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.

Does your company have an employee handbook? Is it up to date with the necessary policies and procedures to ensure your employees are following the rules? Is your company compliant within the labor and employment guidelines set by federal, state and local requirements?

Employee handbooks, while sometimes tedious and demanding from an administrative standpoint, should never be put away on the shelf, or only distributed when hiring a new employee. The objective of an employee handbook is to provide all employees, not just new employees, with any and all pertinent information they may need to efficiently and effectively understand and perform their job.employee handbook

Your employee handbook should be updated periodically and include the following and most up to date information pertaining to:

  1. Introduction to the Company/Company Background
  2. Start-up Information for New Employees (How to set up email, use phone system, who to report to, etc)
  3. Contract of Employment
  4. Pay and Promotions
  5. Benefits
  6. Company Policies (Such as family medical leave, equal employment, paid time off, non-discrimination, workers compensation and more)
  7. Disciplinary Codes
  8. Grievance Codes
  9. Employee acknowledgement page

Worried about continuous updates and printing? Information can be provided in a loose leaf binder for easy and cost-effective updates to certain sections, rather than reprinting the entire book each time an edit is made. With electronic copies of employee handbooks, you often cannot predict whether or not the employee will review it on their own—it is best to hand them a hard copy and include an employee acknowledgement page for their signature.

Because our team is well aware that creating, updating and administering an employee handbook is time consuming and takes time away from your important everyday responsibilities and tasks, we have created a customized solution for our clients. Through HR Shield, our members gain immediate access to a licensed HR professional for employee handbook creation or review. In addition, HR forms and templates are readily available to maintain a compliant HR department. For more information, contact a licensed HR professional at HR Shield today. Toll Free: (877) 636-9525.

We’ve all got them—New Year’s Resolutions. Every December we set goals for the New Year, whether they are fitness goals, finance goals, relationship goals or even business goals. As a business owner, executive, or HR Professional, you may have many of the following resolutions for your working environment and employees. With the support of HR Shield, your long list of goals for the New Year doesn’t need to be intimidating, and it CAN be achieved!

We understand that managing HR requires every ounce of energy you have in order to stay ahead of the competition and grow your bottom line. Even with an HR Manager on staff, human resources administration can be overwhelming. The expert team at HR Shield provides the perfect alternative to outsourced HR services – a simple, yet often necessary, helping hand!

Stay Organized: By utilizing HR Shield’s Forms Library, you can readily have access to reliable human resources forms for hiring, firing, workers comp, harassment, overtime, tax forms, unemployment claims, federal and state documentations and more.

Avoid Hiring the “Wrong People” this Year: We provide hiring support including interviewing tips, background checks, employee compensation help, drug testing, documentation support and more. We have all of the talent and knowledge necessary to attract and retain the right employees for your company this year—and can even help terminate the bad ones if necessary, through exit interview assistance, compliance consulting and more.

Create a Safer Working Environment:  You never want to see an employee hurt on the job. Perhaps your working environment has experienced an injury on the job in 2011? If so, you know firsthand that accidents DO happen, and employees who aren’t trained properly leave you exposed to costly consequences. The importance of safety in the workplace can’t be underestimated. Let HR Shield help you out this year, with office safety training, HR compliance services and more—everything you need to keep your employees safe!

Boost Employee Performance This Year: Need help motivating your work force? HR Shield provides an employee performance management system that really works, including employee handbook templates, employee reviews and all the expert HR advice you need. We can help your business create custom compensation packages and rewards systems that truly improve employee morale!

Whatever your business and HR goals may be, HR Shield can lend a helping hand. Best business wishes to all for the New Year, and do not hesitate to call us this year– we’re turning resolutions into realities!