Benefits Benchmarks: North Central Alabama

A few weeks ago, I asked the question “Are Employees Utilizing Those New Perks?” and highlighted benchmarking as a critical activity for evaluating workplace benefits. Now, we have the published results from the 2022 North Central Alabama Wage & Benefit Survey! First up, Average Benefit-Cost Per Employee (Annual) increased 25% over 2021. Employers reported an average of $16,608 spent annually per employee in benefits, compared to $12,459 one year ago. Some hot categories for increased benefits spending are Child Care Support, Adoption Support, Pet Insurance, and Elder Care Support. These types of benefits are increasingly attractive, and the Huntsville/Madison County

Are You Misclassifying Employees?

The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case that could have a big impact on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the classification of employees as exempt versus non-exempt. The case of Hewitt v. Helix Energy Sols. Grp., Inc. involves a highly compensated oil rig worker who was paid a weekly “salary” and upon his termination sued Helix for unpaid overtime on the basis that he was not paid an annual salary and therefore was not an exempt employee. The outcome of this case could impact employers who pay a daily or weekly “salary” as well as those

Crafting a Thoughtful Performance Management System

I recently asked a room full of managers representing dozens of organizations if they actually liked their own company’s performance management system. What do you think they said?  Some of us may think of Performance Management as a rubber stamp on an annual review. We often don’t think of it as a living, breathing, system. Others of us may think of Performance Management as monitoring what we’re doing wrong. We may not think of it as monitoring and developing what we’re doing right.  When an organization thoughtfully designs, implements, and continuously improves a performance management system, it should look like

Are Employees Utilizing Those New Perks?

Organizations have been extra creative lately with new benefit offerings and retention strategies. Is it working? Are employees utilizing those new perks and sticking around? Yes and no. SHRM explored the issue nationally, and our team has some local insight from the 2021 and 2022 North Central Alabama Wage & Benefit Survey.  Aon reported in April that enrollment in voluntary benefits increased 41% from the previous year. Most of the increases were tied to medical benefits, as to be expected, but some may be surprising:  The fastest-growing voluntary benefits employees enrolled in amid the COVID-19 pandemic include supplemental health insurance

1099’s – The Cost of Misclassification

In the last few weeks, I have come across multiple cases of employers hiring individuals as independent contractors in violation of the IRS guidelines. Some have done so because they aren’t aware of or don’t understand the IRS guidelines and/or state regulations and some have done so knowingly. Either way, none are aware of the potential risk of misclassifying workers as independent contractors and just how costly such a mistake can be to their organization.  The IRS has a 20-Factor Test to help organizations determine if a worker meets the requirements to be an independent contractor. You can read more

Is Your Organization In the Learning Zone?

Over the past few years, I’ve spoken with a lot of organizations about the importance of psychological safety. A 2012 study by Google showed that psychological safety is far and away the most important factor of a team’s success, yet many organizations lack the psychological safety required to be successful.  A few years ago, I worked with a client that was going through some major changes and employee morale was at rock bottom. As I began speaking with employees one theme stood out, employees didn’t feel safe speaking up. There were a number of reasons for this, including the fact

Are Your Company Policies Holding You Back?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my almost 20-year career in HR it’s that the world of HR is ever-changing. And while sometimes we all sit back and take a big sigh and think “not again”, it’s a good thing. Change allows us to grow and adapt. But are there policies that we are holding on to because we’ve always done it that way or everyone else is doing it that way?  In this time of the “Great Resignation”, I find myself thinking about what could be changed to make the biggest impact. Not only in the short-term to

Is Your Recruiting Strategy to Screen People In or Out?

I was taught how to recruit, well really screen people for jobs, before I even graduated college.  Working for a large insurance company as a summer intern between my junior and senior year, I was given a glimpse into the world of corporate recruiting.  It really wasn’t recruiting. Everyone on this corporate “recruiting” team was welcoming to me and they divided the selection process up amongst the “recruiters” to show me how it was done.  I was taught that the process of selection, “recruiting” as they called it, was screening people out, not in.   Yes, we needed to make a

Employment Law Update

2021 was a roller coaster ride when it came to labor and employment law. So what can we expect in 2022? Now that the Supreme Court has ruled against the OSHA ETS on vaccine mandates, we will see a shift back to more standard labor and employment law issues this year. The mid-term elections later in the year may impact the direction of labor and employment law as well. Political analysts are keeping a close eye on a number of states that they anticipate may flip with this election. Republicans only need one seat in the Senate and five in

Learning from K-12 Educators

“Naturally, everyone must find a way to earn a living wage, but the paycheck should not be the only motivation. Employees who are confident in their abilities and somewhat comfortable in their workplace can be highly productive. Please note that my sentence said ‘somewhat comfortable.’ We must become a bit uncomfortable to grow professionally.”  This is a quote from a K-12 Career Counselor in our latest Continuing Education Class for Facilitating Alabama Career Development: Assessments & Resumes. For the last couple of years, our team has been working with K-12 career developers throughout the state of Alabama, and one big