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March 2020: Mandatory Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Poster

Effective April 1, 2020, the FFCRA will go into effect. 

Under federal law, all employees must receive a copy of the new Department of Labor (DOL) poster to meet the posting requirements for this law. Given these unusual circumstances, the DOL is allowing employers to send this notice electronically, direct mailing a hard copy, or posting on an employee information internal or external website.

The poster can be found here.

Please ensure this is shared with all of your staff to ensure compliance.

Please check our COVID-19 Resources page for updates.

If you have any question, please reach out to your HR or Client Relations representative.

March 2020: DHS Allows Limited Remote Verification of I-9 During COVID-19 Crisis

What happened?
On March 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.

What are the details?
This announcement focuses on how employers with remote employees may obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents their employees provide to complete Section 2 of Form I-9. This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If you can verify the I-9 documents in person, you are still required to do so.

What do employers need to do?
Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.

Employers must review the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2.

When normal operations resume, the employer must conduct a physical review of the original documents the employee remotely provided for Section 2. Under the “additional information field” the employer must list the phrase “COVID-19, documents physically examined on” with the date of the physical examination listed. If the documentation presented remotely has expired, a reverification and completion of Section 3 is required.
These provisions may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from the date of this notice (March 21, 2020) OR within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.

News Release

2020 HR Trends: Helpful Tools

The human resource industry is constantly changing and has since its early inception. Professional employer organizations (PEOs) serve many HR functions for businesses of all sizes. With technology and other trends having a dramatic impact on the shift in the HR industry, it is important for human resource providers to maintain diligence in adapting to such changes.

Some HR trends on the rise include working remote, employee wellness, continued learning and development, and innovating the recruitment and hiring processes. While some of these trends are still being developed and refined, human resource agencies and individuals are acknowledging and remaining proactive in educating and acquiring the proper tools for success.

Working Remote

  • Cloud-based HR: Like with most technology, there are many cloud-based solutions for HR purposes that can assist remote workers communicate and share documents with ease.
  • Project Management and Communications: Aside from phones, email, and instant messaging, there are project management tools available to simply organization of multiple projects for a given department or even an entire company. Trello and Slack are popular project management platforms. As for communications, tools like Microsoft Teams provide multiple options of communication, such as video conferencing, web calling, and web chat or instant message features.
  • Virtual Co-working Spaces: Virtual co-working spaces are virtual rooms where teams can communicate with each other via videoconferencing. This allows employees to conduct meetings with entire teams in various locations.

Employee Wellness

  • Tele or Web-based Health Services: Tele or web-based services provide virtual accessibility to healthcare service providers which could reduce costs and time spent out of the office (and in doctors’ offices).
  • Incentivized Healthcare: Providing incentives for employees to practice self-care and the resources to do so can improve overall employee wellness. Some unique incentives might be sponsored wellness activities, discounts or prepaid gym memberships, leasing commercial space with built-in gyms and healthy eating options, or a central location within walking or biking distance for a majority of employees. The most significant way to incentivize healthcare is to offer irresistible, competitive employee benefit packages.
  • Work from Home: Working remotely helps with mental health stability, as well as work productivity, both of which are mutually beneficial for employer and employees.

Continued Learning and Development

  • Performance Management: Continued learning and development is one of the top requested and necessary employee benefits. Performance management is a great tool to determine areas that are working, both on an individual and company scale. Performance management tools typically track and report progress toward goals through learning, performance, and business data lending solutions based on accurate data and analyses. Incorporating relevant courses, seminars, and conferences have long been utilized in training programs, but expanding training to include on-the-job training, mentoring, and other digital learning opportunities can strengthen company culture and employee knowledge.
  • “Brandividuals”: Essentially “brandividiuals” is leveraging employees’ social media presence to market a company’s brand. These individuals serve as brand ambassadors and absolve most of the work in developing a vast and dynamic audience reach. Incorporating such an emphasis on implementing the perspective of individuals carrying or building the company’s brand also ensures that employees understand the brand, which also helps in selling the brand.
  • Use of Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence is utilized in the workplace through two different approaches. One way is to design and facilitate interactive learning that supports education through hands-on activities. The other way is to design and implement educational systems through instructions that adapt with an individual’s education progress.

Recruiting and Hiring Process

  • Chatbots: Chatbots provide augmented analytics, automation, manages communications, scheduling, and customizes algorithms for screening questions allowing efficient and effective onboarding processes.
  • Communication Apps: PathMotion and Honeypot are great HR platforms that help connect employers and current employees with prospective employees. MindMatch and HRForecast allow recruiters and HR professionals to narrow their candidate pool through matched profiles that align with their budget, job requirements, and other factors that may be considered. All four apps are available on the web and mobile-friendly.
  • Gamification: Gamification provides a fun way to measure personality and skills, which in turn helps with reskilling jobs, provides jobs analyses, and creates new workflow solutions. For example, the Myers-Briggs personality test is used as a general overview of a person’s personality traits employer’s like to use for reference in determining a cultural fit.

PEOs are a great avenue for efficient and effective HR solutions. VensureHR, a leader in HR, provides competitive and innovative solutions, including development and compliance training, performance evaluation and process improvement, and hiring practices. From safety and health programs to DISC training, VensureHR values its role as your partner in HR services. Contact VensureHR today to learn more about our pioneering efforts to help you remain an HR leader.

March 2020: Federal Legal Update Regarding COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and national response has been evolving over the past couple of weeks. Each day holds new information and important updates. We want to remind you that we are keeping your health and wellbeing at the forefront of our efforts to inform you of relevant COVID-19 updates that may affect you, your clients, employees, and overall business operations.

Like most other businesses, we are taking a highly proactive approach to address this crisis while providing you with the resources, relevant updates, and following the processes recommended by public health and government agencies.

Many available resources provided by local, state, federal government and public health agencies can be accessed through our dedicated COVID-19 Resource pagePlease bookmark this page as we will be closely monitoring and posting public health and government agency COVID-19 updates, such as the recent Families First Coronavirus Act (H.R. 6201) .

What is H.R. 6201?
House Bill H.R. 6201 is the Congressional response to the coronavirus (i.e., SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19) outbreak. The U.S. Legislature has passed the Act, which provides for a limited period of paid sick leave and expands the Family and Medical Leave Act to provide an extended period of unpaid or partially paid leave for a public health emergency (“E-FMLA”).

In addition, we have also provided employer resources, such as Frequently Asked Questions regarding employment laws to quickly address any issues you may have experienced already amid the COVID-19 crisis. Work from Home and Workplace Compliance guides for employers to utilize.

We plan on providing extended support to our clients and together, we will endure the longevity of the evolving situation.

We are committed to open communication with our clients, employees, and partners and ask that we continue to support each other in these challenging times.

February 2020 Missouri HR Legal Updates

“Ban the Box” Ordinance

What happened?
The City of St. Louis passed “ban the box” legislation prohibiting employers in the City of St. Louis, Missouri from basing job hiring or promotion decisions on applicants’ criminal histories.

What are the details?
The Ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2021, for employers with at least 10 employees unless the employer can demonstrate its decision is based on all available information, including consideration of the frequency, recentness, and severity of the criminal history, and that the history is reasonably related to or bear on the duties and responsibilities of the position.

Further, the Ordinance prohibits an employer from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until after it has been determined an applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

The Ordinance also prohibits employers from publishing job advertisements excluding applicants based on criminal history, as well as barring employers from including statements excluding applications based on criminal history in job application forms and other employer-generated forms used in the hiring process. Employers also are banned from seeking to obtain publicly available information concerning job applicants’ criminal history.

What do employers need to do?
City of St. Louis employers covered by the Ordinance should consider taking these steps to ensure they follow the Ordinance’s requirements:

  • Review employment applications to ensure they do not include any prohibited inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history.
  • Review their advertisements (paper and electronic) soliciting applications and remove any language that states applicants will not be considered for employment because of their criminal history.
  • Educate key employees in the hiring process about the Ordinance’s requirements.
  • Update forms and practices for inquiring into an applicant’s criminal record, after the initial employment application process is completed.

Violations of the Ordinance may expose employers to significant penalties. For the first violation, an employer will receive a warning issued by the Office of the License Collector, or an order requiring that it come into compliance within 30 days. For the second violation, an employer will receive an order issued by the Office of the License Collector requiring that it come into compliance within 30 days and a civil penalty as determined by the License Collector. After three violations, the Office of the License Collector may revoke an employer’s business operating license.



Creative Ways to Incorporate Employee Appreciation into Corporate Culture

Attractive mature Asian woman expressing appreciation publicly to a co-worker in front of his peers and colleagues

Building a corporate culture that boosts employee morale, employee appreciation, and employee satisfaction can assist in improving employee retention. Whether you incorporate an Employee Appreciation Day or find unique ways to integrate employee moral boosters and improve office culture.  Here are some creative ways to incorporate employee appreciation into corporate culture.

Recognize your employees’ efforts. Whether it’s a shoutout to a particular employee or an entire team, recognizing a job well done is always appreciated by employees. If you have a weekly meeting, make a point to recognize an employee each meeting. It’s also just as important to open the floor to employees to acknowledge their colleagues’ achievements. This helps build peer-to-peer appreciation, respect, and collaboration.

Acknowledging milestones. From birthdays and work anniversaries to meeting company goals and non-work-related achievements should be acknowledged. It shows an appreciation for the employees’ hard work and support for their outside efforts. You have a great group of employees, so take the opportunity to brag a little on a public platform like the company website and social media outlets to showcase their achievements.

Encouraging feedback. No company or business model is perfect. One important detail business owners and supervising managers forget is that it is okay to ask what employees would like. If employees are hesitant to provide feedback, perhaps incorporating an anonymous suggestion box would be the best approach. This way, you can utilize the feedback you are receiving and make strides to improve the workplace without compromising your employees’ trust and respect. Another great approach may be to let an employee or even a team be the leader for the day. This can help your employees gain insight into the day-to-day operations they may not be aware of. It could also open the door for a solution to a problem you face in your workflow processes.

Offer rewards. There are two ways for which you can offer rewards: individual interest and career-related rewards. Individual interest rewards might focus on a new company shirt, a contribution to a hobby activity, a paid lunch, or offering additional time off. There are plenty of ways to get creative with rewarding your employees and you know them best, so when it comes to personalizing the reward, think outside the box. Career-related rewards might be geared towards elevating career paths, such as paying or financially assisting with continuing education courses or certificates, investing in parking garage or commute-related fees, contributing to organizations that your employees volunteer at, or creating a mentorship program to assist employees in advancing their careers.

Small businesses with high turnover might want to try some of these tips to implement creative employee morale boosters and improve employee retention. Businesses of all sizes deal with employee-related issues, which is why it is imperative you have a skilled human resources team in your corner. VensureHR provides full-service HR solutions for businesses of all sizes. From payroll and tax to employee benefits and recruiting, VensureHR is equipped, staffed with experts, and ready to assist you with all your PEO needs. Contact us today for your customized human resources solution.




Sources: Employee Appreciation Tips; Employee Appreciation Ideas

Workplace Politics: Authentic Leadership and Building a Positive Work Environment

Professionals Expressing Positive Energy

Unregulated office politics can lead to a hostile work environment. Whether it is a personal stressor, conflict of personalities, or an ineffective workflow process, creating a positive work environment is essential to an alluring corporate culture. Mitigating risks, such as office politics, comes from within the development of corporate culture. Implementing authentic leadership skills and practices, teaching and cultivating empathy in the workplace, and learning proper workplace conflict resolution strategies can assist with fostering a better office culture.

Authentic Leadership Tips. Some of the greatest leaders aren’t always what they’ve built themselves up to be. Take the initiative to re-integrate authenticity into your leadership style. Here are five tips that can assist you in becoming an authentic leader.

  1. Everybody is busy; stop using it as an excuse. The ability to stay calm in a stressful situation or unexpected disruptions to your workflow garners more respect from employees, as they are able to witness your poise and may find you more approachable despite the chaos.
  2. Avoid inauthentic communications (i.e., the cliché “on behalf of” communications). If possible, always try to create authentic messages to be distributed. Oftentimes, inauthenticity is immediately recognized and unappreciated. Utilize simple, concise language, and if appropriate, a little “personality.” Send a message you would want to read.
  3. Learn to be the same person in different rooms. There’s a theory that inauthentic individuals are different people in different rooms. For example, a businessperson conducting a presentation is likely smiling, engaging, and has an interactive presentation prepared. However, that same businessperson might be on a phone call in the hallway and speaking rudely to the person with whom they’re communicating with on the phone. Be the same person in different rooms. Be the smiling, engaging, and interactive person you are in the conference room as you are on the phone.
  4. Learn to listen. As much as you may need to communicate, it is also imperative that you balance listening. Sitting back and letting others drive meetings, opening the floor to new ideas and employee feedback, and understanding the thought and workflow processes of your employees can offer innovative solutions for workplace issues.
  5. Practice what you preach. As the old adage advises, hypocrisy is the greatest indicator of inauthenticity. Be the example by which you want your employees to follow. You might need to take a step back and re-evaluate a process or business structure to create a more balanced and effective work model that doesn’t make you out to be a hypocrite.

Empathy in the Workplace. Empathy is critical, especially among leadership and executive teams, as it indicates interest in others’ wants and needs, as well as compassion for others. Lack of empathy can lead to individuals or teams feeling unappreciated and thus, may become unproductive, dissatisfied with their work, and impact the company’s revenue. Empathy influences work performance through strengthened relationships and assist in promoting a more collaborative, positive work environment. An empathetic workplace can offer an enriched corporate culture, which in turn provides increased employee engagement, retention rates, work performance, employee satisfaction, and stronger interpersonal relationships among staff.

Resolving Workplace Conflicts. 85% of employees report experiencing workplace conflict, with 49% of workplace conflicts resulting from personality or ego differences. While workplace conflicts may be commonplace, it is imperative leaders have effective, detailed policies and procedures in place to expedite resolution and avoid creating a hostile work environment.

A simple approach to resolving workplace conflicts is to schedule a date and time to address the conflict. Before beginning the meeting, set some ground rules for the meeting, such as allowing each side to express their side of the situation. Then mediate the meeting to avoid accusatory language and focus on the behaviors instead of personal attacks. Once an agreement is reached, strategize next steps, including preventative measures for future conflicts. Be sure to conclude the meeting with something positive.

Not all workplace conflicts require management involvement; however, severe incidents may require human resources to immediately step in, such as a personal attack or general disrespect towards another, threats to quit as a result of a conflict, or a conflict that effects a department, the company, or group of individuals. You should seek additional help when/if the conflict results in aggressive behavior (i.e., harassment, workplace violence, etc.), legal issues, and/or you lack adequate training to mediate such conflict.

If you have office politics that may be creating a hostile work environment, or other workplace conflicts, please reach out to VensureHR. We provide human resources specialists who can assist with customized HR services for your business needs. Contact VensureHR to develop an employee handbook to address workplace politics and other office policies that can enhance your office culture.

Empathy in the Workplace

Resolving Workplace Conflicts

Looking Ahead: 2020 HR Trends and Statistics

Technology and shift in generations are two of the leading causes for the 2020 trends in HR. Looking to the data on such HR trends, it is apparent there are a few leading changes you need to keep an eye on in the coming year. Working remote, employee wellness, continued learning and development, and recruiting and hiring processes are all drastically shifting to incorporate more advanced solutions, strategies, and environments that elevate companies to remain competitive in their respective markets.

Working Remote
Working remote provides many advantages to both employers and employees. Stanford University reported increased work productivity and employee retention while employee absences decreased among people who worked from home. Many employees report feeling happier at their jobs when offered a flexible work arrangement. With 68% of employees stating that flexible work arrangements significantly influence their decision whether or not to work for a company, incorporating remote opportunities for employees can greatly benefit your company.

Employee Wellness
Did you know that for every $1 spent on an employee wellness program, the company saved $3.27 because of reduced healthcare costs? Poor employee productivity due to poor employee health has proven two to three times greater than direct healthcare costs.

Providing incentives, such as impactful statistics like for every 1% drop in total cholesterol, the risk of having a heart attack dropped by nearly three percent, could influence participation in such workplace wellness programs. If an employee does not wish to partake in workplace wellness programs, it may provide motivation to take their health into their own hands. For example, they may enroll in their preferred gym and the fitness classes offered there.

Continued Learning and Development
Roughly, 47% of on-the-job training opportunities are leaning towards automation and AI. With technology evolving the way for which HR and continued learning and development programs are delivered, it is just as important for companies to implement training and resources to learn such technology. Tools for performance management, analytics, and organization can all aid with creating learning and development programs. 75% of organizations are dramatically increasing their investment in analytics to provide real-time data and insights for performance tracking and effectiveness of programs.

Recruiting and Hiring Process
While 57% of HR leaders are restricted in resources and technical skills, nearly 24% of them are utilizing artificial intelligence for recruitment and a whopping 56% intend to incorporate it in the next year. There are many options available for implementing AI strategies and systems to revamp the hiring and recruiting processes, such as chatbots, communication apps, and gamification. With such an emphasis on the importance and impact of AI in the recruitment and hiring processes, it would be more effective for HR leaders to develop and refine their technological skills in anticipation for such changes.

Professional employer organizations offer competitive and innovative HR solutions, including payroll administration, employee benefits, risk management, and workers’ compensation. Vensure, your partner in HR services, can provide the human resource tools you need to become a successful HR leader.

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