What are your employees thinking?

Want to know what your employees are thinking? Ask them…

Employee engagement and retention are particularly hot topics, and businesses are rushing to support it by instituting changes simply because other companies are doing it. But changing company policy on the basis of a trend may not be the best choice for your company.

Consider this example: A lot of companies jumped on the concept of open floor plans in the hopes of encouraging teamwork and collaboration. It didn’t always have the intended results. A 2018 Harvard Business School study found that open offices reduced face-to-face interaction by 70%. That’s far from what companies wanted to happen.

Engage and Retain Employees

Surveying your employees directly is a better way to determine what your company needs to do to engage and retain employees. There’s one caveat to conducting this type of survey: you need to be willing to do something with the results. You don’t have to make all the changes suggested by the survey results, but you do need to make a good faith effort respond. If the results simply go into a metaphorical circular file, they will reinforce any negative perceptions about how your company’s leaders view their employees.

Identify Your Goal

There is a process to conducting an employee survey. First, you need to decide your goal. Suppose you want to find out which perks are most important to your employees. Design survey questions to measure that. It may be best to do several surveys throughout the year with each focusing on one or two topics in areas you are ready to commit to improving.

Next, you need to decide how the survey will be conducted (e.g., SurveyMonkey or company intranet), how long the survey will be, whether anonymous responses will be allowed and whether you want to ask open-ended questions or limit the survey to yes-or-no, sliding-scale or multiple choice answers.

Gather Essential Information

Finally, you need to write questions that provide essential information. This is where the rubber meets the road. Generally, it’s a good idea to (1) limit the number of questions and (2) group your questions into categories. Here are some sample questions:

Culture:

  • Is the company is living up to its mission and values?
  • Do you and your co-workers all feel protected against discrimination?
  • Does the company’s culture align with your personal values?

Job satisfaction:

  • Are your work responsibilities clearly defined?
  • Is there opportunity to grow in your job?
  • Are learning opportunities readily available?
  • How transparent are communications with your manager?
  • Do you believe your manager treats everyone fairly?
  • Do your colleagues communicate openly and freely?
  • Are job-related questions treated respectfully?
  • Do you get the feedback you need to continue learning and growing?

Workplace satisfaction:

  • Are you satisfied with your workspace?
  • Do you have the resources you need to perform at your highest level?
  • Does this feel like a best place to work?

Benefits and perks:

  • Do you have enough vacation time?
  • Do you have an adequate number of personal/sick days?
  • Rank the company’s benefits in order of preference.

Copyright 2020

Get to know Atlantic Payroll Partners

At Atlantic Payroll Partners we believe we are the best, local payroll provider to help you grow your business. Even more than that. We’re a Professional Employment Organization that offers an incredible suite of solutions for your business. In addition to offering payroll services we offer,

Our solution suite is back by over 100 years of combined experience in the PEO space.

We’re proud to say that we’ve helped businesses reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, make more money, and lighten their daily load by working with us. Our clients can offer their employees’ health care benefits, and access to the same 401k plans that the Fortune 500 companies use without breaking the bank.

We welcome you to continue exploring our website, to learn more about Atlantic Payroll Partners and how we can help improve your business. 

"Work Less, Fish More"

5 Signs of a Toxic Workplace

A recent survey of 40,000 workers at 125 companies conducted by Emtrain reported some eye-opening statistics about toxic workplaces. For example, the survey found that:

  • 83 percent of employees wouldn’t report harassment,
  • 41 percent of employees aren’t confident management would take harassment complaints seriously, and
  • 29 percent of employees surveyed have left jobs because of workplace conflict.

Let’s dive into the 5 signs of a toxic workplace. A Toxic workplace is defined as workplaces that cause employees to feel stressed, depressed and drained. The workplace makes them unhappy about coming to work every day. It makes them less productive, affects other employees and ultimately take an economic toll on the company. If not addressed this can become a vicious cycle.

Companies can take the following steps to prevent a cycle of toxicity:

1. Frequent, clear communication. 

The importance of good communications cannot be overemphasized. Communication by grapevine gives rise to gossip and false rumors that breed anxiety. Whether the news is good (say, a company expansion or a promotion) or bad (layoffs), your company will fare much better if the news comes from company leaders rather than the company grapevine.

2. Productive meetings.

What are your meetings really like? Is the speaker the only one speaking? Do all employees feel free to contribute or only a few? Do company leaders understand what the clusters of employees who congregate before or after meetings are discussing? When company leaders pay attention to these sorts of occurrences, they can uncover toxic behaviors that are detrimental to the entire company.

3. Performance reviews. 

Another area in which company leaders can act to thwart toxicity is a clear policy regarding performance. Waiting for an annual performance review to provide feedback can prevent an underperformer from modifying his or her behavior in a timely way. The consequences can be severe: necessary work must be done by another employee or people don’t get credit for their ideas or the quality or quantity of their work. These underperformers may be acting in perfectly good faith. They simply may not realize they aren’t meeting expectations.

4. Political speech. 

Our country is pretty divided politically, and this can cause issues in the workplace. Company leaders can handle this with a one-sentence directive: the only permitted political statement is an “I voted” sticker. Similarly, if your company’s waiting area has a television, stay away from the news. Ensure that the tv is turned to something that doesn’t promote conflict, like sports or cooking. Note, however, that a blanket exclusion against certain kinds of talk can be tricky — some things can be banned and some can’t, so consult with an expert before creating a company policy.

5. Harassment. 

Any kind of harassment — sexual, racial, religious, LGBTQ — should not be tolerated the workplace. You need a clear company policy with no exception. The statistics cited earlier, however, indicate that most employees feel unsafe reporting harassment even with a stated policy. In addition to providing anti harassment training, company leaders should model good behavior, actively discourage any actions that disparage any group and enforce the consequences of the company’s anti harassment policies, as warranted.

Improving communication, reviewing performance and ensuring a workplace free of politics and harassment can go a long way toward reducing conflict. For more help creating a conflict-free workplace, reach out to us today via message or call us at 772-466-0440 at regarding the 5 signs of a toxic workplace or another issue you would like to discuss.

 

Copyright 2020

About Atlantic Payroll Partners

At Atlantic Payroll Partners we believe we are the best, local payroll provider to help you grow your business. Even more than that. We’re a professional employment organization that offers an incredible suite of solutions for your business. In addition to offering payroll services we offer, full-service HR, workers’ compensation, accounting, and health care benefits. Our solution suite is back by over 100 years of combined experience in the PEO space.

We’re proud to say that we’ve helped businesses reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, make more money, and lighten their daily load by working with us. Our clients can offer their employees’ health care benefits and access to the same 401k plans that the Fortune 500 companies use without breaking the bank.

We welcome you to continue exploring our website, to learn more about Atlantic Payroll Partners and how we can help improve your business. We do our job, so that you can focus on yours.

Four Steps to Building an Effective Team

Leaders can’t succeed without a strong team behind them. This is true whether your company is a startup with one employee who is relying on a few outside advisers or the CEO of a large company with thousands of employees.

The key to team-building is to leave your ego at the door and accept that some people will be smarter than you. People will have better ideas for moving forward or understand a complex idea you are having trouble grasping. That is, in fact, the concept behind why great leaders intentionally build strong teams: high-performing teams value individual contributions.

Team-building is a process. Whether you are the leader of a large company or a company of one, following are four steps to building an effective team:

1. Hire the Right People

Hiring the right people for the job is critical. Among the questions you should ask yourself is, “Would I be comfortable delegating some of my responsibility to this person?” Trust is hard to define, but it’s a critical element of team-building.

2. Orient New Team Members

When teams first come together, they experience a honeymoon period. They can do anything that is asked of them. Good leaders recognize that this is unrealistic. New teams or existing teams with new members are just coming together. It is the leader’s job to define the scope of work the team is responsible for, set any necessary timelines, describe each team member’s role, identify responsibilities and monitor how the team is performing. The leader must watch for conflicts that can affect how well the team is evolving as a unit.

3. Communicate with the Team

Communicating with and motivating the team is a big part of all leaders’ duties. The leader needs to regularly communicate progress on goals and changes to timelines or responsibilities while simultaneously motivating the team. The best way to motivate the team is by conveying the message that team members are working together on a task. It may be a subtle difference, but this is not the same message as everyone working individually on the same task.

This is the easy part of the communication function. The more difficult part is ensuring that the team is acting in unison. Teams are made up of people, and everyone is different. Some people are confrontational and assertive, whereas others are more inclined to listen than to speak up. Most teams have members in each camp. A good leader is able to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and everyone’s contributions are acknowledged.

In a worst-case scenario, someone may be disgruntled and leave the company. If this happens, the leader has to be straightforward and clear in communicating the reasons to the team. When that person is replaced, the leader must closely monitor how the new person fits in with the other team members.

4. Support Team Growth and Evolution

When the team first gets together, the leader’s focus is on overseeing progress and performance. Everyone on the team is an individual at the beginning, and everyone wants to prove themselves. After a while, this changes. Team members work together more easily as they grow more confident in their roles. They truly begin working as a team. This is what team leaders strive for. It is at this point trust has been established and the leader can confidently delegate responsibility.

We offer Human Resource Solutions and can help you build an effective team for your business.

Copyright 2020

About Atlantic Payroll Partners

At Atlantic Payroll Partners we believe we are the best, local payroll provider to help you grow your business. Even more than that. We’re a professional employment organization that offers an incredible suite of solutions for your business. In addition to offering payroll services we offer, full-service HR, workers’ compensation, accounting, and health care benefits. Our solution suite is back by over 100 years of combined experience in the PEO space.

We’re proud to say that we’ve helped businesses reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, make more money, and lighten their daily load by working with us. Our clients can offer their employees’ health care benefits and access to the same 401k plans that the Fortune 500 companies use without breaking the bank.

We welcome you to continue exploring our website, to learn more about Atlantic Payroll Partners and how we can help improve your business. We do our job, so that you can focus on yours.

The Process of Terminating an Employee

The process of terminating an employee should not be taken lightly. Improper handling can lead to unpleasant results, such as the employee suing the company. It’s therefore vital that you follow the law when firing or laying off an employee. Luckily, Atlantic Payroll Partners offers Full-Service HR to deal with terminating an employee and many of HR processes. APP can provide valuable insight for letting someone, when the time comes you’ll be confident in the future outcome.

“At-Will” Employment

Employment is “at will” in most states—meaning, either the employer or the employee can end the employment relationship at any time, for any reason. The employer, however, cannot fire the employee for an illegal reason.

Unlawful Reasons to Fire an Employee

The following reasons constitute unlawful terminations:

  • Discrimination. Federal anti-discrimination laws protect employees from being fired because of their race, national origin, gender, religion, genetic information, disability, or age (if the employee is over 40 years old). Federal law also prohibits most employers from firing an employee because of pregnancy or a medical condition linked to pregnancy or childbirth. Many states have their own anti-discrimination laws, which, in some cases, provide broader protections for employees than federal law.
  • Retaliation. An employee cannot be fired for engaging in certain protected activities, such as reporting his or her employer’s illegal activity to a federal or state agency. The employee also cannot be fired for filing a discrimination claim against his or her employer.
  • OSHA Complaints. It is unlawful to fire employees for reporting non-compliant work conditions to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act agency.
  • Alien Status. Employers cannot use an employee’s alien status as the basis for the firing—provided the employee has the legal right to work in the United States.
  • Other Reasons. Employers generally cannot fire an employee for refusing to take a lie detector test, and in many states, it is unlawful to fire an employee for reasons that are morally or ethically wrong to most people, such an employee’s refusal to commit an illegal act for the employer.

Layoffs

According to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, applicable employers must provide at least 60 days’ written notice in cases of mass layoffs or plant closings affecting 50 or more employees at a single worksite.

Employment Contracts

Will the termination violate an employment contract? That’s the pivotal question here. Regardless of whether the contract is oral or written, make sure the termination will not result in you breaching the agreement.

Final Paychecks

As a general rule, employers cannot withhold an employee’s final pay. Most states have final paycheck laws that determine when terminated workers should be paid. In some cases, the time frame depends on the employee’s industry and whether he or she was fired or laid off.

State law may dictate whether unused vacation or paid time off should be paid upon termination,  the method for disbursing final wages, and the types of deductions that can be made from the last paycheck. Other potential areas of examination include employment contracts and company policies that address final or post-employment wages.

Employment termination is a sensitive process that can have long-lasting effects on both the employee and the organization. Therefore, you may need legal counsel along the way. Call us today for additional guidance on proper terminations.

About Atlantic Payroll Partners

At Atlantic Payroll Partners we believe we are the best, local payroll provider to help you grow your business. Even more than that. We’re a professional employment organization that offers an incredible suite of solutions for your business. In addition to offering payroll services we offer, full-service HR, workers’ compensation, accounting, and health care benefits. Our solution suite is back by over 100 years of combined experience in the PEO space.

We’re proud to say that we’ve helped businesses reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, make more money, and lighten their daily load by working with us. Our clients can offer their employees’ health care benefits and access to the same 401k plans that the Fortune 500 companies use without breaking the bank.

We welcome you to continue exploring our website, to learn more about Atlantic Payroll Partners and how we can help improve your business. We do our job, so that you can focus on yours.

How Much Do Employers Spend on Benefits?

Offering competitive benefits is essential in a tight labor market. However, going overboard is sure to put a dent in your profit margin. The objective is to provide competitive and affordable benefits. This can be achieved by gleaning, or bench-marking, how much other employers are paying for benefits. How Much Do Employers Spend on Benefits?

Average cost of employee benefits

We took at a look at a report released on March 19, 2019. According to that report, employers paid an average of $34.05 per hour per employee. Of that amount, $23.85 (70%) went toward wages and salaries, and $10.20 (30%) accounted for benefits.
Specifically:

  • Insurance = 8% of wages; health insurance accounted for 7.5%.
  • Paid leave = 7.2% of wages.
  • Defined contribution plans (such as 401k) = 2.3% of wages.
  • Defined benefit plans (such as a pension) = 1.6% of wages.
  • Supplemental pay (such as non-production bonuses) = 3.2% of wages.
  • Legally required benefits (such as workers’ compensation) = 7.7% of wages.

Average cost of benefits administration

Administration is an intrinsic component of employee benefits, and it costs money.
A 2018 survey by Ernst & Young lists the average labor and non-labor costs for the following employee benefits tasks:

  1. On-boarding.
  2. Benefits enrollment.
  3. Training.
  4. Expense management.
  5. Time management.
  6. Separation/termination.

A few conclusions from the survey:

  • To obtain or provide plan documents and summaries for employees, employers spend an average of $12.07 in labor costs and $1.72 in non-labor costs — such as for printing, copying and postage.
  • To review or approve PTO requests, the average labor cost is $11.27. This task has no average non-labor cost.
  • To process benefit issues — such as COBRA and retirement — at termination, the average labor cost is $11.36, and the average non-labor cost is $.0.32.

The report asserts that adopting full-service human capital management technology is key to reducing labor and non-labor benefits administration costs.

Employee benefits as a strategic tool

This third aspect of employee benefits benchmarking is about understanding how employers are leveraging benefits to recruit and retain talent.
For example, how many employers offer the same benefits as you do? How do these benefits impact recruitment, retention and overall company performance? Which benefits are most popular in your industry? How are employers granularly allocating benefits costs?

In response to the last question, the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2018 Employee Benefits survey concludes that 83% of organizations share health care costs with their employees, while 16% pay the full amount. In addition, 18% of companies “charge a higher premium for health care coverage of employees who smoke.”

Benefits during a pandemic

The world has changed drastically since we first released this blog in January of 2020. In the United States at the time of this update the unemployed are currently getting additional benefits from the Federal Government. The additional $600 a week to help with the unprecedented unemployment from COVID-19 is set to run out of 7/31/2020. Our question to business owners is simple, how do you plan on standing out when people start looking for work again? If you’re not already offering benefits now is the time to start. Benefits have been proven to help retain employees longer, increase morale, and get higher quality potential hires. A lot of business have had a difficult time appealing to new hires, who potentially can earn more at home. Offering benefits can help appeal to new talent more quickly.

Get support…

We at Atlantic Payroll Partners would be happy to review your benefit options with you to ensure that you aren’t overspending and that you are remaining competitive in today’s market, feel free to contact us today for more information.

 

Copyright 2020

About Atlantic Payroll Partners

At Atlantic Payroll Partners we believe we are the best, local payroll provider to help you grow your business. Even more than that. We’re a professional employment organization that offers an incredible suite of solutions for your business. In addition to offering payroll services we offer, full-service HR, workers’ compensation, accounting, and health care benefits. Our solution suite is back by over 100 years of combined experience in the PEO space.

We’re proud to say that we’ve helped businesses reduce employee turnover, increase revenue, make more money, and lighten their daily load by working with us. Our clients can offer their employees’ health care benefits and access to the same 401k plans that the Fortune 500 companies use without breaking the bank.

We welcome you to continue exploring our website, to learn more about Atlantic Payroll Partners and how we can help improve your business. We do our job, so that you can focus on yours.

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