, which is important for businesses that have been experiencing financial hardships starting in February.
While your open enrollment period may come around only once a year, it’s nearly impossible to bottle up all the information that you need to share into the few weeks before your final enrollment period. Companies are most successful when they’re able to create a cohesive plan that includes year-round communication that comes in a variety of forms for staff members. That could include everything from an ice cream social (low-fat, of course!) with a Q&A to fun, quick surveys that will get your staff thinking about their employee benefits. There’s no reason you can’t share the necessary information in a fun and engaging way! Hopefully, these suggestions will prompt you to approach your open enrollment in a new way for the coming year.(more…)
Treasury, IRS, and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses
The IRS issued official guidance as to how the credit for paid leave due to COVID-19 will be taken. It will be a direct offset against any payroll tax deposit required, so it will make the additional cash immediately available. There are some pretty good examples in the IRS notice issued yesterday, which you can read here:
Finding the hidden gem within a wide field of potential employees is a particular skill of human resources professionals, but how do you unlock the potential that is hidden within each of your current staff members? When people are fulfilled and less worried about basic human needs, they are able to spread their wings and truly allow their talents to take flight. Employee benefits are often considered the “make or break” decision between whether tomorrow’s superstar elects to join your organization, but it’s important to keep in mind the value that current staff members derive from their employee benefits, too. See how you can leverage employee benefits to boost team morale and supercharge your business results.(more…)