HR Updates & Reminders:
- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women in the U.S. A staggering one in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have a 7 in 10 chance of developing breast cancer by age 80. Although a first-degree relative who had breast cancer doubles a woman’s likelihood of developing it herself, 85% of women diagnosed have no risk factors. This month is the perfect time for employers to encourage their employees—male and female- to get their annual health check-up and any suggested screenings, including mammograms.
- Credit Reporting: On Sept. 12, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a new model “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” disclosure form document. In addition, the changes issued include a requirement that whenever these forms are distributed the employer or background check company must alert the consumer of circumstances when they may be entitled to fraud alerts and unlimited free national security freezes and freeze releases. These changes were effective September 21, 2018.
- Upcoming Federal Contract Minimum Wage Change: The U.S. Department of Labor just issued a notice effective January 1, 2019, the minimum wage for workers performing work on or in connection with federal contracts covered by Executive Order 13658 will be increased from $10.35 per hour to $10.60 per hour.
- Updated ACA Reporting Forms: The IRS finalized the 2018 forms 1094-C and 1094-B (to be sent to the IRS), and 1095-C and 1095-B that are sent to employees. The new forms are available at irs.gov .
What Makes Good People Quit??
The current unemployment rate is at an unbelievable low, around 3.8%. In this environment, it is important for employers to offer competitive pay coupled with benefits employees want, as means to attract the skill sets your company needs. But equally important is that employers remember the adage: people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.
A recent Corporate Leadership Council study of over 50,000 people revealed that motivated employees are 87% less likely to quit their job, and Gallup research shows that 70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by his or her manager. So: how good are your managers at motivating their best and brightest employees? Here are some common manager attributes that may send your employees to the company up the road…
- They overwork their best performers. They don’t mean to, but they can send a message that they’re being punished for great performance. And, new research from a Stanford study shows that productivity per hour declines sharply when the workweek exceeds 50 hours.
- They don’t recognize contributions and reward good work. Managers need to understand their employees to know what makes them feel good, and reward them appropriately for going the extra mile…or more.
- They fail to develop their employee’s skills. Most talented employees want feedback, and want to improve and expand their skill set. Good managers are paying attention, listening to their employees and giving them feedback.
- They don’t care about their employees. Managers need to understand the balance between being professional and being human. Celebrating employee success, empathizing when the employee is going through a tough time, and challenging them – all are important to showing your employee that you care.
- They don’t honor their commitments. When you uphold a commitment, you grow in the eyes of your employees because you prove you are trustworthy and honorable – qualities we all want our boss to have. Not doing so is a sign of disrespect.
- They hire and promote the wrong people. Good hard-working employees want to work with others with the same work ethic. It’s demotivating when the manager hires the wrong person, forcing the good employee to work alongside poor performers. What can be even worse is when the manager promotes the wrong person — passing over the best and brightest.
- They fail to engage creativity. Your most talented employees want to improve everything they are involved with. Not allowing them the latitude to do that, perhaps because you don’t like change, limits them and limits the success of your organization.
- They don’t challenge people intellectually. Great bosses challenge their employees by setting lofty goals that push the best performers out of their comfort zone. A good manager will then do everything they can to help their employee be successful.
The manner in which a manager treats his or her employee can mean the difference between a great employee staying and moving your company forward, or taking her talent elsewhere. Remember: even in the worst economy, the best employees always have options!
Think Before You Fire
Here in the southern states, the concept of Employment at Will is a wonderful thing! But as HR professionals know all too well, it is not in your company’s best interest to willy-nilly fire without giving the action good thought and consideration even if the action is not discriminatory. As a bit of check and balance, when faced with the prospect of firing an employee please think through the following questions:
- Was the employee provided advance notice that the offense was prohibited? Perhaps this could have been accomplished via the Employee Handbook or through a disciplinary action.
- Was the offense that was committed “reasonable”? For example, your policy requires calling in rather than texting when an employee will be tardy – is there a reasonable basis for that?
- Did management make an effort to thoroughly investigate the situation, not merely rely on another employee (who may have a grudge) telling them this is the employee who committed the offense?
- Was the investigation conducted by someone who could be objective, and who would interview all relevant, credible witnesses as well as the ‘accused’?
- Has management applied rules and penalties without discrimination, for example reviewing how comparable situations were handled?
- Does termination fit the crime? Are there any mitigating circumstances, such as the employee known to be dealing with the stress of an abusive spouse, or the employee having exemplary performance prior to this situation?
Employers should always want and need to be viewed by their employees as being fair. Management having the reputation of treating their employees fairly is another important component of retaining your best and brightest employees.
The Opioid Challenge in the U.S.
4.7% of the world’s population resides in the United States. But according to Express Scripts, a staggering 80% of the prescription opioid supply is consumed in the U.S.! How did this happen?
Historically, in the U.S. we have approached pain management by the narrative that being pain free is crucial to enjoying a happy, healthy life. Attitudes are changing with addiction causing a deterioration in the quality of life for so many, and with opioid fatalities exploding. Properly using and prescribing opioids can drastically improve health, but when overused, as easily destroy lives. An interesting statistic is that in the U.S., one dose of opioids is prescribed each day for every 20 people; in Japan, one dose is prescribed for every 800 people. Can our pain threshold be so different?
Employers might consider working with their medical insurance carriers to encourage their in-network providers to limit opioid prescriptions to those truly necessary, and consider prescribing alternative pain management therapies. Non-opioid pain relievers, acupuncture, meditation, and exercise are just some alternatives many people use without fear of addiction.
This newsletter is not intended to provide legal guidance to you. We welcome your input on topics you would like to learn more about, and encourage you to contact the author of this newsletter, Caryl Kuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP at 803.729.8398 or at Ckuchman@benefitcompany.com if you have questions on any information presented.