If you’re an HR Manager you’ve got a lot of things to oversee… compliance…benefits…employee management…training…perhaps even payroll. But nothing seems to set you back like an inbox overload! Sending and receiving emails can take up the better half of your day when you’ve got lots of employees and vendors to interact with.

The following 6 tips are brought to you on behalf of HR Shield! We’ve talked to countless office professionals and these simple steps can help make you work much more effectively and efficiently!

  1. Create Templated Replies: If you find yourself answering the same questions all of the time – such as “how do I update my timesheet” or “where can I find a copy of our employee handbook” or “how do I fill out Form W-4 or Form I-9,” start saving your replies! Cutting and pasting is A LOT easier than rewriting a step-by-step response each and every time someone emails you. Even if you need to edit a portion of the reply to better adhere to the person’s question, you’ll still save yourself a significant amount of time.
  2. Turn Off Video and Audio Alerts: Many of us start to feel overwhelmed when we’re trying to do too many things at once. You’re right in the middle of onboarding a new employee, and the phone won’t stop ringing and the emails won’t stop coming in. Force yourself into turning off the notifications and checking your inbox only at set times throughout the day. If you’re in the middle of something, the emails can likely wait. This will allow you to focus entirely on what you’re working on. And when it’s time to work through those unread items, you’ll be more relaxed with nothing else going on.
  3. DELETE: Remember that email conversation that went back and forth 45 times yesterday? If it was casual conversation or something that absolutely will not be needed at a later date, delete it! This will make searching for items in the future much easier.
  4. Make The Shift Toward Messenger: There are many messenger systems (Skype is one) that can easily be installed in the workplace and permit coworkers to communicate via conversation windows on their desktop. Messenger is perfect for asking your coworkers, boss, or HR manager quick and easy 1-line questions or comments. It’s also easier than walking down the hall into another department! This can prevent you from having an inbox full of quick 1-lined emails going back and forth.
  5. Use "Rules:" Many email programs permit you to establish "rules" to automatically filter messages. If there are a handful of people in your work life that are high volume senders you can have their emails forward into their own designated folder, rather than flooding your inbox.
  6. Get Rid of Junk Mail: Maybe it’s not considered junk to you, but daily horoscopes, news updates, social media happenings and more should go to your personal address – not your work address. On a slow day you’ll thoroughly enjoy them. But on busy days they’ll become your worst enemy; you’ll wonder why you ever subscribed to them in the first place! If you’re receiving unsolicited emails you don’t want to be receiving anywhere, be sure to update your spam settings and opt-out of all emails you do not wish to receive.

For best practices and various HR tips, follow our blog each week! If you have any questions, simply contact your HR Advisor at HR Shield: (877) 636-9525.

A CEO is always tight with his/her Board of Directors, Executive Vice President, Director of Operations, Chief Financial Officer and others on the leadership team.

It’s good to be close with as many people as possible…  After all, it is YOUR responsibility to know about each and every component of your organization. By any chance, are you close with your HR Manager and/or HR Department? Or are they more of an administrative function operating in the background?

We ask, because you may not know that HR should be “your best friend,” and should never operate in the background. No, you don’t need to spend weekends on the golf course or dining with one another’s families, but you need to work in sync with one another.

Here’s what HR is capable of (it’s not just employee management and administration):

  • Taking the Reins on a Cultural Shift: Are you a new CEO or President in the process of trying to transform your organization? What better place to start than with HR? They have access to each and every employee, know all of them, and can assist with the design and implementation of a new corporate culture.
  • Cost Reduction: You may rely on your Chief Financial Officer to tell you which budgets need to be reviewed or reconsidered. But, think about this: HR has direct access to all wage and hour information, benefits, corporate spending, programs, expenses and more. Ask for their input – it’s important!
  • Compliance: As a President or CEO, compliance better be your business if it’s not already. Avoiding criminal charges, building a positive reparation, ensuring workplace safety, and promoting employee morale are extremely important and they’re all part of compliance. Since HR normally manages and oversees compliance, it only makes sense to work closely with this department!

Today, with countless employment laws and regulations, the constant need to limit unnecessary spending, and the desire to shift toward a more positive culture, it is critical that Presidents and CEOs partner up and become “best friends” with HR.  In working together, stronger, more efficient strategies for improving your organization are born!

For more tips and best practices concerning HR, visit our blog each week! If you’d like to speak with an HR Advisor, call us today at (877) 636-9525, or contact us for more information.


It may be time for an HR Audit! Has your organization ever conducted one?

A Human Resources Audit is the evaluation of all persons, systems, processes, practices and projects within your organization’s human resources department. A comprehensive audit performed by an HR professional will identify needs for improvement but most importantly will determine whether your organization is in compliance with the ever-changing rules and regulations of employment law.

Human Resources Audits should be performed by an unbiased individual outside of your organization in order to ensure the best review (and advice) possible. And, it’s important to conduct these audits routinely. Employment laws can affect any stage of the employment process and the only way to avoid costly fines and lawsuits is by constantly maintaining compliance.

There’s one more benefit of audits, for both you and your employees: they ensure you’re maintaining a happy and productive workforce. Because an HR Audit will review practices and employment-related programs within your organization, an audit will identify employee dissatisfaction or areas with a need for improvement. This reduces turnover and boosts the overall moral of the workplace.

Concerned about compliance or looking for some better practices to streamline your HR processes? HR Shield currently includes a FREE Compliance Survey & Employee Handbook with each new membership. And, you’ll get instant access to an extensive online library of forms, templates and training tools on everything from job interview tips to performance reviews and compliance.

Did we mention that each new client gets their very own HR Advisor as well? Each HR Shield Advisor has a minimum of ten years HR experience coupled with extensive business expertise in companies of all shapes and sizes.

Contact HR Shield today for more information, or sign up now by clicking here!

Are you trying to establish a smoke-free workplace, but worried about violating employee rights and employment laws?

Here’s what you need to know:

Some states and local governments have already established smoke-free workplaces within the public and private sectors. If your worksite is within one of these regulated areas, policy enforcement within the workplace should be relatively simple. You’ll have the law to support you and base your company’s policy off of; just check with your local commissioner or government website for details. For example, here is Massachusetts’ state law which enforces smoke-free working environments: Massachusetts Smoke-Free Workplace Law.

As a reminder, be sure to read through any and all details such as exemptions within the law, if there are any.  Within your company’s workplace policy, you are going to want to refer clients to the actual law for more details, and make employees aware of the penalties if they are found in violation of it.

Now, if your local government or state does not have a smoke-free workplace law in place, but you want to establish a policy for your working environment, you can do so. You have the right as an employer to regulate smoking, but you must have a very clear and precise policy that covers all angles, so that employees violating this policy can be appropriately addressed without you, the employer, accidentally violating an employment law.

An example of covering all angles: What defines “the workplace?” Is it your actual workplace? Or do you also want to prevent employees from smoking in their cars during breaks? A policy may need to define workplace as “company property” including the parking lot, sidewalks and more.

HR Shield assists employers in establishing policies of all kinds. From smoke-free and drug-free workplaces to policies surrounding workplace behavior, dress codes and even vacation accrual, your HR Shield advisor will ensure your policy covers every possible angle, and does not violate any employment laws.  Additionally, HR Shield assists employers when a policy has been violated, by providing best practices and support for employee misconduct and conflict resolution.

Call to meet your HR Advisor today at (877) 636-9525, or contact us for more information.

In most working environments, there are no hand-written rules surrounding proper email etiquette. Many of us know to avoid the obvious: politically incorrect cartoons, offensive video content, unforgiving language and other questionable materials.

But, it’s often the lapses in communication that result in conflict. For example, by simply pressing “forward” without an explanation or introduction, you leave the message’s meaning up to the recipient’s interpretation. You could quickly offend your recipient and create an unnecessary misunderstanding.

Think about this: While you may think that simply forwarding an article or e-newsletter is a great way to share useful content, if the title of that email is “Ways to Improve Your Attitude,” or “Ways to Stop Wasting Time,” the recipient may immediately see this as a personal attack.

The following 10 guidelines are offered by HR Shield. We encourage you to share them with your office!

  1. Don’t Be Lazy: Clicking “Forward” with no explanation as we mentioned above, can create a great misunderstanding. If you are a manager passing along a task, you may come across as impersonal or rude. If you are forwarding an article, the recipient may think that article is intended for them personally. Long story short, if you’re sending something, provide the reason you are sending it.
  2. Use Spellcheck: There’s nothing worse than tarnishing a powerful message or important email with numerous spelling errors. It reflects poorly upon you, and your business. A quick click to confirm all of your spelling is correct will save you the embarrassment.
  3. Control Your Urge to “Reply All:” “Reply All” is a bad habit to get into. Ask yourself: “Is this message relevant to every single recipient?” If no, don’t waste the time of others.
  4. Confirm Receipt: Did you receive an email this morning that you won’t be able to address until tomorrow? Confirm receipt. Let the sender know that their email is going to be addressed, and did not get intentionally ignored or land itself in the spam filter.
  5. One Subject per Email: Do you have a lot of projects circulating around the office? One subject per email will help keep you and fellow employees organized. It will also make emails and resources surrounding a project easier to find when you are searching for it within your inbox.
  6. Huge Attachment? STOP: Wait a minute, how big is that attachment? There is nothing worse than having your email backed up for a significant amount of time while it’s struggling to download something. If you have a large attachment, resort to other ways of sending it, or at the very least check with your recipient to see if it is okay to send.
  7. Use Caps Sparingly: CAPS= SHOUTING. If something is important, it may be best to bold or italicize it. If it’s very important and the point you are making needs to be stressed, go ahead and use the caps. But use them sparingly!
  8. End Emails With Positive Salutations: The subject of your email may not always be positive, in fact you may be delivering bad news. But, never fail to let people know they are in fact appreciated. Sign off with “Thank you,” “Regards,” “Much appreciated,” or other nice sayings.
  9. Contribute Something: Answering an email with “you too” or “thank you” may seem polite but it adds little to the conversation. Avoid clogging up people’s inboxes with one or two word emails. Support your message with added detail or refrain from sending.
  10. Think Twice: Reread all emails before sending. If the message is not clear, or is left up to too much interpretation, do not send it. Think of a way to reword the message before creating an avoidable miscommunication.

HR Shield is committed to helping improve office atmospheres everywhere.  From HR best practices and basic office protocol to benefits and taxes, we’re here to help. Need more support than our weekly blog? Count on HR Shield for all the human resource support you need—when you need it. Call today to learn about the HR Shield membership options at (877) 636-9525 or contact us for more information.