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Social media has become the norm in today's society.  Would you as a human resource professional utilize online social media searches on potential candidates to help in your screening and background check practices?  What is the consensus?
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For 2015, the 401(k) contribution limit for employees will increase to $18,000, and the “catch-up” contribution for those 50 and over adjusts to $6,000, with a higher total contribution limit (employer plus employee) of $53,000, the IRS announced. Here’s our look at all the defined contribution and defined benefit limit changes.

HR professionals should convey to employees their higher plan contribution limits for next year. Not all plan participants will be able to fund their 401(k) accounts up to the maximum, but the contribution ceiling is a goal they should keep in mind, and may encourage those who can defer extra dollars for their retirement savings to do so.

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High-earning employees will find more of their compensation subject to Social Security payroll (FICA) taxes in 2015, when maximum taxable pay will increase to $118,500 from $117,000.

​Before Jan. 1, U.S. employer should:

  • Adjust their payroll systems to account for the higher taxable maximum under the Social Security portion of FICA.
  • Notify affected employees that more of their paychecks will be subject to FICA.

The portion of the Social Security FICA tax that employees pay remains unchanged at the 6.2 percent withholding rate up to the taxable maximum. Correspondingly, the portion of the tax that employers cover also remains at 6.2 percent of employee wages up to the taxable maximum.

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If you think you have figured out some clever scheme to terminate older workers and hire younger ones to lower your benefits costs you might want to think about it again.  Rather than expound in great detail I offer the article provided by Proskaur.

Here’s the deal – as much as any of us may dislike or disagree with the ACA it is law and it will continue to implement. You need to understand the economics that drive this law and prepare for a changing business environment.

And now if you have nothing else to do you can consider this.

Let’s start with good old Mom who told me when I wanted  anything – “Bill you can have anything you want but first you need to tell me how you plan to pay for it?” “You pay for it Mom!” was never the answer! 

And my economics professor who said “If you understand nothing else understand that money in must be bigger than money out!”

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Consulting : employee benefits, reduce benefit costs

Big data helps employers ascertain to what extent their job screening efforts contribute to successful hiring, leading to a validity conversation, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission attorney.
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This week I was tasked with understanding the use of communication audits within human resource management within my Human Resource Management Course.  The idea of a communication audit is pretty self explanatory.  Within a company, there could be many types of communication breakdowns.   As a human resource specialist you need to ask yourself these questions. Now, my question to the human resource experts out there is have you utilized communication audits within your career and if so, do you believe that they are beneficial for a successful organization?

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This week in my class with New England College of Business and Finance we are exploring the world of communications audits. We have really dove into the meaning and the overall effectiveness of these audits and we are finding that they tend to be well needed among companies. My question to this panel is:

Why do communication audits create a feeling of ease when we know that a communication audit has gone well? What makes us feel as though communication audits are needed within our workplaces? And why are communication audits so effective in making sure that the people within a company know how to communicate with each other and others outside the company?
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We realized that in 2015 we will have 27 pay periods.  How are other companies handling this? 

Benefits - Will you have one pay period where you won't take benefit deductions(medical, dental ect) or will you change your calculations to spread over 27 pay periods?
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Determine if or when your health plan will reach the cost thresholds for the 2018 excise tax, using your plan's current cost trend rate.
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The sharing economy is booming, but employers shouldn't require employees to use it on work trips, a management attorney says.
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Four lucky people received free registration to the 2014 SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference and Exposition when today’s general session speaker, Shari Slate, donated her SHRM honorarium for that purpose. She is the Cisco’s chief inclusion and collaboration officer

Those who applied were asked to write essays on diversity and inclusion as it relates to HR.

Winners are:

  • Gavin Maestri, a junior at Junior at Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU) studying management with a concentration in HR. He also is treasurer of the school’s student SHRM chapter.
  • Emily St Andre, a student in SLU’s MBA program.
  • Jonathan Johnson, a student in SLU’s MBA program.
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Yes it is really a big deal! And it extends to how you talk about it.

A few days ago I answered a question about insurance and using a Nanny in your house. My response was posted to a chat board and I was taken to task by an attorney for using the terminology "1099 employee". And she was correct.

I know better but  I had made a quick response about the need to properly insure for those who work in your house or business and referred to two classes of "providers of service" - employees and 1099 contractors. But - I referred to the 1099 contractors as '1099 employees."

You might ask "Everybody I know says that, is there really a big difference?

The answer would be a resounding "Yes" and here is why. If you call them "Employees" they are not "contractors" and the difference can cost you a great deal. I explained this to an employer that has the term used in this manner in an employee announcement "If you are a full time employee you will be offered employee benefits, if you are a 1099 employee you will not be offered those benefits as you are not eligible."

Read more

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Benefits : 1099, aca regulations, w2


I was asked to reach out to see if anyone offers child care or company subsidy for child care costs.  If it is offered, what are the policies pertaining to length of time an employee has to be with the company?  For how long would the company provide this to the employee?  Were / are there any issues that you have come across with this type of program

Thanks for your input

Caren Akers
Human Resource Director
Frenchman's Creek Beach and Country Club
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Hello all,

This week we are completing a Capability audit on a Human Resources worker that we are interviewing. I feel that I have a grasp on what this means, but I want to make sure that I am completing this correctly. Below I have a list of questions and answers that from the audit and I would like to know if I am pushing the right questions to receive the answers that I am looking for.

Is the HR representative that I am interviewing individually technical.
Does the HR representative push themselves to increase their technical expertise within the role that they are currently working in? I feel that this question is very good to have for the individual because if they are not pushing themselves, it is likely that they are also not pushing their team members either.

The next item I have is an individual social calling. Does the HR representative also have a social leadership quality to them? I feel that this is important because they would not be leading their team if they are not social and able to bring out innovative ideas from their workers. 

Does the HR representative work with a company that is competent? I feel that this question is valid because if the HR representative is not being directed in a way that they are going to be able to get answers for their questions, it is likely that they could be doing their job incorrectly and not even know it.
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I'm learning what capability audits are and trying to figure out how they pertain to HR. My question is do you think capability audits need to be set in place every 6 months to a year? Do you think some companies need to have planned audits or "surprise" audits?

I think capability audits are good ways to make sure the company is doing what their suppose to do on a regular basis. I don't think anything should be hidden when issues arise and that issues should be taken into learning from your mistakes and move on.

Audits need to be done to make sue companies are up to par on everything and also to make sure that nothing is dropped and customer service is in high standards.
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Creating organisations, divisions and teams that have a balance of different thinking are way more successful than those that don't – and we'll talk about some of the research on that shortly. BUT – understanding diversity and inclusion and making it happen day in, day out – are 2 very different things. The action – the stuff where the rubber hits the road – takes enormous courage.

I work with executives and leaders from all over. I find that the large majority understand diversity from an intellectual perspective – because it just makes good business sense. However, I see many executives feeling nervous and unsure of the actions they must take. And I see a small few who have the courage of lions – and they spring into action. They understand that this is about cultural change – and its not always going to be popular.

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     I oversee benefits for an <50 group currently going through the annual  Open Enrollment season--our first with PPACA compliant plans.  
     We're working with our broker and carrier to simplify communications with our employees regarding the new "average premiums" permitted by our carrier.  Our existing OE presentations are quite good, but I'd like to integrate the new concepts in the simplest way.  Our broker provided some skeletal information, but we tend to be fairly buttoned up and comprehensive with Open Enrollment materials because our employees keep and refer to them. 

     Are any other HR Directors engaged in developing materials to clearly communicate premium sharing concepts to employees? Has anyone seen a particularly meaningful or compelling or even cutting edge presentation that you are able to share with me?  Thanks!
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My firm plans to pick up our search for Managing Directors and I wanted your opinion on Executive Searches today. 

With all the new types of channels for recruiting, wanted to know if anyone has seen or heard of much changing in how to go about searching for Executives?  I've only known either tapping into network of people you know or hiring agency to find someone.

Is there new trend in how companies go about with these type of searches for more senior positions?

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