Blogs

Compliance tips for your Small Business

As a small to mid sized employer, you may have wondered or even stressed about, what HR practices apply to your business? Here are a few things to implement and start paving the way to compliance:

1) Keep People Safe

It seems easy enough, but did you know that the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has compliance regulations in place that employers must comply with? It doesn’t matter if your are in an office or on a construction site, Non-compliance can land you with some hefty fines. A business in Colorado Springs was hit with a $61,731 fine in 2016.Would your business be able to foot a bill like that and remain viable? For many, the answer is probably and understandably, no. If you’re wondering why OSHA is so strict, here is a shocking statistic: In the United States 769 people died on the job in 2017 alone.
Start working towards safety compliance so you don’t get stuck with hefty fines after a random OSHA audit, or worse, a work site injury or fatality.
If you are a small-mid sized business, check out these free resources:

2) Required Forms, Notices and Posters

  • W-4: This form is issued by the IRS so employees can decide how their taxes will be deducted from each paycheck. This form has an expiration date and will need to be updated when the new version is released. Form: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf
  • Labor Law Posters: Labor law posters need to be updated when state or federal labor law changes are made. In Colorado, since minimum wage is increasing each year until 2020, we will need to replace our labor law posters every January to reflect those changes. Keep in mind minimum wage isn’t the only change that can result in a poster update. This is something you will need to stay up to date on, so you know when to update your posters.

3) Keep Good Records!

One of the most important things an employer can do is have documentation. You should have offer letters, job descriptions and employee handbooks all with signed acknowledgments from your employees. You should also keep written documentation of any formal complaint, disciplinary action or workplace accident. All of these documents will support you as an employer in the event of an unemployment claim or lawsuit.
Tip: If you collect doctor’s notes from employees- make sure those are in a separate filing cabinet or drawer than their regular employee file. This is to comply with HIPAA regulations that protect employee privacy relating to health conditions. These doctors notes should only be accessible by select people, and preferably not the employees manager.


If you’re interested in more information on employer compliance or would like to join our email list to be notified when labor law posters, forms and notices expire please visit our website www.interworkshr.com or email us at info@interworkshr.com

Blogs

Navigating sexual harassment claims in your small business

Sexual harassment claims are on the upswing in 2017, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon. It’s not a matter of if a harassment claim is made, its when. Small businesses are expected to protect employees against sexual harassment as much as larger employers. If you fail to do so, it can lead to costly litigation and a bad reputation for your business.


Here are a few tips to help you navigate a harassment claim:


1) Investigate

Harassment investigations are necessary for many reasons, but the number one reason is of course- you need to determine if a claim has merit before reprimanding or firing the individual the claim is made against. On the other side of the coin, you need to determine the extent of the harassment and if any other employees are involved.
This is serious business, and the actions steps in an investigation shouldn’t be taken lightly.

2) You need a neutral party

If you feel uncomfortable conducting the investigation, consider hiring a third party. This is important because the investigation isn’t about picking a side, it’s about uncovering the truth about the situation. If you have a neutral investigator, they won’t have working relationships with the parties involved and will be much less likely to have a bias.
An investigation will require interviewing the parties involved and any witnesses. You may find better results if the employees can speak with a neutral party versus their boss. Employees may feel their job may be threatened if they report indemnifying information about another employee, especially if the person in question is someone of authority.
We recommend hiring an HR firm like interworksHR to do this. Leave it to the pros to make sure the right steps are taken and your business is protected.

3) Documentation

Make sure to have the claimant give you a detailed statement in writing. Give them a private area in the workplace to complete this. You will also need to take detailed notes of your interviews throughout the investigation (with alleged harasser and any potential witness). Collect any other written statements and any other forms, correspondence or evidence related to the complaint.
Keep this information in a separate file, labeled “Confidential”. This file should be stored away from the regular personnel files to limit access by other employees.

4) Don’t jump to conclusions

A course of action should only be made once the investigation is complete and all the facts have been gathered.

5) Keep it confidential

One reason why some employee’s are hesitant to report harassment complaints is because of the rumor mill. To prevent gossip in your workplace keep details of the claim as confidential as possible. Only share information that is absolutely relevant to the person you are interviewing, and make to explain the information you share is 100% confidential. If you find out employee’s have been gossiping about the harassment compliant, call them in for a meeting and request that they stop immediately.


For free a Harassment Investigation Checklist and Investigation Interview Form, email: info@interworkshr.com

Blogs

How to reduce turnover in your small business

As a small business, hanging on to valuable employees can sometimes prove to be difficult. Business owners often become discouraged by their employee’s leaving for things they feel they cannot provide; better pay, benefits or a retirement plan. The good news is, there are ways to avoid turnover, even if you’re a small business.


1) Communication is key

Encourage communication throughout your business. When employee’s know whats going on and whats expected of them, they will spend less time being frustrated and more time being productive. Seek out ways to streamline communication, such as email, chat or implement a daily staff meeting.


People are happier in general if they feel their thoughts and opinions are heard, this is no different in the workplace. If an employee approaches you with an idea, take the time to hear them out. Even if the idea isn’t something you can implement right away, you will gain the insight of a different perspective and your employee will appreciate that you took the time to listen.


Employee’s are usually the ones on the front lines and have first hand knowledge of whats working and what’s a drain on your business-maybe take it a step further and include an “ideas and feedback” segment to your staff meetings.


2) Engagement

Keeping employee’s engaged is seemingly an uphill battle, but it may be easier to achieve this as a small business over a large one.


As a small business owner, you’ve probably developed a relationship with each employee. If you haven’t yet, try and find the time. It’s something as little having a quick conversation to get to know them. When an employee has a connection to their boss and co-workers, they will be more connected to the business and are more likely to come to work.


Communicate your mission, and often. Employee’s that are aware of the mission will be more engaged in driving that mission forward. Make each person feel they play a vital role on a day to day basis, as well as with long term objectives.

3) Foster Growth

What’s the old saying? if you’re not growing you’re dying? As a small business your training resources may be limited, but not impossible. Your employee’s want to learn and grow with your business.


Seek out ways to continue employee growth beyond the new hire training routine. Continued learning can be flexible, depending on what works for you: reading, webinars, one on one coaching with you, a manager or hired trainer- any way is the right way. Your employee’s will be more engaged and they will also pick up invaluable skills that will ultimately serve your business’s success.

4) Give them some responsibility

People feel valuable when they have responsibilities. This may mean you have to let go of some of your own tasks and delegate! Even if it’s a small job, if you have a good reliable employee recognize that by giving them your confidence.


By adding on some important tasks, this will also help your employees avoid burning out. If you can assign your workers a varied list of tasks it will help keep them engaged versus a mundane routine that could lead to a disengaged unhappy employee.

5) Outsource your benefits

Ever wonder how on earth a small business can compete with big corporate benefits? Well, you’re in luck because we’ve got the answer. And it’s affordable.

Professional employer organizations have been around for quite awhile, but unfortunately the industry just isn’t commonly known. PEO’s are a fantastic solution and many small businesses are utilizing them because they can make up for the options and support a small business my be lacking.


A PEO provides solutions that help manage other company’s human resources, employee benefits, compliance and payroll. A PEO works through a co-employment arrangement or “employee leasing”.


PEO’s aggregate small businesses employees into one large group, and negotiate better rates with insurance companies. This allows small businesses to offer large group benefits for affordable rates. This can all be accomplished by hiring a PEO for a low monthly service fee.
For more information on PEO’s, contact us at: info@interworkshr.com