News

Four Strategies you can Employ to Effectively Manage and Nurture your Newly Remote Employees

In response to the developing health situation, more companies around the country are switching to remote work. Productivity applications and software have facilitated the world of remote work and made it more accessible than ever. Because 70% of an individual’s engagement is stimulated by their manager, it’s critical that leaders get creative and exercise proper communication to their team in order to best support them. Here are four strategies you can employ to effectively manage and nurture your newly remote employees.

Communication is Key

As leaders, it’s our job to direct team members towards official company information and clearly communicate policy, contingency plans and advice in a compassionate and logical manner. While the first week or two of managing your team remotely may initially feel like a welcome change, a lack of in-person contact may cause some of your employees to feel lonely and isolated.

Your organization should be ready and equipped to maintain a consistent flow of communication during this time. You can also set some time aside to shoot a quick message to each of your team members to ask how they’re doing and if there is any area where they need your support. These touchpoints can be critical in keeping everyone connected and focused on the task at hand.

Focus on Prioritization 

Ideally, you’ll want to conduct a private video chat with each team member to discuss expectations and where they should train their focus. If that’s not possible, host a team meeting to outline top priorities and what projects may be left on the backburner for the time being. Keep in mind your team members may only have the mental stamina to juggle a few projects at a time. Consider directing your team to focus on two or three projects to keep the momentum going and reduce the likelihood of burnout.

Be the Voice of Reason 

As a leader, you also serve as the voice of reason for your team. Be prepared to show up each day from a place of empathy, respect, and understanding. Go the extra mile to emphasize verbal support and encouragement with your team, and if at all possible, let criticism take a backseat in this unique transitionary period. Understand that your employees will need time to adjust, but by being a source of stability, you’ll ultimately maximize cooperation and productivity.

Establish a Routine from the Get-Go 

During this period, your employees may struggle with the new balancing act of work and home life under the same roof. Help your team establish a routine early on by outlining clear working hours, maintaining contact with colleagues and setting attainable goals over a reasonable time frame. An established routine will also help to reduce anxiety over an unfamiliar situation and allow employees to feel a better sense of normalcy.

No one is safe from identity theft!

No one is safe from identity theft. While cyber crooks may gain access to personal information such as your checking, savings, and other digital assets, your retirement accounts are not a bastion of safety from theft either. In fact, a woman from Madison, Wisconsin recently discovered over $70,000 missing from her 401(k) savings account. 

 

Someone had stolen her identity and was able to pose as her, changing her mailing address, cashing in large portions of her mutual funds and having checks mailed to new locations. The kicker? Once she was able to reclaim her account and contact a representative from her mutual fund company, they would not guarantee they could recoup her losses.

 

While cyber fraud overall is on the downswing, cybercriminals today are working even harder to find any way into people’s financial transactions. They are now training their focus on outside financial institutions’ firewalls (i.e: email). When these thieves gain access to consumer bank and retirement accounts, the point of entry is usually the victim’s email account. 

 

Cybersecurity experts advise one of the best things people can do to protect their identity and financial assets online is make it very hard for hackers to take over their accounts. Here are some tips they recommend:

  • Make sure any computer or device used to access accounts is protected by a firewall and has the latest antivirus and antispyware software installed.
  • Be careful of any suspicious emails. Watch out for fishy attachments and avoid clicking on links in emails that ask for your financial information.
  • Open and carefully review any letters or paper statements from your mutual fund or money manager and notify them immediately if it appears unauthorized activity has taken place. Investment firms often also will send letters via USPS to inform clients if any changes have been made to details like a home address.

AssetHR has partnered with IDShield to offer the most knowledgeable identity protection in the industry. Our team of dedicated individuals will do whatever it takes to keep you and your employees safe 24/7, 365 days a year. Learn more here. 

iHire Drives Efficiency and Growth for Client

 

By choosing an HR solution better-suited for their needs, our client has been able to see meaningful, scalable growth in their company over the duration of our partnership.

The situation: The client had many complicated processes in place that required a lot of manual work, eating up more time and resources than necessary. Job applicants were tracked in a spreadsheet, Affordable Care Act reporting was completed by-hand, and data was constantly having to be pieced together from across a range of platforms and databases.

Our work: After bringing the client on board in 2006, we began working with their in-house HR manager to pull all data and processes into the AssetHR ecosystem. We’re able to quickly tailor a solution to any needs they have outside our out-of-the-box system, meaning the system we maintain for the client is constantly evolving and becoming better based on their unique needs.

We implemented iSolved, our human capital management solution, to easily oversee benefit tracking, administration tasks, and eligibility requirements. iHire was used to manage the applicant tracking, giving the client the ability to integrate this process into their existing website.

By running any ideas or issues by our team, the client was able to quickly and easily learn and adopt their new AssetHR system.

The results: In the time since the client began work with us, they’ve grown from 300 to 500 employees and drastically decreased the time and energy they’d been spending on maintaining their previous HR processes, from onboarding to maintaining legal compliance.

Because of AssetHR, our client has experienced incredible growth while keeping its systems scalable. They know our friendly, knowledgeable team is always there to answer questions, come up with solutions, and keep making HR a breeze.

Are you compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is enforced by the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor (DOL), establishes the federal minimum wage, overtime pay rules, and recordkeeping requirements, and provides guidelines for child labor.  The FLSA applies to virtually every employee in the United States.

In terms of overtime rules, the FLSA requires that overtime must be paid to every employee in a job that does not qualify for an exemption under one of the permitted categories: Executive, Administrative, Professional, Computer Professional, Highly Compensated.  In addition to the salary test (must be paid a minimum of $455 per week*(see below note)), each of these categories has a specific duties test that must be met in order for a job to be considered as exempt under the law.  If the duties test is not met, under the FLSA, employees in the job must be paid overtime at one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek.  Failure to pay overtime as required by the FLSA can result in significant penalties for the company.

As of  01/23/2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) increased penalties for violating federal minimum wage, overtime, and posting and safety requirements. The increased monetary fines apply to penalties assessed under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

According to the DOL, employers that repeatedly or willfully violate federal minimum wage or overtime requirements will receive a maximum monetary penalty of $2,014 per occurrence. That’s up from $1,964.

In addition to assessing penalties, the FLSA allows the DOL or an employee to recover back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages where minimum wage and overtime violations exist. Generally, a 2-year statute of limitations applies to the recovery of back wages and liquidated damages. A 3-year statute of limitations applies in cases involving willful violations.  Remedies may be recovered through administrative procedures, litigation, and/or criminal prosecution.

Based on this information, it is apparent that the cost for non-compliance can be extremely high.  And the potential costs outlined above don’t take into consideration the time lost from the business to provide all the relevant information retroactive to 2 or 3 years, the time to participate in litigation activities, or the cost of the litigation itself.  Taking the appropriate steps to ensure compliance would seem to be a prudent business decision.

*Note – the current salary test threshold is currently $455 per week.  There is a proposed rule that this amount be increased to $679 per week and the DOL extended the commentary period to June.  The DOL will be making its final ruling which is widely expected to become effective January 1, 2020.  Many employers are already starting to review their current structure for compliance with the new salary level.

Ensuring compliance within your organization should be a high priority piece of your HR strategy this year. High-level steps to becoming compliant would include:

    • Data review
    • Job description review, update, or creation
    • FLSA analysis and determination of exempt/non-exempt status of each job role
    • Discussion with senior management to gain consensus and agree on implementation date
    • Prepare employee communications as needed
    • Meet with affected employees
    • Prepare notification of status and rate changes for payroll provider
    • Answer employee questions during and after implementation

If you’re unsure about how to audit these aspects of your business, or want an expert to conduct the review process, we can help. Reach out today to learn more.

Transform Your Team: Lead a Team of All-In, Engaged People

As a business owner, one of your long-term goals is likely to create a sellable enterprise that works without you running it. Getting to that point can be a challenge, and many companies don’t make it that far. But as Adam Wallschlager of ActionCoachMN shared at a recent Breakfast Club, it’s all about the team of people who work for you – the people who can drive your business forward.

Here’s the problem: most of your employees don’t understand the vision of your organization or their role in helping your company achieve its goals. In fact, only 37% of American workers actually know the goals of the organization they work for, and only 20% understand how their role contributes to achieving these goals. Even more alarming, only 15% of workers believe that their company supports their role in achieving the company’s goals.

Relating this to football, this would mean that with 11 players on a team, only 4 players on the field even know where the end-zone is, only 2 people understand if they are on offense or defense, and only 1 person actually believes that the ownership cares about winning. That’s a big problem!

To combat the common team issues that lead to a less than committed team, you need to develop a company culture that’s focused on strong leadership, drives towards a common goal, clearly lays out the rules of the game, gives your team an action plan, supports risk-taking and requires 100% of your team to be involved in the process.

Start with strong leadership. Your leadership team should intentionally show they’re passionate about what they do, and visibly take responsibility for their actions (or inaction). Leadership starts at the top, and your employees will mimic the behaviors they see from their superiors. If the leadership team is consistently excited about the work they’re doing and the results they’re creating, while also holding themselves accountable to their role in the company vision, the rest of the team will too.

Drive towards a common goal by sharing your company vision, and helping your employees understand what that means for them. Show them how their role contributes to the overall success of the business, and you’ll inspire them to do great work.

Be clear about your game rules. This gives your staff a playbook to understand what’s expected of them, and what will happen if they don’t meet expectations. Be clear about who does what by when for best results.

Support risk taking by giving your team the right resources to go outside their comfort zone. Encourage them to share their ideas, and try new things. Help them feel comfortable that if their idea doesn’t work, they won’t be reprimanded for it – you’ll be happy that they tried something new.

Being intentional about how you lead – and the culture of your company – is the key to creating success. When your company culture is focused on creating success in a positive way, and your entire team is working towards the company vision, you create an environment where the business can function whether you’re there or not.

For more information on overcoming team dysfunction, reach out to the ActionCOACH team here: https://businesscoachmn.com/contact-us/