Five Effective Tips for Making Employee Write-Ups a Positive Experience

The terms “write-up,” or “reprimand,” often denote negativity—but this isn’t always true. Employee write-ups are able to be used for encouragement and motivation, they don’t always need to be used in times when an employee is not following company policies.

There are essentially two forms of employee motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation includes personal challenges, job satisfaction, and self-fulfillment while the latter is more physical (salary, bonuses, gifts, etc.). An employee write-up is more closely related to intrinsic motivation and you should highly consider using your write-ups as motivational tools, rather than a traditional reprimand.

Here are a few tips to help make your employee write-ups more valuable and motivational:

Coach/Mentor Your Employees

There are many situations when an employee doesn’t know they have done something wrong or why they are being written up. This is a great moment for you to coach your employee.

Explain to your employees exactly what the infraction was and be as transparent as possible when helping them figure out how to avoid this in the future. By assisting your employee during a write-up review, it will be perceived as more of an encouragement than a reprimand.

Remember, encouragement is not praise, it’s a push in the right direction.

Set Goals

Employee write-ups can be used as a tool to keep employees on track towards their goals. While someone’s work may be exemplary, the same may not be said about their time management. Instead of getting angry because someone’s work is consistently late, discuss setting goals that can help keep your employee on track.

Goal setting can also be impactful when it comes to collaboration. Some employees may not be comfortable working with others, but collaboration is necessary in the workplace. Setting goals to work closer with their colleagues can help employees ease out of their comfort zone.

Communicate Expectations

While an employee write-up comes from a superior, it doesn’t always mean that an employee is at fault. For example, if your graphic designer always sends you two versions of a piece of content, but you expect three, this needs to be explained if it hasn’t before.

Communication is the key to all forms of success and can set the foundation your business needs to run smoothly. All employees must have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. If not, productivity will decrease and your teams will operate inefficiently.

Keep the Discussion Focused on the Infraction

Employee write-ups should be focused specifically on the infraction an employee is being spoken to about. It’s easy to get off topic and start reviewing other things an employee may or may not have done, but it is imperative that the conversation is specific and transparent.

Employee write-up forms are an effective tool to help overcome this challenge as they provide direction for these conversations and adequate room to take notes.

Allow Your Employee to Tell Their Side

Employee write-ups shouldn’t be a one way street if you want them to be as positive an interaction as possible. You need to allow your employees a chance to use their voice to explain what may have happened, or why something has happened. It’s always possible that a violation of policy was a misunderstanding. By allowing your employees to voice their opinion, it also gives you some insight on how you can manage specific employees in the future. Everyone is different and may receive a write-up for different things, so you must handle these situations case-by-case. No solution is one size fits all…consider downloading an employee eval form as another way to learn how to manage employees.

Employee Empowerment: A Necessity to the Success of Your Business

No matter how big or small your business is, and no matter its rate of growth, one task that persists for companies of all sizes is empowering its employees to promote their success. As a business grows, managers may try and find new ways of how to empower employees—but there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

The best course of action is to try a few different methods and see what works for your business. Here are five tips for empowering employees and promoting employee success.

Listen to Your Employees’ Needs and Concerns

Sometimes all it takes for an employee to feel more empowered is by making them feel heard. This is the most direct and honest way for you to learn how an employee is feeling, what should be changed, and what is working well.

By listening to employees and gaining a new perspective of how they feel when they’re in the workplace, you’ll also have a better understanding of how you can give them an extra boost to excel while at work. On the contrary, hearing what an employee has to say will also inform you if they’re being pushed too far, which can cause burnout and greatly effect employee and business success.

Give More Praise for Accomplishments

When trying to figure out how to empower employees, sometimes the simplest forms of praise can be the most effective. According to a LinkedIn study, receiving praise for accomplishments and contributions is so important that 32% of workers left their jobs because they were unsatisfied with the recognition, or lack thereof, for their contributions.

Praise doesn’t need to be elaborate; it is just a way to show employees that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. While this can certainly promote employee success, it doesn’t need to be a daily occurrence–praise for a job well done can always be given during regularly scheduled evaluations.

Put an Emphasis on Learning and Development

Did you know that 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if the company invested in their career? Learning and development is pivotal not just for the employee, but for your business as well. However, the two sides do need to work in collaboration. The more an employee learns, the more empowered they will feel to take initiative in tasks and projects.

Further to this point, training employees helps with retention, accuracy and completion of projects, and overall company growth.

It All Begins with Leadership

When considering how to empower employees, it’s important to look at your business from a broader perspective. Often times, the initial focus has to be on the leadership team. Employees don’t want to feel underworked, and they certainly don’t want to feel overworked.

In fact, 42% of employees say they quit their jobs because of managers who overworked them. Despite this, it may not always be the superior’s fault. It is possible that a manager hasn’t had adequate managerial training. 58% of managers have said they never received any training prior to being placed in a leadership role.

If this training isn’t received by your leadership team, there won’t be any foundation for them to empower and encourage the success of their staff.

Formal Mentoring

While it isn’t possible to mentor every single employee working for your business, it is possible to shed light on different aspects of the business so employees can have a better understanding of what’s going on. This is especially true for your management team. Although they are the leaders of your business, being mentored by members of your executive staff can give management the extra push it needs to effectively guide its employees. In turn, management and its employees will be better equipped for career advancement opportunities. There is no right or wrong method when it comes to how you empower your employees. The best method is the one that your employees respond to the most. Don’t forget, this isn’t a quick process, and you’ll need to go through trial and error to learn what works for you and your staff. For more tips and information on business success, be sure to check out some of our other blogs.

Did You Know: There are Questions You Can’t Ask in an Interview?

Interviewing can be a challenge. It can be difficult for both the candidate and the interviewer. This is even more apparent when you consider an interviewer needs to figure out what to ask, when to ask it, and if they are even allowed to ask the question they’re considering.

That’s right—there are in fact questions you can’t ask in an interview.

Some of these questions may be obvious, and some a bit more thought-provoking. As a rule of thumb: if it’s a doubt, it’s a don’t. You should never have to question whether or not something you’re asking is appropriate. Inappropriate or illegal questions could put your company at risk of a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit.

Here are six questions you can’t ask in an interview and why:

Are You a U.S. Citizen?

This is the easiest, most direct, and harmless way to find out if a candidate is able to work for you, right? Wrong.

A candidate does not actually have to be a citizen of the United States to work for a company. In fact, the answer to this question may receive a discriminatory response from an interviewer, thus the reason you can’t ask this question during an interview.

However, a candidate DOES have to be authorized to work in the United States. Instead of asking, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” Ask, “Are you authorized in to work in the U.S.?” You are obligated to confirm a candidate is authorized for work.

Do You Have Children or Plan on Having Children?

This is a sensitive subject to ask questions about. Of course, no company can forbid anyone from having children, but a company could pass on a candidate because it may not believe the candidate can meet the time requirements.

While you can’t ask this questing during an interview, you can explicitly explain to a candidate the time demands of the position. If applicable, explain to the candidate that the position may require travel or overtime work.

At this point, the candidate can give you an idea of how much time they have to offer and you can make a safe decision whether they are able to provide what you need.

How Old Are You?

This question carries a considerable amount of weight and it can certainly put you on the path of discrimination issues down the road. While you can’t ask for a specific age, you can ask if they are legally old enough to work for your company. For example, many companies requires its employees to be at least 18-years-old.

If you don’t keep this question specifically to the legality of their age, a candidate that doesn’t get the job can claim it is because they are either too old or too young.

Do You Take Drugs?

Asking someone if they take drugs can cause a lot of confusion on both ends of an interview. The interviewer may be asking a question about illegal substances while a candidate may think they are being asked about prescription medication that they need to take and are legally allowed to.

Even if you and the candidate are on the same page, asking about prescription medication is off-limits because you shouldn’t be inquiring about their personal health.

When it comes to questions about drug use, it’s better not to ask about them at all. You are legally allowed to ask for a pre-employment drug screening if the candidate is offered and accepts a job—the screening should tell you what you want to know.

What Was Your Most Recent Salary? What Is Your Salary History?

Questions about salary are a no-go, more times than they are acceptable. Usually, the only question you should ask about salary is how a candidate would like to be compensated.

Further, a candidate could make the argument that if a company was to know their salary history, they could be low-balled with their offer.

Salary questions are also risky when asking women or minorities because of pay gaps within these groups. According to a report from payscale, in 2021, women earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Your safest option is to set the compensation up front and make candidates aware of it.

What Religion Do You Practice?

When it comes to questions you can’t ask in an interview, questions about religion are completely off the table. Avoid them completely.

Questions about religion can come off as rude or discriminatory and leave plenty of room for EEOC issues. Furthermore, a candidate’s religious beliefs are irrelevant to their working capabilities.

The only time religion may be relevant is when you’re trying to figure out if holidays will keep them from working a required schedule. In that case, all you need to ask is, “Are you able to work with our required schedule?”

Keep it Relevant.

Always find a way to relate the question to specific work related topics like occupational qualifications and requirements. Ask yourself: Would the answer to this question mean that the candidate cannot perform the job functions without disrupting the work environment? If you answered no, then you should ask a different question.

If you’re having difficulty determining which questions you should and shouldn’t ask, VensureHR can help. Our team of human resource professionals will help you prepare for candidate interviews so you can be confident you are asking all the right, and legal, questions prior to the interview. You can also download our free Business Owner’s Guide to Recruiting and our free Interview Questionnaire Form to keep on hand and reference whenever you need it. Contact VensureHR to learn more about how we can assist you with interviews and additional HR needs.

Maintaining Work Relationships While Working Remotely

Young professional female on a video conference call with coworkers, taking notes

During the past year and a half, remote workspaces have become part of the norm. As a result, it’s more challenging to build and maintain relationships among your coworkers without the ability to meet and engage in person. However, it’s still crucial to maintaining these relationships since 77% of workers consider strong relationships with their coworkers essential to job satisfaction. Below are some simple tips you can follow to help maintain professional relationships with your colleagues while working remotely.

Tip #1: Be Available

The ability to work remotely has given employees more control over how they plan their day. From how they balance their family life with work, whether that’s taking some time during the day to help with home-schooling or taking a walk in the fresh air. However, it’s important to remain available for your colleagues to reach you when needed. If you are going to take time out of your day to focus on family matters or self-care, be sure to block out this time on your calendar or let your coworkers know you are stepping away from your workstation, so they are aware of when you’re not available and can work around it. This way your coworkers won’t feel like they can never reach you when they need to.

Tip # 2: Don’t Jump Right into Business

One in-office perk remote working lacks is casual office conversations and in-person interactions. It’s much easier to partake in lighthearted conversations with your coworkers when you’re in the same office, it’s much harder to do remotely. One thing you can do is to set aside a few minutes at the beginning of every virtual meeting for a quick, informal catch-up with everyone present. This is a great way to check-in with your coworkers and avoid meetings feeling too formal, while also showing that you are making an effort to build and maintain relationships with the team. Feeling overwhelmed with too many attendees in an online meeting? Try starting with a fun ice-breaker question for everyone to answer is another way to bring the feeling of being together in the office.

Tip # 3: Schedule Quick One-on-One Meetings

Setting up a casual, 15-minute check-in with colleagues on your team will also help maintain your relationship with your coworkers. This is a time where you can talk about anything, not just work-related items, and connect with your teammates. Taking an interest in their lives outside of work will make your coworkers feel cared for and heard.

Tip # 4: Share Your Skills

Working remotely offers the opportunity to cross-train with your colleagues. Since you don’t need to get everyone in the office on the same day, at the same time, it’s easier to schedule quick trainings to teach your coworkers a new skill, or just show them what you do on the team. This is a great way to teach and learn something new, while also taking an interest in understanding what your coworkers are doing.

If your business is looking for more ways to build and foster stronger professional relationships, a human resource professional can help. At VensureHR, our HR specialists can provide you with the tools, resources, and support you need to manage effective professional relationships for your business. Contact VensureHR to learn more.

HR Magazine- Good Workplace Relationships Have Largest Impact on Job Satisfaction

ThomasNet- How to Build and Maintain Colleague Relationships While Working Remotely

Anyplace- How to Strengthen Relationships While Working Remotely

Workload Management: What All Businesses with a Limited Workforce Need

There are approximately 10 million job openings in the U.S.—but only 8.6 million people are looking for work. With the job market being this competitive, it is likely that most employers will be waiting until they find the perfect hire that checks all the boxes, all while making sure workload management is a top priority for the employees you already have.

Although your workforce may be limited, you still need to prepare your employees for success by providing them with the tools, resources, and expertise they need. To help you help your employees, we have a few recommendations to keep your workforce on track:

  1. Make sure your employees aren’t getting burnt out.
  2. Cross-train your employees.
  3. Start using time management software.
  4. Eliminate multitasking.
  5. Use an online project management platform.

No One is Safe from Burnout

Believe it or not, burnout can have a powerfully negative impact on your business.

A study conducted by Gallup of approximately 7,500 full-time employees concluded that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always. In contrast, an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. Combined, that’s 67% of employees reporting different levels of burnout.

The more burnt out an employee is, the more likely they will be distracted at work or become unmotivated—leaving important work unfinished.

To help offset the effects of burnout, consider using an employee evaluation form to check up on your employees, their progress, and their burnout level.

The More They Know, the Better They’ll Be

Just because some of your employees’ workloads are a bit overbearing, doesn’t mean the majority of the staff shares this sentiment. The employees who have manageable workloads need to have a general knowledge of how to complete a colleague’s tasks—if not, projects and assignment may be prolonged.

An effective way to manage workloads is to rework assigned projects and responsibilities to distribute work more evenly across the team. This works best when employees are cross-trained in various areas and are knowledgeable on all used software systems within the department.

Yes, this may take up some more time during the onboard process. Yes, it may cost a bit more to train an employee in different areas. But it’s an investment that may prove its value down the road.

Too Much to Do, Not Enough Time

Workload management goes hand-in-hand with time management. In order to help your employees, manage their time without fault, consider providing them with an intuitive time management software platform that can track their time in/out, PTO, and sick leave.

While you don’t want to make it seem like “big brother” is watching, it can be a very hands-on way to ensure your employees are staying on track with their timing and completing their assignments in the most efficient way possible.

Multitasking isn’t Always the Most Efficient

Multitasking is not the most efficient way to get a lot done, especially when promoting better workload management practices. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity.

It is much easier to focus on one task at a time—uninterrupted.

Prioritizing tasks and projects can have a great impact on the daily success of your employees. Employees may not innately know which projects are more important than others. In one-on-one or team meetings, leaders should be diving into top projects and goals for each week, highlighting which tasks or projects require a sense of urgency, and discuss next steps for incoming projects with competing priorities or completion dates.

Simple conversations can have a huge impact on individual and team productivity, along with making sure everyone is on the same page about where the team is at in relation to weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals.

Seek Help from a Project Management Platform

Project management tools are readily available and easily accessible, which will result in an incredible impact on your workload management efforts. Whether it’s an app that all of your employees can use to collaborate or a simple scheduling resource, it’ll be sure to help keep you organized while you’re keeping your employees organized.

Intimidated by new technology? Don’t worry. Project management platforms provide a number of tutorials to keep you on track, informed, and educated. Operating with a limited workforce can be a tough situation to deal with. Fortunately, there are a number of resources you can use to help get you through these challenges.

Hiring Internally vs. Externally: Weighing Your Options

Filling a job vacancy is no simple task, and deciding whether to hire internally or externally makes the task even more difficult. There are pros and cons to both forms of hiring, but there’s certainly no right or wrong choice.

The best choice is the one that is most impactful to your business. However, after an extended time recruiting and hiring remotely, you have a lot to consider.

The Pros of Hiring Internally

Making an internal hire can have a profound impact on recruiting, retention, and company culture. According to SHRM, 41% of employees say they will prolong their tenure at a company if they hire internally compared to the companies that do not. Aside from being more efficient than external recruiting, it’s also an attractive selling point for your business—it shows commitment to the advancement of your employees.

In addition to helping with retention, hiring internally can also provide a much-needed boost in employee morale. An internal hire has already gone through the onboarding process and should have a pretty clear understanding of the company’s culture and mission. Whatever training they need to go through should prove to be quicker, and the transition will be seamless.

An internal hire will also show other employees that there are career opportunities within the company.

The Cons of Hiring Internally

While internal hiring may fill a void in one area, it could create a problem elsewhere. Filling an open position with a current employee means their previous now needs to be filled. In some cases, this isn’t so bad, especially if they are more from an entry-level position to one with more superiority. But if this isn’t the case, you may be backing yourself into a corner, and extend your recruiting process.

You also run the risk of increased competition amongst your staff. While the advancement may motivate employees, it may also cause a rift due to jealousy or employees working toward personal goals rather than the overall goals of the company.

To assure that you’ve internally promoted or hired the best possible employee for the job, conduct regular employee evaluations. This will give you a better sense of who has been the most successful leading up to the point of the move.

The Pros of Hiring Externally

Now and again, your business may need a little shake-up. The best part about an external hire is the candidate can bring new, fresh ideas to your operations, the team, and company morale. Further to this point, the candidate may also possess skills that are not currently available on your employee roster.

Another positive to consider with external hires is you aren’t limiting yourself to a smaller talent pool. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote hiring has become more prominent and it essentially allows you to hire anyone, anywhere.

To help make sure the onboarding process is as smooth as possible with an external hire, consider using a new hire checklist and/or screening form. This will help you stay on track and properly vet your candidates.

The Cons of Hiring Externally

According to Toggle Hire, Small business owners spend 40% of their working hours on tasks that don’t generate income, such as hiring. Not only does hiring take up a lot of time, it’s also quite costly. So costly in fact that Glassdoor says the average company in the United States spends about $4,000 to hire a new employee.

By hiring externally, you’re also taking a chance. The recruiter can really only gauge a candidates’ success based on a resume, interviews, and maybe some work samples. But this won’t tell you how successful a hire will be.

Furthermore, it may give current employees the perception that they aren’t adequate to take on new roles and fill open positions.

While deciding to hire an internal or external candidate is ultimately the decision of the hiring manager, it is important to keep in mind that the hiring process is never going to be quick and you may need help. Working with a PEO can help you save time and money when recruiting and onboarding for positions you fill. PEOs like VensureHR can provide an extensive range of services and resources like the Business Owner’s Guide to recruiting and other HR-related items.

2021 Employee Benefits Trends: The impact on Your Business & Your Employees

As the weight of 2020 slowly begins to lift, businesses and employees are beginning to reprioritize—especially when it comes to benefits options. This year, we’re seeing employee benefits trends directly related to employee experiences over the past nearly two years. Some of the most abundant trends we’re seeing that have taken the COVID-19 pandemic into consideration, include:

  1. A greater focus on voluntary benefits.
  2. An enhanced importance on financial security.
  3. More serious focus on employee mental health.
  4. Employees want to see more alternative work arrangements.

While all four were topics of conversation before the pandemic, they are now being even more widely adopted. Employees around the country are beginning to build more comprehensive plans for their physical, mental, and financial health.

The Rise of Voluntary Benefits

According to a study conducted by The Hartford, employees are opting for new benefits that they were previously selecting. For example, of the employees opting into new benefits, 35% of employees have opted into critical illness insurance and 32% have added a hospital indemnity plan to their coverage details.  

Employers are also taking a longer look at offering a more added-value services (i.e. mental health programs, financial support, caretaking benefits, etc.) for employees, per MetLife’s Redesigning the Employee Experience: Preparing the Workforce for a Transformed World report.

The study found that 74% of employers are offering these kinds of benefits. The study also shows that 60% of employees are interested in their employer providing a wider mix of non-medical benefits that they can choose to purchase on their own.

Understanding Financial Security

Financial security has always had a place in employee benefit options, however, HRExecutive finds the pandemic has exacerbated financial insecurity among the general public—more specifically, the ability to pay certain medical bills.

For example, 40% of U.S. households say they would struggle to cover a $400 emergency expense. The result being an increased interest in emergency savings accounts.

Employers do seem to be responding to their employees’ need for support; more than 75% of business owners have expanded their paid leave and PTO programs in an effort to mitigate the stresses tied to workplace absences, regardless of the reason.

In some cases, employees are also looking for student loan repayment assistance, a benefit on top of the extension provided by the U.S. Department of Education through the coronavirus emergency relief fund. This assistance is earmarked for borrowers with federal student loans and is extended through January 31, 2022.

Changing Views of Mental Health

There is a direct correlation between employees who suffer from poor mental health and productivity rates, or the lack thereof. Recent studies from The Hartford identify 59% of U.S. workers believe the culture of their company has become more accepting of mental health.

Perhaps the biggest employee benefits trend, in terms of mental health, is the employee’s comfort in asking for help. 48% of employees who sought help for stress or burnout used an employer resource. This is a positive trend as employee burnout is incredibly difficult to spot without additional resources like an employee burnout handbook.

This trend needs to continue, especially because burnout is even considered a phenomenon by the World Health Organization.

Get Used to Working from Home

In addition to all of the changes the 2020 pandemic brought with it, work from home is one that is likely to stick around. While employees are showing a greater interest in alternative work arrangements, like work from home, not all employers are certain they want to permanently adopt this as the “new norm”.

MetLife reports more than 76% of employees are interested in remote work and flexible schedules—68% of those employees believe they should at least have the option. but 90% of employers who adjusted work arrangements through 2021, say they expect to return to pre-pandemic working arrangements once they can.

Remote work and flexible schedule also seems to be the preferred working situation for employees in their 20s like Gen Z and Millennial.

It’s fine to work from home if an employee productivity is equal to, or better, than their in-office productivity. Resources like a remote hiring and onboarding checklist can be help in starting the conversation with current employees, or act as an additional resource in new hire onboarding procedures.

Keep an Eye Out for New Trends

As time goes on, things change and you may need some help keeping up with the ever-changing trends. Working with a professional employer organization (PEO) will prove to be an impactful investment for your business, and provide you with the HR resources like payroll assistance, comprehensive benefits, and workers’ compensation guidance.

Consider speaking with an HR expert to learn more about how a PEO can help better your business.

Employer Guide: Understanding Workplace Vaccine Policies

small business owner with face mask is handing a customer their purchase

With the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of COVID-19 vaccines, the topic of vaccines in the workplace—specifically what employers can do—has been a major point of discussion. Topics like, should or can employers implement a vaccination policy, should or can employees be required by employers to receive a vaccination, what will keep my employees and customers safe, what should employers consider when discussing vaccination options, and what are the pros and cons to mandating a vaccine?

While there are many factors that go into making these decisions, however, it is ultimately up to the employer to decide what they feel would be best for their employees and business. Employers should consider all options, weigh the pros and cons as it pertains to their business, employees, and customers, and use substantiated information to make the best possible informed decision.  

To Implement a Policy or Not: That is the Question

Mandating vaccines is the sole choice of the employer. Regardless of the final decision, there are many items to consider. For example, what are the implications for the business, for employees, and customers? When it comes to employees, what steps are you willing to take to either enforce vaccination, continued social distancing or masking, or leave these items to the discretion of each employee? These decisions should be discussed with your human resources representative or team, collaborate with any internal leadership or stakeholders, and, ensure you are approaching the subject appropriately and taking all options into consideration.

Having a fully vaccinated workforce would provide employers peace of mind that their employees are safe and healthy and therefore would take fewer sick days and reduce the risk of spreading illness. It would also provide comfort that the company is focused on protecting any customers with whom employees come into contact.

Objections to implementing a vaccination policy—such as current health conditions that prevent employees from being able to receive certain vaccines, and religious beliefs that prevent employees from being required to receive a vaccination—need to be taken into account if the decision is made to implement a vaccination policy.

In order to implement a mandatory vaccination policy, the vaccine must first be deemed safe and widely available. Additional components to consider when implementing the policy include:

  • Vaccine Costs: If the employee’s health insurance does not cover the cost of the vaccine entirely, employers should reimburse or cover the additional funds to avoid a financial burden on the employee.
  • Educate Employees: Employees should have access to documentation and resources that discuss the safety and importance of vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine, in an effort to encourage them to get vaccinated.
  • Incentivize Employees: You can offer incentives to employees who choose to get vaccinated, encouraging others to do the same. You can also offer paid time off for employees to get the vaccine and recover from any possible side effects.
  • Employee Exemptions: The vaccination plan should include the option to opt out of receiving the vaccine for medical conditions and/or religious beliefs.
  • Human Resources: HR professionals should be the team that handles the communication and distribution on the vaccination policy because they’re typically well-versed in employee-related communications surrounding sensitive topics.
  • Job Descriptions: Employers and HR should update any job descriptions to include any essential duties—such as travel and customer interaction—that would require a mandatory vaccination.
  • Job Interviews: Employers are legally allowed to ask potential job candidates if they are vaccinated against COVID-19. The ADA prohibits employers from asking candidates questions that would reveal a disability during the hiring process, however, the EEOC has clarified that asking employees if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine is not a disability-related question. Any follow-up questions must be job-related and should be reserved until after making an offer.

Has This Happened Before?

In 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) established its first set of guidelines around mandatory vaccination policies due to the H1N1 pandemic (commonly known as “swine flu”). In their guidelines, the EEOC concluded that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibited employers from compelling certain employees from getting vaccinated. The EEOC, in accordance with ADA, also concluded that any employee with underlying medical conditions should be allowed to be exempt from any mandatory vaccination requirements. Similarly, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act allows this same exemption to be given to employees with sincerely held religious beliefs if vaccination legitimately offends the employee’s religious beliefs. In an ADA-protection situation, alternative accommodations would need to be implemented for these employees if a vaccination policy is put in place. These accommodations could include reducing these employee’s interactions with other staff and/or customers.

Outside of these two accommodations, there may also be state-specific laws surrounding vaccination policies. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) remains current on these state laws which can be reviewed here.

Vaccines in the Workplace Best Practices

Here are some best practices and guidance from the CDC surrounding workplace vaccinations:

  • Whether you are mandating vaccinations or not, employers should offer flexible, non-punitive sick leave options for any employees who decide to receive the vaccine—including the COVID-19 vaccine—and experience side effects afterwards.
  • Build confidence in vaccines, specifically the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees who are hesitant to get vaccinated may become more confident and willing after seeing their colleagues get vaccinated.
  • Consider hosting an on-site vaccination clinic. Employers can utilize mobile vaccine clinics that can come directly to the office location to vaccinate employees. The CDC offers guidance on how to host a workplace vaccination clinic for management, human resources, employees, and labor representatives.
  • If hosting a vaccination clinic at your workplace is not possible, employers should make it easy and stress-free for employees to get vaccinated off-site. For example, allow your employees to get vaccinated during work hours, or take paid leave to get vaccinated. You can also support transportation to vaccination site by reimbursing employees for taxis, public transportation, and rideshare services.
  • Promote confidence in vaccines in your workplace by sharing updated, credible information. There is a lot of information circulating on the safety of vaccines, specifically the COVID-19 vaccine, so it is important to make sure you are sharing the most recent updates from credible sources with your employees. The CDC offers some tips on how to build confidence in vaccines in your workplace that you can utilize with your employees.
  • Additional resources such as posters, stickers, factsheets, graphics, and videos relating to the recent COVID-9 vaccines can be found here.

If you are not considering mandating vaccines in your workplace, here are some ways you can operate safely with your employees and customers.

  • Each business has the option to require face coverings to be worn by staff and customers at all times. You can require your staff, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear face masks when interacting with customers, or in shared areas of the office.
  • In shared work areas such as conference rooms and break rooms, employees should practice CDC guidelines of maintaining six feet of distance between each other, and limit the number of employees in these shared spaces at one time.
  • Employers can modify or adjust workstations to maintain a six foot distance, and incorporate transparent shields or physical barriers where six feet is not possible.
  • Provide disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer throughout the office.
  • Encourage employees who are not feeling well, or who have symptoms of COVID-19, to stay home. This includes if a family member of your employee’s is also sick or experiencing symptoms.
  • More guidance on how to keep your workplace safe can be found here.

If you’re looking to implement a vaccination policy for your workforce or looking for alternative options Vensure Employer Services is here to assist! Our team of human resource management consultants will help you determine if a vaccination policy is the best option for your business, and will assist with establishing best practices around the policy. Our HR team of experts is here to support business owners with navigating sensitive topics with their employees and will provide you with all the tools, knowledge, and resources you need to make the best decision for your business and employees.



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Recruiting and Hiring After the Pandemic – What You Should Know.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world as we knew it. Work from home became more prominent, meetings and conferences started being held via video, and remotely hiring employees without meeting them in-person began a new method in the onboarding process.

However, now that life seems to be looking more like it did pre-pandemic, some things may be here to stay. Consider recruiting employees—from the job posting to the interview. An article from Fast Company says we are in the midst of the “Great Resignation,” a shift in employee mindset from “living to work” to “working to live.” 2020 proved challenging for many employees across almost all industries. And from what we can see, they’re not just getting burnt out, they’re rethinking their career trajectories.

For employers and recruiters this means recruiting based on the desires of the person searching for a new role on a new team, vs. sending out a standard job description and seeing who, if anyone, bites.

Tips for Crafting the Best Job Posting

The simple task of writing a job posting has changed. Instead of a long list of skills and daily tasks for the role, try starting the process by asking yourself a few questions and following this process:

  1. Why is this position open and why do we need to fill it?
  2. How urgently does this position need to be filled?
  3. What kind of person is needed to fit company culture?
  4. What skills are needed?
  5. Is there opportunity for growth with this role?

Use the answers to these questions as a starting point on building the job description and the job posting details.

Compensation: To include or exclude.

In terms of compensation, job seekers are often looking for straight-forward answers. Before publishing the job description/posting, do your market research to be certain that what you’re offering meets or exceeds job market expectations. No longer are the days of posting job listings without compensation information. If someone can’t figure out how much they’ll be paid, they’ll look elsewhere.

How to structure your posting and things to avoid.

First, keep it short, simple, and to the point. Your job listing should be no longer than 700 words. The longer it gets, the more inadvertent rambling will occur. Get to the point and “sell” the position. Answer the “why” behind the post. For example, “Why is this job better than any of the others a candidate could apply for?”

And don’t forget to brag! Recruiters and business owners forget to share business recognition, its achievements, and all of the good they have done in their community.

Furthermore, the job title and responsibilities have to be crystal clear. If they aren’t, the candidate will find out sooner or later. One way of keeping your job listing focused is by not using “hype” words (i.e., rockstar, wiz, champion). Using hype words can set unreasonable expectations for the role.

Post-Pandemic Recruiting Tips

There’s more to recruiting than just crafting a flawless job posting. Personal interaction with candidates, even while virtual, is more important than ever. Here are a few things to consider that may have not been part of your repertoire pre-pandemic.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion will play a huge role in hiring.

70% of job seekers said they want to work for a company that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Despite this, 47% of talent professionals told LinkedIn that hiring managers are not held accountable for interviewing a diverse slate of candidates.

If you want to hire the top talent in your industry, you need to adapt to the criteria of the top talent.

If you need fast-learning candidates, look internally.

The people that know the most about your business, and can most likely learn even more, quicker, are the employees that are already working for you. LinkedIn data shows internal mobility is up 20% since the beginning of the pandemic. Further, 50% believe they’ll see a decrease in their recruiting budget, while 66% believe they’ll see an increase to their learning and development budget.

Virtual and remote hiring is here to stay. Elevate the candidate experience.

Among other things, 2020 changed the way business owners and employees view the recruiting, new hire, and onboarding process. This last year introduced a new way of life (e.g. remote work) to which current and future employees have likely become accustomed. For this reason, it’s also a great idea to develop a comprehensive onboarding plan that serves the needs of both remote and in-person work environments.

With the ‘Great Resignation’ ahead, the thought of beginning hiring processes can be incredibly intimidating…but it shouldn’t be. As a PEO, it’s our job to assist and prepare you for all things HR-related. For more comprehensive resources for you to use whenever you begin your hiring process, download our remote onboarding checklist.

SHRM: 2021 Recruiting Trends Shaped by the Pandemic

Asked and Answered: What is Co-employment?

With so many different kinds of human resource outsourcing (HRO) companies, it can be confusing and a bit intimidating to choose a partner in the PEO, HRO, and co-employment space. If you decide to work with a professional employer organization (PEO), like VensureHR, it’s important to understand the operating model.

A PEO is often referred to as co-employment – and we’ll break down everything you need to know, including the benefits and risks.

Understanding Co-employment

According to NAPEO, co-employment refers to a contractual client service agreement (CSA) that allocates certain responsibilities between the PEO and the client company. This means that the PEO will assume some of the employer’s rights, responsibilities, and risks while keeping the responsibility of the day-to-day operations on the business owner.

Some responsibilities a PEO may take over include payroll, benefits, and human resources. With so many areas where the PEO offers assistance, each co-employment agreement is different and depends on the needs of the client organization.

Partnering with a PEO does not take any form of ownership away from the client company. In a co-employment agreement, the client company still reserves its rights when making any final decisions regarding the business, such as operations, hiring/firing employees, customer services, etc.

Benefits of Co-employment

Now that co-employment/PEO has been defined, the next question you should ask is, “What benefit does co-employment have for me?” There are many benefits to co-employment that can have a positive impact on your business and employees.

To start, a PEO operating under the co-employment model will provide your business and your employees enterprise-level benefits. This means your business has benefit options available that are traditionally only offered to large-scale, enterprises with hundreds of employees. Through the PEO relationship, you’re able to receive these types of benefits at incredibly low rates that would otherwise be unattainable without the partnership.

Another benefit of partnering with a PEO is access to customizable retirement plan options for you and your employees.

Offering your employees a 401(k) option is important in regards to recruiting top talent and retaining high performing employees. In fact, according to MetLife’s 2021 U.S. Employee Benefit Trends study, 78% of employees say some form of a retirement plan is a must. Your co-employment partner can help you navigate through all the different plans and options for 401(k)s and even offer expertise as to which plans make the most sense for your business.

Outside of benefits, PEOs will also assume the responsibility of processing payroll and your workforce’s time management – more commonly referred to as time and attendance.  PEOs will help track and manage items such as paid time off (PTO), sick days, vacations, in addition to time worked. Partnering with a PEO like VensureHR means you’ll have access to this service without an added cost.

Another benefit to co-employment is the PEO will manage most tax-related items. Because of the co-employment model that PEOs operate on, they will assist with:

  • Calculating and paying required payroll tax liability for the client.
  • Optimize tax bills to ensure all relevant deductions that are allowed in the country of establishment are made.
  • State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) and Insurance (SUI) compliance
  • Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

Many of these benefits are tasks that the business owner would manage themselves, leaving less room to really focus on what’s most important–growing and running the business. These are some of the tasks that a PEO can take over and manage, alleviating these burdens from the business owner.

What are the risks of co-employment?

There are no real risks to co-employment with a PEO. As mentioned previously, the business owner doesn’t relinquish any ownership of their business whatsoever. The owner of the client company still calls all of the shots.

While there aren’t risks to highlight, we can still offer advice: Pick a PEO to partner with that best suits the needs of your business. Not all PEOs are the same and some may offer more benefits for your business than others. In general look for a PEO partner that is transparent, provides intuitive technology, and provides the necessary services to help your business grow quickly.

Co-employment Myths Debunked

There are many assumptions about co-employment that aren’t true. Here are a few myths debunked about co-employment:

  1. Co-employment Replaces My HR staff
    If you enter a co-employment agreement, your HR staff isn’t going anywhere. A PEO would work directly with your current HR staff and provide additional expertise when developing new HR programs or managing HR tasks. A PEO often brings seasoned and experienced subject matter experts to the table to further improve upon the well-oiled machine you already have.
  2. Using Freelancers Puts you at Risk
    Utilizing independent contractors (ICs) like freelancers can be great for your business. If they’re properly classified, then they present no risk. If properly classified, their documentation will show they have no employer or co-employer. A freelance “employee” acts as its own business.
  3. Co-employers and Joint Employers are the Same Thing
    In a joint employment agreement, both the business and the HR company have joint control and supervise the duties and daily processes of the employees.
  4. Co-employment is Bad
    Co-employment can be great for your business and has a number of invaluable benefits that allow you to get back to running your business. With only 40% of small businesses turning a profit annually, the remaining 60% are either breaking even or losing money. If by partnering with a PEO could help your business join the 40%, that’s actually a good thing.

Don’t let misinformation keep you from exploring the co-employment option for your business.

If you want to learn more about how co-employment and a PEO can help you, schedule a free HR diagnostic with a VensureHR huma resource specialist today.

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