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These days, many of us are just an email, text, or click away from work. So it’s more important than ever to make sure you and your employees are getting time away to recharge. That being said, many business owners and HR staff have concerns about certain vacation or paid time off (PTO) policies. Here are three common questions and answers about vacation time.

Q: Can we deny an employee’s use of accrued vacation time?

A: Yes, the decision to approve or deny the use of accrued vacation time is up to you, assuming you do so in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner. It would be acceptable, for example, to deny a vacation request because approving it would leave you without adequate coverage, or because the employee asked with less notice than is required by your time off policy.

You should, however, ensure that certain employees are not denied vacation disproportionately. For instance, if an employer’s admin staff (who are all women), or their software engineers (who are all men), are consistently denied vacation because arranging coverage is difficult and deadlines are abundant, this could lead to claims of discrimination.

Q: Can we give employees different amounts of vacation or PTO time?

A: If the differing amounts of vacation or PTO are based on a clearly-defined employee groupings, such as seniority, department, or exempt versus non-exempt status, then yes. It’s a common practice, for example, for employers to offer more vacation time to employees who have been with the organization for longer.

Where you can run into trouble is offering different amounts of vacation on an individual basis or without clearly-defined criteria, either of which can lead to discrimination claims. For instance, if Rafik and Anita are hired at the same time for similar jobs in the accounting department at the same rate of pay, but the organization offers Rafik more vacation, Anita could potentially bring a claim under federal or state discrimination or pay equity laws.

Q: A non-exempt employee has asked to be paid for the hour she spent checking work email while she was out on vacation. We didn’t request, require, or authorize this work. How do we handle this?

A: Although you didn’t give this non-exempt employee permission to check her work email while she was on vacation, you will need to pay her for the time she worked. In this case, the employee checked e-mail for one hour of her vacation day, so you would provide one hour of regular pay and charge the rest of her day to her vacation bank.

To prevent this kind of thing from occurring in the future, it is perfectly permissible to create and enforce a policy stating that employees are not permitted to perform work (including checking e-mails and voicemails) while on vacation or taking any other kind of paid or unpaid leave. While you can’t withhold pay for time worked, you can hold employees accountable to the policy by disciplining for any violation.

Get even more answers to a whole library of HR questions. Learn more about GTM’s HR services, then request a free quote.

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It’s difficult to attract and hire talented people. According to our human capital management partner iSolved, more than 60% of applicants will start an online application but leave without finishing it. And there’s a whole lot more who never see your ad to begin with. iSolved offers this advice on the three principles of strategic recruitment to help you find and hire the best workers.

If you’re looking to better your hiring process and get real results, you may need to re-evaluate and improve your recruitment practices to make the best use of time and the tools available. Start by asking the right questions.

1. WHAT do you need?

You need to develop a detailed applicant profile to clearly show they type of person you want to hire. You also need to clearly communicate needs, expectations, and benefits. It’s important to be more detailed in your job descriptions that are shared with potential candidates. Don’t leave them guessing about what the job entails, what’s expected of anyone on your team, and why you are interested in them as a potential hire. You can then use evaluations to gauge success and pinpoint any gaps in your process.

2. WHY should applicants want to work for you?

Selling any product or service successfully requires creating a brand. If you are recruiting, you are selling your company, so you need to create an employment brand. Increase brand awareness with the use of content marketing through social media and blogging. A well-written blog can introduce the core values of your company, while also providing useful tips and information to your readers. Demonstrate your investment in your community on your blog or through social media, and new talent is sure to find you. Highlighting your company’s culture helps applicants envision themselves as part of your team. Encourage your employees to become brand ambassadors and promote your “product” to potential “customers.” Then you can target job seekers and entice talent to join your team.

3. HOW are you going to reach and attract talent?

To get to those talented job seekers, you need to build a talent pipeline. Start by creating a pool of applicants who have been previously vetted. Build relationships with potential applicants, even before they apply to work for you. many companies have started using text campaigns to reach potential recruits. Text campaigns, or conversational advertising, allow you to engage in a personal conversation with job seekers. It creates a personal connection that sets a positive tone for your interview process. Then capitalize on the strengths of both your employees and your applicants to find the best fit. Everything in business these days is about making that connection and nurturing relationships, and it is now easier than ever to do that thanks to the many advancements in technology and social networking.

Improve your recruitment strategy with the right solution. GTM makes it easy to attract, recruit, and bring on talented individuals. Request a free demo to see how it can transform the way you hire and onboard new employees.

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Let’s say a friend saw one of your employees at a social event, and they told you he was engaged in questionable behavior (drinking, foul language, etc.). Managing your employee’s conduct when they’re not on the clock may be a concern. Can you regulate employee off-hours behavior? How much influence do you have?

While employers have the right to manage an employee’s on-duty conduct, they are legally more limited in how much control they can exert when employees are not on duty.

Issues may arise when employees engage in social activities after hours, when they feel they can let loose or otherwise act in a way that is inconsistent with policies when they are at the workplace. While an employer can’t regulate what goes on in that setting – in fact, many states protect legal off-duty conduct – you can expect and require that there not be any residual effects that carry over into your business. For instance, if an employee made threatening comments about a certain religious group on their Facebook page, and these comments were seen by you or other co-workers who then felt uncomfortable in your workplace, you would need to address this behavior.

According to BizFilings, in order to determine whether there is any action that you can take regarding an employee’s lawful off-duty conduct, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a relationship between the off-duty conduct of the employee and the performance of the employee’s job?
  • Does the employee’s off-duty conduct put your business in an unfavorable light with the public?
  • Does the employee’s conduct have a potential for harming the business?

If you can demonstrate that the employee’s off-duty behavior adversely impacts the employee’s job performance or reflects negatively on the business, you may be able to take action. This may include disciplining the employee but not suspending or terminating them, suspending the employee without pay until an investigation is concluded (this may mean paying for a temporary worker during the investigation), or terminating the employee.

Keep in mind, although legally, you cannot control your employee’s behavior off the clock, you can ask for discretion in certain areas. Discuss the possibility of issues like this during the interview and early employment process, and lay out clear expectations. Advise your employee to limit who can see their social media activity and reiterate to them that their conduct, even when not on duty, is a reflection both on them and on the organization they work for. The best thing to do is express your concerns up front. This should help limit problematic behavior when your employee is off the clock.

Get help with HR issues like this when you need it, from wherever you are. Our HR services offer online access 24/7 to articles, policies, guides, and more. Request a quote today.

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Have you just started a business, or is yours growing? Maybe you don’t want to handle payroll in-house any longer? If you’re in the market for a payroll partner, our human capital management partner iSolved offers these things to consider when choosing a payroll service.

Bookkeeping can be one of the most tedious tasks of running a business. Outsourcing payroll will help to alleviate some of your burdens as a business owner and leave you with some more time to focus on other aspects of your business. Rhonda Abrams, president of the business service site The Planning Shop, says, “One of my rules is if you have one employee, get a payroll service. The penalties for screwing up are so much more expensive than the cost of payroll.”

Payroll processing includes making tax payments, wage adjustments, paying bonuses, salaries, and commissions, along with a number of potential deductions. Making mistakes with these numbers can be very costly in terms of both finances and time.

The IRS estimates that 40 percent of small businesses pay an average penalty of $845 for filing payroll taxes late or incorrectly. A good payroll service will take care of all of the tax regulations so that you do not have to worry about any dreaded penalties.

When your small business has a good payroll service, much of the bookkeeping responsibilities will be lifted. However, as much as a payroll service does take care of, your company is still responsible for sensitive information that is immensely important. For this reason, it is critical that you pick the right service for your business.

Below are four things to consider when searching for a payroll service provider.

1. Security

When working with sensitive information, security needs to be one of your main concerns. A good payroll service provider ought to have the ability to offer easy access to your payroll data without compromising essential security. Important payroll data ought to be available on secured servers and have a physical backup station in case of an emergency.

Be sure that the payroll service providers that you are considering guarantee the security of their services. You can be confident in a provider that grants limited authorization to employee data, protects network access points with redundant firewalls and enforces high-strength passwords.

SSAE 16 Type II Compliance

Look for payroll service providers that are compliant with the SSAE 16 attestation standard – like GTM. You can be confident that providers that have been issued an SSAE 16 Type II report have a professional standard, are secure and legitimate. This compliance means that the provider has undergone a rigorous auditing process and validates their payroll data protection as well as underscores their dedication to continuous security improvement.

2. Integration

Business owners also have to consider the managerial responsibilities associated with benefits administration and human resources. The responsibilities can pose a challenge for business owners when trying to integrate the business’ essential functions with payroll in order to avoid violating any legal regulations.

Look for a payroll service that will provide your business with expert advice and solutions, from hiring new employees to filing unemployment claims. Your employees are your business’ largest expense and biggest asset. Make sure that the providers that you are considering offer workforce solutions that help you manage your employees.

Workforce solution package

When looking at a payroll service provider’s workforce solution package, make sure it includes:

3. Payroll Taxes

Taxes are a reality of life. The payroll service provider that you choose ought to be able to process the typical state and federal level tax deductions and filings. Be sure to ask any providers that are based outside of your business’ state if they have the capability to handle the different regulations for taxes in your area. Also, be sure to mention to the provider if you have any employees that are working out of state.

Consider the payroll services’ tax processing management. Be sure that you will be able to view deductions in a customized report. Know what actions they take if mistakes are made. Knowing these small details will help you in deciding whether the provider you are looking at is capable of properly handling your taxes.

4. Service

Customer service is important to consider when looking for a payroll service provider. Little is more frustrating than dealing with poor customer service when you have questions or an issue that needs to be resolved. Find out what support is provided and what steps are taken in resolving issues and answering questions.

Ask whether your business will be matched with a specific payroll specialist that you will continually be working with or if you will be working with a different person each time. It is up to you which service type you would prefer, but by knowing the answer, you will be able to decide whether a provider is a good fit for your business or not. Keep in mind that if you will be working with a different specialist each time, you will always need to keep your account information available.

A good payroll service should provide:

  • Live, real-person support via email, phone, and chat
  • Detailed online FAQs
  • Detailed online tutorials
Other Considerations

Some other items you will want to consider when choosing a payroll service provider are:

Pricing

Be sure that you are aware of all the pricing details so that you aren’t surprised by hidden fees. Don’t be afraid of asking about discounts, some providers will offer preferred pricing for customers that ask.

Ratings

Check out any reviews on the providers that you are considering so that you can get an idea of other customers’ experiences.

Scalability

Choose a provider that will be able to effectively manage growth and expansion.

There are many different payroll service providers available. Be sure that you consider the before-mentioned considerations when looking for a provider. Knowing these details about a provider will help you make a wise, well-informed decision that can help ease the burden of your business.

GTM is an established leader in the payroll industry, with more than 300 combined years of experience. Our SSAE-16 compliant independent payroll service, combined with our industry-leading software provides you a secure and compliant payroll and tax solution. Request a free quote today.

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With medical and recreational marijuana use becoming legal in more states nationwide, you may be wondering what kind of drug-testing policy your business should have. The following guide to marijuana laws by state describes what obligations (if any) employers have regarding legal medical or recreational marijuana use.

Please note that this is a rapidly changing area of law, and one where answers to many questions will not exist until a court case has been tried on the precise issue. We will do our best to keep the information below current, but much of these laws is being made through the court systems, and not all court decisions are widely reported (or reported at all).

If you are planning to take a hard line with an employee, particularly one whom you believe to use marijuana for medical purposes, it’s best to consult with a human resources advisor or employment attorney who practices in your state.

A few things to keep in mind about all marijuana laws:

  1. No employer needs to tolerate an employee using marijuana on the job.
  2. No employer needs to tolerate an employee being high on the job (as might result from smoking before work or during breaks).
  3. Where the information below says that medical use must be “accommodated” it means an employer will have to ignore the fact that someone uses marijuana off-duty for medical purposes, could use marijuana off-duty for medical purposes, or has a positive drug test result for THC. It does not mean they have to accommodate on-duty use or allow an employee to be high on the job.
  4. Except for Maine, no state has to accommodate recreational use, even off-duty.

This list includes the types of marijuana use that are legal by state, and whether there are any explicit protections for employees related to use. For the purpose of this list, marijuana refers to a substance that includes THC and would result in a positive drug test.

Marijuana Laws by State
  • Alaska: Medical and recreational use. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Alabama: No legal use.
  • Arizona: Medical use only. Employers must accommodate medical use unless they would lose federal funding or licensure, or for safety-sensitive positions.
  • Arkansas: Medical use only. Employers must accommodate medical use.
  • California: Medical and recreational use. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Colorado: Medical and recreational use. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Connecticut: Medical use only. Employers must accommodate medical use unless testing is required by federal law or contract.
  • Delaware: Medical use only. Employers must accommodate medical use.
  • District of Columbia: Medical and recreational use.
  • Florida: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Georgia: No legal use.
  • Hawaii: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Idaho: No legal use
  • Illinois: Medical use only. Employers must accommodate medical use.
  • Indiana: No legal use.
  • Iowa: No legal use.
  • Kansas: No legal use.
  • Kentucky: No legal use.
  • Louisiana: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Maine: Medical and recreational. Employers must accommodate medical use. Additionally, Maine specifically protects recreational use, meaning an employer may not discriminate or take any adverse action against an applicant or employee because of marijuana use or a positive drug test.
  • Maryland: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Massachusetts: Medical and recreational. Employers must accommodate medical use unless they can show undue hardship.
  • Michigan: Medical and recreational.
  • Minnesota: Medical use only. Employers must accommodate medical use.
  • Mississippi: No legal use.
  • Missouri: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Montana: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Nebraska: No legal use.
  • Nevada: Medical and recreational. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • New Hampshire: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • New Jersey: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • New Mexico: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • New York: Medical use only. Employers must accommodate medical use unless they would lose a federal contract or funding, or it would cause an undue hardship.
  • North Carolina: No legal use.
  • North Dakota: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Ohio: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Oklahoma: Medical use only.
  • Oregon: Medical and recreational use. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Pennsylvania: Medical use only. Employers must accommodate medical use.
  • Rhode Island: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • South Carolina: No legal use.
  • South Dakota: No legal use.
  • Tennessee: No legal use.
  • Texas: No legal use.
  • Utah: Medical use only. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • Vermont: Medical and recreational.
  • Virginia: No legal use.
  • Washington: Medical and recreational. Employers have no obligation to accommodate medical use.
  • West Virginia: Medical use only. Employers may not discriminate based on the fact that someone has is a medical marijuana cardholder.
  • Wisconsin: No legal use.
  • Wyoming: No legal use.

Get all the compliance information you need, when you need it. Check out GTM’s HR services and then request a free quote.

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At one time or another, many companies struggle with employee satisfaction and retention. It is all too easy to focus on the goals of production and the needs of the client, leaving employees to feel undervalued and unmotivated. Without setting priorities to cultivate a healthy work environment for your staff, it is likely that your company will also face difficulty in retaining satisfied workers. But following some best practices for welcoming new employees can change that.

The positive environment you create for your employees should start on their very first day in your office, if not sooner. From the moment your offer for hire is accepted, your new employee should feel like a valued member of the team. In order to make each new hire feel welcome and comfortable in their new environment, it’s important to prepare a positive onboarding experience.

Before Their First Day

The interactions you have with your new employees prior to their first day in the office set the tone for the working relationship you will have. Set them up for success by providing them with the tools to assimilate into the company culture seamlessly. Doing so will prevent a disturbance in the flow of your office and will also give them an opportunity to thrive from day one. It’s in the best interest of the company to ensure that each new hire is fully prepared to jump right into the role for which they’ve been hired as quickly as possible. Some ways to prepare and welcome your new employee are:

Communicate the agenda

Many new hires arrive for their first day of work feeling a bit of uncertainty, especially if the hiring staff has not provided adequate information about what’s expected of them. Initiate an open line of communication with your new hires that provides important details and encouragement to ask questions.

Set up their workspace

Nothing feels worse for a new hire than showing up to the job on day one and not having anywhere to sit or work. Demonstrate the value you place in your employees by taking the time to set up a workspace for your new hire before they even start in the office. It will make them feel welcome on their first day, and will also encourage them to get settled and ready to work.

Give them a welcome gift

A little gift goes a long way. A small plant, a coffee mug with the company logo, a gift card, or a little basket of goodies with a card signed by the team will make any new hire feel at home in the office.

During Week One

The first week is usually the hardest for new hires. It’s an unfamiliar environment with lots of names to remember, protocols to learn and schedules to which they have to adjust. Make the first week easier for your new employees by doing the following:

Give the tour

Show your new hires the lay of the land by personally showing them around the office and introducing them to their new coworkers. Taking the time out of your schedule to do this first step yourself will go a long way to demonstrate how much you value each member of your team.

Plan an Orientation

There is a lot to learn in that first week, so don’t skip the orientation for new employees. Designate members of your current team to be part of the “welcome wagon” who can give the new employee the rundown on the company culture. It will give them a better understanding of what’s expected of them and their place within the company.

Set a managers’ meeting

If you are not going to be the person directly dealing with your new hire on a daily basis, set a meeting with the managers with whom they’ll be working most. It’s important for your new hire to establish relationships with team leaders so they feel comfortable to ask questions and resolve any potential conflicts.

The most important work in making your new employees feel welcome takes place in the first two weeks. Ensure that your new hire is ready to thrive in the company culture by planning ahead for training, job shadowing and, most importantly, feedback. Schedule a review of their first 90 days, but also allow them to offer feedback on the experience as well. Business relationships are a two-way street. In order to increase employee retention and satisfaction, you must be willing to give as much as you hope to receive.

The built-in onboarding feature of iSolved, GTM’s payroll and HR platform, makes it easier to start the process of bringing on new hires. All information is stored in a single system and is accessible from anywhere, eliminating the stack of paperwork that many new employees must fill out on their first day.

Request a free demo today and see how iSolved can work for you.

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An employee handbook is a powerful tool to communicate your organization’s policies and practices, as well as its values, culture, and vision. It can also form the first line of defense in an employment lawsuit or investigation. Even if you don’t need to update your employee handbook because of new laws or changes to company policy, it doesn’t hurt to review it occasionally for clarity and tone. Many employers are working off a template they found online, perhaps many, many years ago. These old templates are often packed with legalese and stuffy language and are due for a facelift.

While your employee handbook should receive a regularly-scheduled review to ensure compliance with state and federal law, there are some events that may require additional policies or updates to be added to your employee handbook sooner than your next scheduled update. Most notably, many state and federal employment laws only become applicable to an employer once it reaches a certain size, such as five, 15, 25 or 50 employees. If your organization is growing, be aware of any new obligations that may be on the horizon as your employee count increases. Hiring an employee who will work outside of the state where your headquarters are located should also trigger a handbook review.

Reasons to Immediately Review Your Handbook
  • Hiring employees from out of state
  • Significant changes to employee count, such as increasing to more than 15 or 50 employees or decreasing to below 15 or 50 employees
  • Changes in federal, state, or municipal laws, such as paid sick leave or sexual harassment prevention
  • Merger or acquisition of a new company
  • Adoption of a new internal policy, such as unlimited PTO or a Bereavement Leave
  • Changes in current policies, such as additional requirements for expense reimbursement or modifications of vacation accrual
  • Adjustments in benefit offerings, such as adding the addition of tuition reimbursement or the adoption of a telecommuting policy
  • Transitions in management that may affect the complaint procedure policy
  • Changes in benefits discussed in the handbook, such a medical, dental, or life insurance

If you’ve got the time and inclination (or someone on staff who does), you can really polish up your handbook and make it reflect who you are as an organization. But even if you’re relatively low on time, you can start updating policies to make your handbook sound more like it belongs in 2019. You can update your master copy of the handbook throughout the year as you have time and unveil all the freshened-up policies at once whenever you’re ready to release a new version to employees.

GTM works with you to create an employee handbook that is compliant with state and federal laws. Our depth of knowledge in workplace policies and best practices ensures that the employees’ and employers’ needs are taken into account and will give the employer peace of mind.

Are you doing payroll in-house or through an accountant? No problem! Our Employee Handbook service can be purchased separately from our payroll services.

Request more information to learn how GTM can help you build and customize a comprehensive employee handbook tailored to your organization.

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The prospect of corrective action or termination makes a lot of managers nervous. That’s understandable. For employees, being disciplined or losing their job can be anything from moderately embarrassing to financially devastating, but it’s rarely a happy occasion. For the employers, these actions always come with some risk, and there are plenty of legal danger zones an employer can end up in if corrective action isn’t done properly. Here are some tips on disciplining or terminating an employee to help you avoid these pitfalls and make corrective action productive for everyone:

  1. Everyone in the organization, but especially those responsible for disciplining or terminating employees, should understand exactly what the organization’s policies are. When policies aren’t clear or people don’t understand them, their enforcement can become inconsistent and subject to bias. In these circumstances, discipline and termination will appear unfair. Worse, they may open the organization up to costly discrimination claims.
  2. Managers should follow consistent disciplinary practices. Management meetings are a good time for the leadership team to make sure they’re using the same practices for discipline and termination. Inconsistencies in the organization, as noted above, can lead to allegations of discrimination.
  3. Investigate allegations before you act on them. Sometimes, in a rush to correct wrongdoing or poor performance, a manager will discipline an employee after hearing only one side of the story. For example, a restaurant customer complains about rude service, and the server is immediately terminated and given no chance to explain what happened from their point of view. Such adverse actions tell employees they can be penalized even if they do nothing wrong, causing them to feel resentment, fear, and distrust. And the manager can find themselves in an awkward termination meeting if the terminated employee can prove then and there that they didn’t do what they were accused of doing.
  4. Written warnings are best drafted by the manager and reviewed by HR. An employee’s manager often has firsthand knowledge of an infraction or unacceptable performance, so they’re in the best position to draft the written warning. HR can collaborate with the manager by reviewing the warning, ensuring that it is factual, unemotional, thorough, clear, tied to a company policy, and consistent with how others have been given written warnings previously.
  5. Corrective action is best done by the employee’s direct manager. When corrective action is delivered by the manager, it tells the employee that the manager is invested in the employee’s success and is willing to help the employee improve. Leaving corrective action to HR tells employees that they’re “someone else’s problem” and that their manager may not be fully vested in the company’s policies and practices. It also creates an unnecessarily adversarial relationship between employees and HR, which can undermine HR’s ability to make positive, company-wide changes.
  6. During a disciplinary meeting, a witness can help document what was said and done as well as provide logistical details. Not every disciplinary meeting needs a witness, though, especially if the issue is a minor one, or it’s a first conversation about performance issues. In these cases, whether to have a witness present can be left to each manager’s discretion. A witness is more useful for a meeting that is likely to escalate, either due to the nature of the issue or discipline, or the temper of the employee.
  7. Fairness and courtesy can go a long way, even when termination is necessary. No termination meeting will be pleasant, but they’re often more unpleasant than they need to be. Good practices here include being honest and clear about the reason for termination; not relying on being an “at will” employer to avoid telling the employee why they’re being let go (they’ll generally assume the worst), and holding the meeting privately and at the end of the day so that the employee can clean out their desk and exit the workplace without an audience. Whatever a manager can do to help the employee leave with their dignity intact will be helpful in preventing future issues with the now-former employee.
  8. Discipline and termination can be in the employee’s best interest—allowing bad behavior and poor performance to go on unaddressed does them no favors. If an employee isn’t doing a good job and is unable or unwilling to improve, they’re not helping the employer, their teammates, or themselves by staying in the organization. Chances are good that they’d be more successful and happier doing something else for someone else. And that’s okay!

Get access to articles, download a handbook, forms and job descriptions, and research laws as well as an extensive HR knowledgebase that has answers to your employment and relationship questions and much more. Learn about GTM’s HR services and then request a free quote.

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For the first time in recorded history, there is a workforce encompassing five distinctive generations. Each generation was raised under drastically different economic and political climates. Their attitudes toward their careers, interacting with colleagues and balancing their professional and personal lives reflect the unique attributes of workforce generational differences. The generations are defined as:

  • Traditionalists: born before 1945.
  • Baby Boomers: categorized by the surge of babies born post-World War II between the years of 1946 and 1964
  • Generation X: born between 1965 and 1980
  • Millenials: born between 1981 and 1995 are technically adept, highly sophisticated
  • Generation Z: born between 1996 and 2010 have been entering the workforce for the past few years

Traditionalists, as they live up to their name, are notorious for their loyalty and dedication to their employers. Many entered into the workplace and committed to a career path with one organization to whom they loyally committed. This generation entered the workforce well before technological advances became a prominent aspect of business. Therefore, most Traditionalists did not begin using computer equipment in their daily responsibilities until mid-career or later. Traditionalists embrace hard work and loyalty as the foundation of one’s ability to grow professionally within an organization. They also tend to credit the cultivation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships as having a vital influence on their career development.

Baby Boomers, categorized by the surge of babies born post-World War II between the years of 1946 and 1964 began entering the workforce as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Women from the Baby Boomer generation joined the workforce in unprecedented numbers. That, combined with the sheer size of this generation, meant that it dominated the overall workforce for many years.

Unlike their immediate predecessors, Baby Boomers are more apt to leave employment for the proverbial “greener pastures” of a new professional opportunity. Renowned for materialism, and nicknamed the “me” generation, has a penchant for accelerating career growth in the quest to earn as large of an income as possible in the shortest amount of time.  At times, this results in a personality clash with regard to the relationships and attitudes toward job loyalty between the Baby Boomers and the Traditionalists.
 
Generation X is notoriously smaller than its immediate predecessor is the first generation whose majority was raised in a two-income household. With the costs of personal computers becoming more affordable, personal computers became a staple in most households, and Generation X children were provided an advantageous opportunity in acquiring familiarity with technological equipment from a young age, and have experienced a shorter learning curve in working with computer technology.

Even more so than the Baby Boomers, Generation X tends to have an increasingly relaxed attitude toward changing jobs and careers.  The conflicts between this group and the Traditionalists, especially, arise from the differing values in communications styles. The younger generation typically chooses electronic communication versus the personal interaction favored by the Traditionalists. In addition, the employer loyalty espoused by the Traditionalist workers is practically nonexistent in the Generation X population.

Millenials includes those born between 1981 and 1995 and is both larger and more tech-savvy than Generation X. Computers and technology have been a component of their entire lives. These workers are technically adept, highly sophisticated and expect immediate feedback and responses.

Their focus on work-life balance, rather than reaping financial rewards, as well as their desire to receive constant feedback, creates challenges between the Millennials and the three older generations who were not as reliant on continuous communication between managers and their subordinates. Generation X workers, for example, generally embrace a “no news is good news” mantra with regard to communication between supervisors and their direct reports. Generation Y workers generally seek continuous feedback and rewards.

Generation Z (“Gen Z”), according to Visual Capitalist, tends to be more pragmatic, approaching both their education and career differently than Millennials. It appears that Gen Z is also approaching money in a unique way compared to past groups. Gen Z does not remember a time when the internet did not exist – and as such, it’s not surprising to learn that 50% of Gen Z spends 10 hours a day connected online, and 70% watches YouTube for two hours a day or more.

Gen Z prefers face-to-face interactions in the workplace and also expects to work harder than past groups. Gen Z is also the most diverse generation (49% non-white) and values racial equality as a top issue. Finally, Gen Z is possibly one of the most practical generations, valuing things like saving money and getting stable jobs.

Five generations in one workforce create a great challenge for management teams and HR professionals. By understanding the differences in the generational attitudes as well as establishing how they can collaborate and benefit from one another, an employer will be able to implement a strategy that focuses on each group’s strengths and achieve a competitive workplace advantage.

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Losing top talent is a major concern for employers, and one way to prevent turnover is to make sure your employees want to stay with your organization. Our HCM partner iSolved offers this advice on how to earn employee loyalty and retain your best workers.

Employee loyalty is a vitally important component to the long-term success of your company. Without it you are likely to see a costly increase in employee turnover rates, as well as a decrease in productivity and efficiency.

Your company culture is largely shaped by the way your employees feel about their jobs and their value within the company. If even one employee feels undervalued, that feeling has the potential to spread to others and dramatically impact the environment which, as a leader or manager, you are responsible for carefully nurturing.

Because loyalty isn’t a tangible thing that can be assessed with metrics, like most other areas of your company can, it may seem difficult to implement change that will result in greater employee loyalty. But the concept is simple: value the needs of your employees and they will value the needs of the company. Remember, employee loyalty is not a right guaranteed to all employers but rather, it’s a privilege that can and must be earned.

Set Your Priorities

One of your primary concerns as a company leader should be the culture that has been created and fostered within your office. Company culture impacts every moment of your employees’ work life. From the moment they clock in to the moment they step foot out of the office, they are influenced and impacted by the atmosphere that surrounds them, which means developing a positive company culture should be your top priority.

A positive work environment supports, motivates, inspires and uplifts its employees, leading them to do their very best work. Employees who feel satisfied in their work are more likely to go the extra mile for the company and are much less likely to consider looking for a job elsewhere.

If your company culture is struggling, there are several things you can try. Perhaps your employees are struggling with a rigid work schedule as they balance their home life with their work life. Try being more flexible and allow them to work from home occasionally when it’s appropriate or allow them to choose their own work hours. Make more time for celebrating achievements and recognizing hard workers. Use a platform that allows employees to ask for help and rewards those who are engaged and involved. Gratitude goes a long way and can really impact your company culture in a powerful way.

Share the Control

Managing a successful team isn’t about you. It’s not about what you need or what you want. It’s about recognizing and implementing strategies that will benefit the entire team and allow them to thrive. Who better to know what your employees need to thrive than your employees themselves?

Sometimes all your employees need is to feel that their opinion matters. If you value their thoughts and encourage their contributions, it will build their feelings of confidence and security in their positions. Beyond that, you may just find that being open to more suggestions allows your team to innovate in new ways and think more creatively which will always lead to positive outcomes.

At your next meeting, try presenting your team with an obstacle the team has faced previously or that it may face in the future. Open the floor for discussion and allow your employees to brainstorm solutions without your input. Invite them to be part of the discussions around company decisions where it’s appropriate and reward them for vocalizing their thoughts. Great communication that works both ways is a cornerstone to any company’s success.

Give Them What They Deserve

You are managing a team of talented, driven and valuable employees who you handpicked to join your company. One guaranteed way to lose that talent is to not pay them what they deserve. If you are not paying your employees adequately, they will look somewhere else for a better opportunity.

Instead of nickel and diming your employees, recognize their worth and consider all the things they bring to your company. They are contributing to your success and deserve to be paid well for their efforts.

Offer your employees a competitive wage when they sign on as new hires, but make sure that fair compensation doesn’t stop there. Establish protocol for wage increases after reviews and communicate that clearly with your employees so that they know there is room to grow. Give them something to work towards and let them know that you will always compensate them fairly for their hard work. You’ll reap the benefits of having a team of employees who are less stressed and more focused, knowing that they don’t have to worry about money.

These are just a few ways you can work towards earning loyalty from your employees. Ultimately, if you’re looking to create a loyal workforce, you need to think most about employee engagement. What gets your employees excited about coming to work every day? What makes them feel valued and respected? What makes them want to tell their friends about their awesome jobs? If you don’t know the answers to those questions, ask your employees. They want to work for a company they respect and do a job that they love and will be more than willing to contribute their thoughts to make your company a place that deserves loyalty.

iSolved allows you to deliver a better work life to your employees, effectively boosting the engagement. Built-in tools and features include a personalized dashboard, lively feed wall, idea and knowledge-sharing resources, pulse surveys, and ways to collaborate, share, and help one another. Request a free demo to see how GTM helps you improve your engagement rates and take advantage of these benefits.

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