Many industries require workers to have specific training and/or knowledge before performing their job function. When companies employ remote workers or have numerous locations, virtual classrooms become especially popular as an efficient way of delivering information or training. Virtual classrooms can also be used to update employees on HR-related topics or conduct seminars surrounding new policies or standards.

Keeping every employee awake in a virtual classroom is a challenge, especially when it comes to specific training – How do you know if they are paying attention? Here are 3 tips to ensure success for your employee classroom session.

  1. Be Prepared and Organized: Practice or review the virtual seminar beforehand and think of any possible questions that may arise. Be prepared to answer.  Identify the purpose and content of the virtual classroom to your employees before beginning, and enlist the help of an IT professional if you should need assistance delivering the content.
  2. Engage: It’s important to provide your employees with things to do other than just listening.  Build interactive tasks and questions into the session that require responses from all participants. Through “Quiz Managers” and other software available you can even create polls and quizzes that are good for revision, assessment, and reinforcing your message. Through polls, you can display how many people got the answer right, and wrong, without revealing the individual. Think outside the box to get your “students” engaged!
  3.  Take your Own Notes: At the very least, your virtual classroom will always serve as a learning experience for YOU. Always take your own notes so that you can be committed to improving the delivery of employee lessons or information in the future. If there are questions, polls, chat text or any type of interactions, make sure you save them for reference.

With HR Shield, creating effective training or educational content for your employees couldn’t be easier. You’re just a few mouse clicks away from everything you need to create a complete employee performance management system.

HR Shield members are also free to access our comprehensive gallery of training videos that cover every aspect of HR.  When virtual classrooms or seminars are not effective enough for your employees or specific safety compliance requires hands-on/in-person demonstrations, HR Shield can also offer assistance with on-site training.

Call today to learn about the HR Shield membership options at (877) 636-9525 or contact us for more information.

With YouTube and comedic viral videos gaining popularity over the years, it’s no surprise that everyone wants to get in on the fun. There’s nothing wrong with a little light humor and pranking people is there? Well, what if an employee of yours serves as the butt of the joke? What if they are offended? How far is too far?

A few years ago, CBS News released a story on the Top 5 Office Pranks Gone Wrong – While many viewers can’t help but chuckle at a few of these, many of these pranks are unacceptable for a working environment, and can quickly become an HR Manager’s worst nightmare.

Often, employees engaging themselves in office pranks believe the prank is harmless. But it’s often the victims of the prank or coworkers that find the prank humiliating, disruptive, dangerous, or even a form of harassment. Taking that humiliation or inappropriate behavior and posting it on a social media platform such as YouTube, without permission, can introduce an entirely separate set of problems.

Office pranks can violate numerous organizational policies surrounding employee safety, workplace etiquette, sexual harassment, and more – all areas that can result in a lawsuit if a prank doesn’t go “according to plan.”

We know… As an HR Manager or business owner it’s often difficult to play the bad cop. You want your employees to have fun, but your priority is to make sure that all employees are protected, and that “fun” never crosses company moral or ethical boundaries, reflecting poorly upon your organization.

All employees should have received a company handbook, and should be well aware of all existing company policies, but a few helpful reminders can never hurt when it comes to office pranks!

  • Think about what you are doing before doing it.
  • Ask yourself: How would you feel if you served as the recipient of this prank? What could the consequences be? Does this prank violate company policies?
  • “Harmless” or not, is this prank going to disrupt others in the workplace?
  • Never use April Fools as a free pass to try and get away with an inappropriate prank – so long as you’re in a working environment, work policies apply.
  • Never share a prank on the internet, or anywhere for that matter, without the permission of all parties involved. Make sure the company name is not associated with the prank either, as it may reflect poorly upon the organization or violate additional policies.


If you are an HR Manager or business owner currently facing a struggle when it comes to separating “workplace fun” from disruptive or inappropriate behavior, please feel free to contact us. You can count on HR Shield for 24/7 access to everything from sample employee conduct reviews to safety management, plus get expert advice from licensed HR professionals who care.

Did your company survive March Madness? It may seem silly, but March Madness actually hurt the productivity of quite a few organizations last month with employees glued to their computers, iPads, laptops and phones, all on company time to trace the NCAA Men’s Division Basketball Championship.

Even though March may have been an exciting time for college basketball fans, with many employees bonding over brackets, according to a study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, it is estimated that employers lost roughly $175 million in just the first two days of the NCAA Tournament!

With employees utilizing their technology for everything basketball-related within this short time frame, IT professionals took quite the hit as well. In most cases, it’s the IT professional’s job to maintain company network functionality, and 42% surveyed by Braun Research said that March Madness has historically impacted their network, with networks slowing down or even completely shutting down for periods of time surrounding March Madness!

Whether its technology meltdowns, a lack of focus from your sales team, or internal battles over brackets, March Madness can hurt your organization. As an employer or HR manager, you want your employees to have fun, but most of them may need to find better ways to balance their time and get their work done!

Here are 3 easy tips for March 2013, so your company can be in better shape for next year!

  1. Set Standards: If your company is hosting a tournament bracket to encourage employee bonding and friendships, this can be a mixed message to send. Tournament brackets or not, policies need to be set early on prior to March Madness. Sales goals remain the same, work computers are for work, and job titles/responsibilities remain the same. Designating a specific time when employees are able to access sports-related content, or “check in” on their teams, may be an easier way to spread fun through the office, but ensure work remains a priority.
  2. Technology/Compliance Prep: You may not need to ban employees from accessing sports-related content, but you may want to block company computers from accessing streaming videos or radio (which slow down the network, and are much more distracting than your quick “check-in” to a Web site for a game update). Talk with your IT team and management to decide which option is best for network functionality, and employee productivity.
  3. Wages & Hours:  Perhaps your Company has a policy that no one is permitted to work overtime unless they get prior approval from their supervisor. But, what is the real reason the employee needs to work overtime in March? Is it because work-related goals were not met due to NCAA distractions!? Again, setting standards early on and knowing when an employee is eligible for overtime will put your organization in a much better position, before it becomes a question and/or conflict!

HR Shield assists companies with “Everything-HR” – Even basketball, if it becomes an HR issue!   Your HR Advisor can help you address all concerns related to employees and more! To get immediate answers, call (877) 636-9525 for more information.

In February, we introduced a three-part blog series covering the three critical components of an Employee Wellness Program (EWP): Physical Wellness, Mental Wellness, and Social Wellness. One month later, following an employer survey conducted by Fidelity Investments and the not-for-profit National Business Group on Health, it has been discovered that EWP spending is UP!

According to the survey, many companies within the United States plan to increase the dollar value of the incentives they offer employees to participate in Employee Wellness Programs in 2012. In 2011, nearly 3 out of 4 companies engaged employees in health improvement programs by offering them some type of reward or incentive. 

5 other key findings:

  1. In 2009, employers surveyed spent an average of $108 per employee on health improvement programs/Employee Wellness Programs—In 2011, that number was up to $169 per employee (not including incentives)!
  2. 57% of employers surveyed believe that incentives attract and increase employee participation in Employee Wellness Programs.
  3. Companies are coming up with new ways to get employees involved: cash rewards, gift cards, prizes, and even direct contributions to HSAs.
  4. Examples of company competitions to redeem these rewards include weight loss competitions, smoking cessation, fitness challenges, and more. (The average value of the incentive was $460. In 2010 it was $430).
  5. Many employers are now expecting or preferring that their employees are in good health: 5% of employers surveyed required their employees to complete some type of health screening or testing.

According to the U.S. Centers for disease Control and Prevention, more than half of all Americans live with one or more chronic conditions and the majority of these could be prevented through lifestyle changes.  In 2008, chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease accounted for almost 75% of health care costs.(1)  Employers recognize that the key to providing more affordable healthcare for their group of employees is by promoting prevention of chronic conditions and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.

Employee Wellness Programs reduce employee insurance costs, improve office morale, and create an overall healthier and happier working environment. If you don’t currently have an Employee Wellness Program, HR Shield can recommend the best programs and show you how to maximize the results!

*HR Shield is not a seller or distributer of Employee Wellness Programs but our HR professionals have experience with the industry’s leading performers.  HR Shield clients take advantage of our consultant’s expertise to promote utilization and maximize effectiveness of wellness programs at the worksite.

For more information or questions about your Employee Wellness Program, contact our HR Consultants at HR Shield.

1Source: Trust For America’s Health, A Healthier America: 10 Top Priorities for Prevention, March, 2008. Center for Science in the Public Interest, The Key to Affordable Health Care Reform: Better Health through Prevention, April 2008

We often hear advertisements promoting night classes or schooling options for business professionals needing or wanting to learn more. It is not uncommon for small companies to hire a “jack of all trades” in its early beginnings or maybe YOU are that “jack of all trades.”  When budgets are controlled and there are not enough reserves to hire a specialist within each area of HR and office administration, small business owners and their employees are often required to “wear many hats.”

You may currently have someone at your office that has literally been a lifesaver—handling everything from answering phones and sorting the mail to interviewing new employees and managing HR…maybe even managing payroll and shopping benefits!  But, what happens as your company grows and the number of employees increases? The administration increases, as do the compliances issues and HR responsibilities associated with each new employee.

Chances are that you certainly do not want to replace one of the key players in your organization for a more experienced, licensed professional, but perhaps you can’t necessarily afford (or allocate time) to send them back to school or hire full-time support for them.

Many growing companies turn to HR Shield to support their existing HR professional or office manager.  As an employer who values your employee, but recognizes the need for additional resources, HR Shield is the perfect answer.

How do we help growing companies?

  • We do not replace your HR employee; we simply serve as a valued resource for them to rely on.
  • HR Shield is cost-effective, as low as $49 per month.
  • We provide immediate access to a licensed HR professional.
  • No hassle unemployment claim processing with HR Shield.
  • Member discounts on labor attorney services.
  • We provide HR forms and templates to maintain a compliant HR department.
  • Employee benefit plan support.
  • Updated information on state and local labor market conditions and issues.
  • Discounted background and drug screening for your employees.
  • Free discount RX Card providing up to 80% savings on prescriptions.
  • Live video chats for training, seminars, performance reviews and exit interviews.
  • And, most importantly, employers rest assured knowing Human Resources Administration is taken care of. They can finally go back to concentrating on what they do best: growing their business!!

For more information on how HR Shield assists growing companies, contact us today.