Press

First impressions are crucial – especially the first impression a new hire gets of your company.  Studies show that a negative perception of your company during the first 60-90 days of employment can lead new personnel to look for a new job within the year.  Here’s how to put your best foot forward: 

  • Start before the new person does.  Stay in touch after he or she has accepted the position to answer questions or help in other ways.  And make sure that the new person’s work space is ready for the first day of work.
  • Designate a mentor or partner to show the new person around, make introductions, and begin training. 
  • Begin with the basics.  People become productive sooner if they are firmly grounded in the basic knowledge they need to understand their job.  Focus on the why, when, where, and how of the position before expecting them to handle assignments.  Don’t drown them with too much information. 
  • Give the new person some responsibility for his or her own orientation.  Offer opportunities for self-directed learning, under appropriate supervision. 
  • Keep the new person’s family in mind.  A new job means adjustments for the whole family, especially if they’ve relocated.  Do what you can to ease the transition and help them feel comfortable in the community.

 If you have questions concerning this, or any other Human Resource issues, contact Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc.

Verbal Warnings       

  • May prompt employees to modify or stop conduct that violates rules or policies.  
  • Sufficient for minor or isolated violations of rules.

 Written Warnings         

  • Can serve to remind employees of the consequences of continuing to violate your company’s rules or standards of conduct.
  • Progressive warnings may ultimately place an employee on notice that further infractions may result in suspension or dismissal. 
  • Using warnings reasonably and consistently is essential to providing the paper trail or documentation necessary for defending your company’s interest against unwarranted claims and frivolous litigation.

 CONSULTATION

  • Prestige can provide advice on composing appropriate written warnings.
  • Prestige can help you understand how a possible dismissal might be viewed under unemployment law.

 

If you have questions concerning these unemployment issues, contact Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc.

Firings may cause employees to cry, become defensive or even turn violent.  Others may even distort what happens during your firing meeting to justify a lawsuit against you.  To protect yourself legally, have someone else with you during the firing so no one can question what you say.  Write a memo after the meeting summarizing what happened and have the witness sign it.  Here are five other ways to defuse fired employees’ justification for a lawsuit down the line: 

1.  KEEP YOUR COOL. 

Avoid heightening an already-emotional situation.  Don’t spring the news suddenly or berate the employee in front of others.

2.  AVOID SURPRISES. 

Employees should never be completely surprised by a termination.  Give them regular feedback on performance and suggest ways for them to improve.  At the very least, poor performance reviews prove to a court that you had valid reasons for firing someone.

3.  WATCH WHAT YOU SAY. 

On the day you fire someone, he or she will remember whatever you say in the worst possible light.  While you should always avoid making discriminatory statements, be especially cautious during a termination meeting.

4.  DON’T BE TOO KIND. 

You may feel compassion for the person you must fire, but don’t express your feelings in the wrong way.  If the employee’s performance is substandard, don’t offer compliments on any aspect oh his performance.  Doing so might make you feel better, but it will only give the employee cause to question and challenge your reasons for terminating him.  And your off-handed compliments could turn up against you in a wrongful termination suit.

5. KEEP QUIET. 

Don’t discuss your reasons for the termination with other employees.  It’s enough to say, “Jamie will not be working with us anymore.”  Some managers have spoken too freely about the reasons for a departed employee’s termination, only to find themselves in court defending a defamation-of-character suit.

 

If you have questions concerning this, or any other Human Resource issues, contact Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc.

“Think before you speak” is always a good policy — and at work it’s even more important. Saying the wrong thing to your boss can do serious damage to your career — and some of the things bosses don’t like to hear may surprise you. We checked in with some managers and came up with this list of nine phrases they strongly dislike — and we’ll tell you what you should say instead: 

1. “I need a raise.”

Never enter salary negotiations talking about what you need — because of rising costs or a new expense, for instance. Your employer doesn’t care about your financial problems. However, management probably does want to reward success and keep high-performing employees satisfied. A raise request should always be supported by evidence of what you’ve achieved for the company — along with information about what people with your responsibilities typically earn.

2. “That just isn’t possible.”

Always speak to your boss in terms of what can be done. For instance, rather than saying “We can’t get this done by Friday,” say “We could definitely get this done by Monday, or if we brought in some freelance help, we could meet the Friday deadline.” When you talk to your boss, think in terms of solving problems for her, not in terms of putting problems on her plate.

3. “I can’t stand working with ____.”

Complaining about a coworker’s personality usually reflects more poorly on you than on the coworker. Don’t make these kinds of conflicts your boss’s problem. Of course, management is interested in problems that jeopardize the company’s ability to function. If you have to speak to HR about a problem such as a colleague’s threatening, illegal or unethical behavior, keep your tone professional and the focus on work — not personal issues.

4. “I partied too hard last night — I’m so hung over!”

Buck up and get through the day with some ibuprofen, extra undereye concealer and coffee. But don’t share the sordid details of your night on the town with your boss. Even if you have a friendly relationship, he’s just as likely to react with (unspoken) disdain as sympathy. Maintaining a solid veneer of professionalism will pay off when it’s time to discuss promotions.

5. “But I emailed you about that last week.”

Alerting your boss to a problem via email doesn’t absolve you of all responsibility for it. Bosses hate the “out of my outbox, out of my mind” attitude. Keep tabs on all critical issues you know about — and keep checking in until you hear a firm “You don’t need to worry about that anymore.”

6. “It’s not my fault.”

Are you a whiny 8-year-old or a take-charge professional?  Assume responsibility and take steps to fix a problem that you did, in fact, create. And if you are being wrongly blamed for a problem, saying “Let’s get to the bottom of this” or “What can we do to make it right?” is much more effective than saying “It’s not my fault.”

7. “I don’t know.”

If your boss asks you a question you can’t answer, the correct response is not “I don’t know.” It’s “I’ll find out right away.”

8. “But we’ve always done it this way.”

You may find yourself with a new boss who wants to try new things — and the best way to present yourself as a workplace relic is to meet change with a “we do it this way because this is the way we do it” attitude. When a brainstorming session takes place, be part of it and stay open to new ideas. If you have concerns about a new idea’s feasibility, say “I think for this to work, we will have to…” Don’t kill new ideas with negativity.

9. “Let me set you up with…”

Avoid the urge to play matchmaker for your single boss. The potential risk far outweighs any potential benefit. In modern workplaces, hierarchical structures are often less rigid, and bosses will often end up in semisocial situations with their direct reports. Smart workers will draw the line at “oversharing” — definitely something to keep in mind if you’re connecting to your company’s managers on social networks like Facebook.

The aboveareer advice from Monster.com was posted online (http://career-services.monster.com/yahooarticle/things-not-to-say-to-your-boss#WT.mc_n=yta_fpt_article_9_things_not_to_say_to_boss) on March 28, 2012

The following blog appeared in the March 12 , 2012 edition of The NY Report (http://www.nyreport.com/articles/82785/the_ins_and_outs_of_mandatory_automatic_enrollment_in_health_plans)…

Since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), U.S. employers—specifically companies with 200 or more full-time employees covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)—have felt its effects, with an average of two percent increase in enrollment.

One of the more significant issues at hand is that employers sponsoring one or more health plans and employing 200 or more full-time employees (defined as employees working, on average, 30 hours per week) are required to establish an automatic enrollment program for their group health plans. This automatic enrollment program is to be used to enroll new full-time employees and re-enroll current employees.

Of all the employer-related reform provisions included in the PPACA, auto-enrollment seems to be causing the most headaches. Implementation creates novel administrative challenges for employers. To start with, there is a disclosure notice requirement to be distributed to all employees at the time of hiring (or no later than March 1, 2013 for current employees), informing them of their automatic enrollment in the plan and their ability to opt out of any coverage in which the individual or employee was automatically enrolled.

Further, the notice should include, but is not limited to, information on who is covered, how it works, the consequences of not making an affirmative election, and any rights employees have to make changes once they have been automatically enrolled in a plan. The Department of Labor (DOL) is still expected to issue detailed guidance on these and other requirements.

The law does not yet contain an express effective date; we must wait until the DOL issues implementing regulations, which the DOL intends to complete by 2014.  Fortunately, automatic enrollment does not apply to all grandfathered health plans. 

With this being said, one key consequence of the automatic enrollment mandate for new full-time employees who do not affirmatively opt-out of coverage will likely lead to some employees being enrolled even though they do not want or need the coverage. However, it appears from the mandate that these employees will have the right to opt-out retroactively, although it is not clear whether employees will be permitted to drop coverage altogether, or switch from the employer’s default coverage to other plan options.

Employers are already considering how to manage the cost of the auto-enrollment requirement. Those that currently offer only one medical plan may simply use their current plan as the default plan for auto-enrolling new full-time employees. However, others may add a new, lower-cost plan to use as the default plan, while others may consider changing to a new, lower-cost plan for all employees.

With the amount of vagueness around the essential details of the automatic enrollment mandate, we advise employers to wait until the DOL issues more guidance before implementing a new automatic enrollment program or modifying an existing one.

Employers often have legitimate reasons for punishing workers for illegal off-duty behavior, especially if it’s related to their jobs, such as theft conviction.  But disciplining staff for participating in lawful conduct outside work is a slippery slope.

Here’s the litmus test: If an employee’s off-duty activity puts your company in legal or financial jeopardy, courts will be more willing to let you regulate it.

While federal law is silent on the issue, states aren’t.  So far, 28 states and theDistrict of Columbiaprohibit employers from discriminating against workers because they smoke or participate in other “lawful activities.”

4 ways to stay out of trouble

1.  Focus on the off-duty behavior’s effects on job performance, rather than the circumstances of the conduct itself.  Be able to point to a legitimate business reason for disciplining the employee.

2.  Avoid blanket restrictions against socializing with competitors.  Such overly broad rules infringe on privacy.  Instead, protect company secrets by having employees sign nondisclosure agreements.

3.  Check your state’s rules and seek legal advice before firing or disciplining an employee for off-duty activity.

4.  Apply an even hand.  Don’t suspend one employee for off-work behavior and then ignore another similar circumstance.

 

If you have questions concerning this, or any other Human Resource issues, contact Prestige Employee Administrators, Inc.

The second part of the Wage Theft Prevention Act mandate came due on February 1st, requiring allNew York Stateemployers to prepare an annual wage notice for every one of their employees.  Not a simple task, costing employers time and money. 

Fortunately, the state Senate may be coming to their senses, and are getting ready to vote to repeal this Act.  Prestige is urging you to reach out to your Assembly members, state Senators and the Governor to repeal this unnecessary annual pay notice requirement by clicking the link below to log in and send your message:
http://www.votervoice.net/link/target/bcnys/rcy8JRN9.aspx

 

Another Monday.  There never seems to be enough time in the day to get things done.  Experts say that you need only 30 minutes to plan your entire week.  How to do it?  Follow the OATS formula:

O:  Objectives.

What results do you want to see by the end of the week?  Write them down and rank them.

A:  Activities.

What do you have to do to achieve your goals?  List the necessary activities, and put them in sequence.

T:  Time.       

How much time will each activity require?  To plan realistically, allow yourself more time than you think you will actually need.  This gives you flexibility if unexpected problems develop.

S:  Schedule.

Look at your calendar and decide when you can do each activity.  Most people underestimate the power of a schedule, but you won’t get anything accomplished if you don’t schedule time to do it.

And, here’s a bonus suggestion:

Time-management experts recommend setting aside an hour a day to make and return your phone calls.  But which hour?  The best times of the day are the first two hours of the morning and the last two hours of the afternoon.  That’s when most people are in the office and accessible by phone.

The following article appeared on www.incbeat.com (February 9, 2012)

In this down economy, outsourcing non-core business functions is an effective way to manage costs. With that in mind, if you own a small-to-medium sized business, it may be to your benefit to utilize the services of a professional employer organization, or PEO.  By outsourcing your human resources, you can eliminate much of the overhead associated with hiring, providing benefits, and ensuring compliance.

Co-Employment Defined

Typically, when a business contracts the services of a PEO, employees are hired under a co-employment agreement.  With this arrangement, the PEO acts as the administrative employer and the business acts as the work site employer.  In other words, the PEO becomes the employer of record for tax and insurance purposes.  They are also the company responsible for paying wages, providing insurance, handling paperwork, and ensuring proper procedures are followed.  The business is responsible for keeping track of hours worked and controlling the daily activities of employees.

This helps medium-to-small sized business because they can reduce time spent on administrative tasks and take advantage of economies of scale that would not otherwise be open to them.

What Are the Benefits?

There are a number of reasons that businesses might want to outsource their HR functions. With a PEO partner, businesses can focus on revenue-generating tasks rather than spending time and money building a human resource management department.  If needed, a PEO company can even take care of hiring and training new employees, which can eliminate the need for running ads and conducting initial interviews.

Since a PEO’s main focus is providing quality HR services to a variety of clients, often the HR services that are offered are more comprehensive than those that could be offered by the company itself. The PEO can often offer a better benefits package than the business itself, which benefits the employee and makes the business a more attractive place to work for top talent.

Is a PEO Right for Your Business?

A PEO offers a number of substantial advantages to smaller businesses that can help them stay competitive with larger corporations.  Many find that partnering in this way helps them stay focused on core competencies, and thus increase profits while lowering expenses.  A PEO can also help ensure legal compliance and improved risk management.

This type of co-employment relationship can help your business get ahead of the competition by providing a number of benefits for your company and your employees. Whether a PEO is a good decision for your business is something that you should consider.

Even in this day of penny-pinching, few CEOs understand how much money their companies lose by failing to retain key employees.  Examples: Replacing an HR Manager in the automotive industry can cost $133,803.  A machine-works company that loses a skilled, salaried machinist can lose $102,796 from its bottom line.  And the loss of a store manager costs a fast-food chain $21,931.

 Now, here’s your chance to calculate the cost of losing one of your company’s stars.  Select a job function with a lot of turnover.  Calculate the full cost of that function by entering the average wage for that position on Line 1 and then multiplying it by 130 percent to include benefits costs.

 Next, multiply the total wage by 25 percent.  This cost per employee may then be multiplied by the number of ex-employees on Line 6 to arrive at the total cost of turnover in this position.

 HERE ARE THE STEPS: 

  1. Annual wage

 

 $

  1. Gross-up for benefits

X 1.30

 

  1. Total wage

 

 $

  1. Turnover cost

X .25

 

  1. Cost per employee

 

 $

  1. Ex-employees

X

 

  1. Total turnover cost

 

 $

 HERE’S AN EXAMPLE: 

  1. Store manager salary

 

$    67,480

  1. Gross-up for benefits

X 1.30

 

  1. Total wage

 

$    87,724

  1. Turnover cost

X .25

 

  1. Cost per employee

 

$    21,931

  1. Ex-employees

X

          10

  1. Total turnover cost

 

$   219,310