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  • The Role of Trust in Non-Profit and Community Benefit Organizations

    When it comes to non-profit and community benefit organizations, trust stands as a cornerstone of success, sustainability, and impact. These organizations, dedicated to serving the public good, rely heavily on the confidence and support of various stakeholders, from donors and volunteers to the communities they serve. FIC Human Resource Partners regularly works with non-profits and has identified insights into the multifaceted importance of trust for these organizations, exploring how it influences every aspect of their operations and effectiveness. For non-profit and community benefit organizations, trust is not just a nice-to-have asset; it is a strategic imperative that influences every aspect of their operations and impact. From fundraising and volunteer engagement to program effectiveness and long-term sustainability, trust acts as a force multiplier, enhancing an organization's ability to fulfill its mission. In an era of increasing scrutiny and competition for resources, organizations that prioritize building and maintaining trust will find themselves better positioned to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and create lasting positive change in the communities they serve. The journey to building trust is ongoing and requires consistent effort, transparency, and a genuine commitment to ethical practices and mission fulfillment. By recognizing trust as a core value and strategic priority, non-profit and community benefit organizations can enhance their impact, ensuring that they not only survive but thrive in their noble pursuits of social good. Trust: The Foundation of Relationships Donor Trust: The Lifeblood of Non-Profits At the heart of every non-profit's ability to function lies its relationship with donors. Trust is the invisible yet powerful force that compels individuals, corporations, and foundations to part with their resources for a cause. When donors trust an organization, they are not merely giving money; they are investing in a vision and a promise of positive change. Consider the case of the American Red Cross, which faced a crisis of trust following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Allegations of mismanagement of funds led to a significant drop in donations. The organization's subsequent efforts to rebuild trust through increased transparency and accountability demonstrate the direct link between trust and financial support. Community Trust: The Key to Effective Service For community benefit organizations, the trust of those they serve is paramount. When communities believe in an organization's mission and methods, they are more likely to participate in programs, provide crucial feedback, and become advocates for the cause. The success of community health initiatives, for instance, often hinges on trust. The Harlem Children's Zone in New York City has achieved remarkable results in education and health outcomes largely due to the deep trust it has built within the community over decades of consistent, transparent, and effective work. Funding and Sustainability The Trust-Donation Nexus Trust is not just about attracting donations; it's about sustaining them. Organizations that consistently demonstrate trustworthiness through transparent reporting, efficient use of resources, and measurable impact are more likely to retain donors and attract larger contributions over time. The GuideStar Seal of Transparency is a prime example of how trust translates into funding. Non-profits that earn this seal by providing comprehensive information about their finances and impact often report increased donations and grant opportunities. Grants and Institutional Funding For many non-profits, grants from foundations and government agencies form a significant portion of their funding. These institutions have rigorous vetting processes and ongoing reporting requirements. An organization's track record of trustworthiness, often demonstrated through financial audits, program evaluations, and governance practices, can be the deciding factor in securing these crucial funds. Volunteering and Engagement The Volunteer-Trust Relationship Volunteers are the heroes of the non-profit world, providing invaluable labor and expertise. Trust plays a dual role here: volunteers must trust the organization to use their time effectively, and organizations must trust volunteers with responsibilities that directly impact their mission. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity have built global networks of volunteers based on a foundation of trust. Their transparent model, where volunteers can see the direct impact of their work, has been key to their ability to mobilize large numbers of people for their cause. Community Involvement and Program Efficacy Trust is a precursor to genuine community involvement. When community members trust an organization, they are more likely to participate in programs, provide honest feedback, and become active partners in achieving the organization's goals. The success of micro-finance initiatives in developing countries, such as those pioneered by the Grameen Bank, hinges on trust within communities. These programs work because community members trust each other and the organizing body to honor commitments and work towards collective betterment. Reputation Management The Currency of Public Image In the non-profit sector, reputation is currency. A trustworthy reputation attracts not only donations and volunteers but also media attention, partnerships, and political support. Conversely, a breach of trust can have devastating consequences, undermining years of work in an instant. The importance of reputation is exemplified by organizations like Charity: Water, which has built its brand on radical transparency. By allowing donors to track their contributions to specific projects and see the real-world impact, they've created a model of trust that enhances their reputation and ability to attract support. Weathering Storms: Trust as a Buffer When crises occur — whether due to external factors or internal missteps — the trust an organization has built acts as a buffer. Stakeholders who trust an organization are more likely to give it the benefit of the doubt and support it through difficult times. The United Way's recovery from a financial scandal in the early 1990s demonstrates how a reservoir of trust can help an organization rebuild. Despite significant damage to its reputation, the organization's long history of community impact and subsequent transparency efforts allowed it to regain donor confidence over time. Effective Partnerships Trust as the Bedrock of Collaboration In an increasingly interconnected world, non-profits often need to collaborate with other organizations, businesses, and government entities to achieve their goals. Trust is the lubricant that makes these partnerships work smoothly. The success of global health initiatives, such as the campaign to eradicate polio, relies on trust-based partnerships between organizations like the WHO, Rotary International, and local health authorities in various countries. Without trust, such complex, multi-stakeholder efforts would be impossible to coordinate and execute. The Network Effect of Trust Organizations that consistently demonstrate trustworthiness find it easier to build and maintain networks. These networks can provide access to resources, expertise, and opportunities that significantly enhance an organization's capacity to fulfill its mission. The growth of social enterprise networks, like the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, illustrates how trust-based connections can amplify impact. By vetting and connecting trustworthy social entrepreneurs, these networks create ecosystems of support and innovation. Accountability and Transparency The Virtuous Cycle of Operational Integrity Trust is both an input and an output of strong accountability and transparency practices. Organizations that prioritize these values create a virtuous cycle: transparency builds trust, which in turn motivates even greater transparency. The emergence of platforms like CharityNavigator and the aforementioned GuideStar has pushed non-profits towards greater transparency. Organizations that embrace this trend often find that openness about their operations, including admitting to failures and lessons learned, actually enhances stakeholder trust. Stakeholder Confidence and Engagement When stakeholders trust an organization's decision-making processes and financial management, they are more likely to engage deeply with its mission. This engagement can take many forms, from more frequent donations to advocacy on behalf of the organization. The success of crowdfunding platforms for non-profits, such as GlobalGiving, is predicated on creating transparent connections between donors and projects. By allowing donors to choose specific projects and receive updates on their impact, these platforms build trust that encourages ongoing engagement. Program Effectiveness Trust as a Catalyst for Implementation Trust can significantly reduce friction in program implementation. When communities trust an organization, they are more likely to participate in programs, follow recommendations, and provide access to necessary resources or information. Public health campaigns, such as vaccination drives, vividly illustrate this principle. In communities where health organizations have built trust, vaccination rates tend to be higher, and misinformation is less likely to take hold. The Feedback Loop of Improvement Trustworthy organizations create environments where honest feedback is valued and acted upon. This feedback is crucial for the continuous improvement of programs and services. Organizations like Acumen Fund have built trust-based models of impact investment in developing countries. By fostering open communication with the communities they serve and the social enterprises they support, they create feedback loops that lead to more effective interventions over time. Measuring Trust: A Necessity for Growth Given the central role of trust in the success of non-profit and community benefit organizations, measuring and monitoring trust levels becomes a critical task. Here are some key approaches: Regular Stakeholder Surveys : Implementing annual or bi-annual surveys that specifically assess trust levels among different stakeholder groups (donors, volunteers, beneficiaries, partners) can provide valuable insights. Transparency Reporting : Publishing regular, comprehensive reports on financials, program outcomes, and organizational challenges demonstrates a commitment to transparency and allows stakeholders to gauge trustworthiness. Independent Audits : Regular financial and operational audits by reputable third parties provide objective assessments that can bolster stakeholder confidence. Engagement Metrics : Tracking metrics such as volunteer retention rates, donor loyalty, and community participation in programs can serve as proxy indicators for trust levels. Feedback Mechanisms : Implementing robust systems for collecting and responding to feedback, such as suggestion boxes, community meetings, or digital platforms, can help organizations stay attuned to trust issues as they arise. Social Media Sentiment Analysis : Monitoring social media conversations and sentiment around the organization can provide real-time insights into public perceptions and trust levels. Partnership Assessments : Regular check-ins with partner organizations to assess the health of collaborations can provide valuable data on trust within professional networks. FIC Human Resource Partners' Methodology Given the central role of trust in the success of non-profit and community benefit organizations, measuring and monitoring trust levels becomes a critical task. FIC Human Resource Partners’ method for quantifying trust is through the use of Trust Scores.  Similar to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) used by businesses to gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction, trust scores allow us to harness stakeholder sentiments to determine the amount of trust an organization has earned. Calculating Trust Scores Trust Scores are calculated using a formula that asks community members and other stakeholders to rate their level of trust in an organization on a scale of 0-10. The trust score can range from -100 (if all respondents are untrusting) to +100 (if all respondents are trusting). A score above 0 indicates that more people trust an organization than those who distrust it, while a negative score indicates the opposite. Weighting Trust Scores To provide a more accurate assessment of trust, it's important to recognize that different stakeholder groups may have varying levels of knowledge, experience, and perception of the organization. Simple Weighted Trust Score Calculation For simple calculation of trust scores the two key groups to consider are: Service Recipients:  Individuals who have directly benefited from the organization's programs, services, or support. Aware Individuals:  People who are aware of the organization but have not directly received services or support. To account for these differences, separate Trust Scores are calculated for each group and then combined into a Weighted Trust Score. The weighting values are: Service Recipients: 0.7 Aware Individuals: 0.3 The Weighted Trust Score is calculated as follows: Weighted Trust Score = (Service Recipient Trust Score × 0.7) + (Aware Individual Trust Score × 0.3) This weighted approach offers several benefits: It accounts for different perspectives between those who have direct experience with the organization and those who don't. It reduces the impact of extreme ratings from Aware Individuals who may have limited personal experience. It provides a more comprehensive assessment of trust in the organization. It allows for targeted improvements by identifying differences between Service Recipient and Aware Individual scores. This method of calculating trust scores is good for small, local, or new organizations that are relying primarily on small community donations.  These organizations may have several larger doners, but the small quantity of these donors makes it difficult to achieve statistically meaningful impact on overall trust.  The independent score can still be useful in predicting the likelihood of recurring or increased donations among this group but may not yet reflect an accurate assessment of trust on a wider scale. Robust Weighted Trust Score Calculation For a robust Trust Score Calculation there are three key groups to consider are: Service Recipients:  Individuals who have directly benefited from the organization's programs, services, or support. Organizational Funders: Organizations and individuals who offer financial support through grants, donations, and sponsorships. Aware Individuals:  People who are aware of the organization but have not directly received services or support. To account for these differences, separate Trust Scores are calculated for each group and then combined into a Weighted Trust Score. The weighting values are: Service Recipients: 0.4 Organizational Funders: 0.4 Aware Individuals: 0.2 The Weighted Trust Score is calculated as follows: Weighted Trust Score = (Service Recipient Trust Score × 0.4) + (Organizational Funder Trust Score × 0.4) + (Aware Individual Trust Score × 0.2) This weighted approach has the additional benefit of reflecting the importance of both service recipients and funders to the organization's success and sustainability. The balanced weight between Service Recipients and Organizational Funders reflects the importance of having the trust of these two groups. Without trust among funders, the organization cannot secure the financial resources necessary to fund its mission and programs. If service recipients don't trust an organization, they will stop utilizing its services and may begin spreading detrimental sentiments throughout the community. This can ultimately impact the organization's ability to raise funds and engage the public meaningfully. The inclusion of Aware Individuals (with a weight of 0.2) ensures that public perception is also factored into the overall trust score, albeit with less emphasis than the two primary stakeholder groups. By using this weighted approach, established nonprofits with a significant number of Organizational funders can gain a nuanced understanding of their trust levels across the various stakeholder groups. This insight can guide strategic decision-making, help prioritize trust-building efforts, and ensure a balanced focus on maintaining strong relationships with both those they serve and those who support their work financially. Understanding Trust Scores Negative Trust Scores When a nonprofit's trust score dips into negative territory, it can have severe consequences for the organization's reputation, funding, and ability to carry out its mission. Understanding the causes and implications of negative trust scores is crucial for nonprofits to address issues and rebuild trust effectively. Causes of Negative Trust Scores Lack of Transparency and Accountability: Failure to openly communicate about fund usage, decision-making processes, and impact measurement can erode trust. Misuse of Funds or Resources:  Any perceived misuse of donations, grants, or resources for purposes outside the stated mission can severely damage trust. Failure to Deliver on Promises or Meet Expectations: Not providing promised services, falling short of announced goals, or failing to meet quality standards can break trust. Negative Publicity or Scandals:  High-profile scandals or controversies can quickly erode trust, even if the organization is not directly at fault. Impact of Negative Trust Scores Loss of Donor Support: Donors are less likely to continue financial support as trust erodes. Difficulty Attracting Volunteers and Staff: Organizations may struggle to attract and retain qualified personnel. Reputational Damage:  Negative perceptions can spread quickly, especially in the age of social media. Decreased Ability to Serve Constituents:  As resources and support dwindle, the organization's ability to advance its mission is diminished. The Effort Required to Rebuild Trust The level of effort required to rebuild trust depends on the severity of the negative trust score: -1 to -24:  Trust has been somewhat eroded but not severely damaged. Proactive steps over several months can likely restore trust. -25 to -49:  Trust has been significantly damaged. Rebuilding will require a concerted effort over 6-12 months or more, with full transparency and decisive action. -50 to -74:  Trust has been severely undermined. Recovery will likely take several years and may require fundamental shifts in the organization's culture, leadership, and operations. -75 to -100:  There has been a complete breakdown of trust. Rebuilding will require a herculean effort over several years, potentially involving a complete overhaul of leadership, mission, and operations. Positive Trust Scores A positive trust score indicates that a nonprofit has earned the confidence and support of its stakeholders, positioning it for sustained success in advancing its mission. Understanding the implications of positive trust scores can help organizations leverage this asset effectively. Implications of Positive Trust Scores Increased Donor Loyalty and Support:  High trust scores often lead to stronger, lasting relationships with donors, including consistent giving and larger contributions. Enhanced Ability to Attract New Supporters:  A positive trust score can serve as a powerful marketing tool, attracting new donors, volunteers, and community partners. Greater Resilience in Times of Crisis:  Organizations with a strong foundation of trust are better positioned to weather challenges such as economic downturns or leadership transitions. Increased Influence and Impact: Trusted nonprofits often have a greater voice in shaping public discourse and policy related to their mission. Strategies for Maintaining and Building Trust Prioritize Transparency:  Regularly share information about financials, decision-making processes, and impact. Demonstrate Accountability:  Maintain robust internal controls, audits, and oversight mechanisms. Engage Stakeholders Authentically:  Actively seek input and involvement from donors, volunteers, and served communities. Communicate Impact: Consistently share stories, data, and examples that illustrate the tangible difference the organization is making. Invest in Relationships:  Cultivate strong, personal connections with key stakeholders. Sustaining Trust: An Ongoing Commitment Maintaining a positive trust score requires ongoing effort and commitment. The level of effort required depends on the trust score range: +1 to +24:  Focus on consistently implementing trust-building strategies, with emphasis on transparency, accountability, and stakeholder engagement. +25 to +49:  In addition to ongoing strategies, look for opportunities to deepen relationships with key supporters and explore innovative ways to expand impact and reach. +50 to +74:  Continue to excel in all areas of trust-building while using influence and credibility to drive systemic change and collaborate with other high-performing organizations. +75 to +100:  Maintain excellence in trust-building while leveraging the organization's position to drive significant systemic change and industry leadership.

  • Exactly What Is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

    In the workplace, diversity, equity and inclusion, also known as DEI, refer to the qualities and experiences that make each person unique and how employers can use those attributes to support business goals. To truly understand diversity, equity and inclusion, you'll need to break down each term. Diversity Diversity refers to the similarities and differences among individuals. It takes all facets of personality and individual identity into account. Examples of diversity include: Race. Ethnicity. Nationality. Age. Disability. Sex. Gender Identity. Language. Generation. Neurodiversity. Sexual orientation. Religious beliefs. Veteran status. Physical characteristics. Family background. Socioeconomic status. Life experiences. Equity In the workplace, equity is about ensuring fair treatment of all employees when it comes to access, opportunity and advancement within the company. To achieve equity, employers must identify and work to remove obstacles to fair treatment, especially for historically underrepresented and marginalized communities. This requires a keen understanding of the inequities in societal systems and those present within the organization. Inclusion Inclusion refers to how welcomed, supported, valued and respected each person feels as an employee. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, "Inclusion is a two-way accountability; each person must grant and accept inclusion from others. In such an environment, every employee tends to feel more engaged and is more likely to contribute to the organization's business results." "Diversity and inclusion" has its own acronym (D&I) because they go hand in hand. Diversity offers the potential for more creativity and innovation in the workplace. In other words, when people with different characteristics put their heads together, great things can happen. But diversity needs a vehicle to realize its potential — and this is where inclusion comes in. Per the SHRM, "Inclusion is what enables organizations to realize the business benefits of this potential." In short, an inclusive workplace leverages the strengths of individuals from diverse backgrounds to effectuate positive outcomes. DEI: Not a new concept From a workplace perspective, DEI is a relatively new term. However, the practice of DEI has been around for decades. A report by AcademyHealth says DEI can be traced back to the civil rights movement in the 1960s. From the 1960s to the mid-1970s, DEI focused "on tolerance, meaning the acceptance of the integration of workplaces, schools, and communities." Then, from the mid-1970s to the 1990s, the focus switched to multiculturalism and awareness of accomplishments by different racial and ethnic minorities. In more recent years, the emphasis shifted to inclusion and equity to reflect demographic changes. As a result, DEI has expanded to include identities such as gender, religion, sexual orientation and national origin. In the workplace, DEI initiatives should be adopted strategically, with a strong commitment toward all three components. Otherwise, employers risk "going through the motions" — a recipe for inauthenticity and failure. FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Culture Academy, Nuance Culture Consulting, and Nuance Workforce Solutions can help your organization foster inclusive cultures of belonging. Signup for the newsletter

  • Things To Put in Your Job Offer Letter

    The specifics of what to include in a job offer letter will vary based on the company, the expectations for the role and details regarding the candidate. That said, it can still help to read about suggestions regarding what you should put in your job offer letter. Below are a handful of elements that can be smart to include in an offer letter regardless of the job being offered. Job title and description State the official title the candidate will hold as an employee. Provide a description of the job, including a concise overview of the job duties. Keep in mind that you do not have to list every single work duty. Simply summarize the most crucial duties and make it clear that the job duties you've included do not represent all the responsibilities of the position. Key dates Provide the expected date the candidate will begin working for your company. You can include other critical dates, like the date of a new-hire orientation meeting. You can also include an expiration date for the offer letter so the candidate knows how long they have to think about the job offer before they either accept or reject it. Including an expiration date is also a good idea because it gives you time to either negotiate with the candidate or switch gears and extend the job offer to someone else if the initial candidate turns down the job offer. Reporting structure State the name and job title of the person whom the candidate will report to directly. This will familiarize the candidate with someone in the company to whom they can turn with questions or concerns. Work schedule and location Clarify whether the position is full or part time. Include the work schedule the candidate can expect to have to adhere to, such as a start time of 8 a.m. and a stop time of 5 p.m. Also, specify the expected work location, whether it's remotely for work-from-home positions or in the office for positions that require in-person attendance. If you are offering a position that entails hybrid work, make sure you identify which days the employee will be expected to work from the office and which days they should telecommute. Be sure to also indicate whether either of these conditions is subject to change. Exempt or nonexempt classification You will need to properly classify the new hire as either exempt or nonexempt, which is a requirement mandated by federal, if not state, law. If the position is exempt, the offer letter should state that the employee is not eligible for overtime. If the position is nonexempt, the offer letter should include that the employee will be eligible for overtime as long as it is a benefit offered by the company. Take a moment to explain to candidates applying for nonexempt positions that they will need to record their work hours within your company's timekeeping system. Compensation State the pay the employee will receive and whether they can expect either an hourly wage or a salary. Include the pay frequency as well, which will typically be weekly, biweekly or semimonthly. For salaried employees, you can include both the annualized and pay period salary amounts in the job offer letter. Mention that the pay is subject to change based on various factors, such as the outcome of a performance evaluation. Additionally, describe the benefits the employee will be eligible for, like health insurance, a 401(k) plan and paid time off. You can also include applicable bonuses and commissions. At-will employment Include an at-will employment clause to emphasize to the candidate that employment can be terminated by either the employer or the employee at any time and for any legal reason. Applicable contingencies Describe the contingencies surrounding the offer, such as the need for the candidate to pass a background check, a drug test, a reference check and an employment authorization check. The offer letter should also include confidentiality or employment agreements the new hire will need to sign prior to officially becoming an employee of the company. Finally, keep in mind that there may be other state and federal regulations that will affect what you can and cannot say in an employment offer letter. Make sure you look into these, and always treat job offer letters seriously. FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions is here to assist with your organizations' recruiting and onboarding needs. Signup for the newsletter

  • The Many Facets of Management

    At first glance, it may seem that managing a multi-office company, overseeing a merger and supervising remote workers are completely different. However, at their core, all three of these duties have significant commonalities. Taking on the responsibility of any of these tasks will require you to embody a focused mindset, a knack for flexibility and unconditional empathy. As such, company leaders need to prioritize these qualities when holding a management role. As you keep reading, recognize that the three principals outlined below apply equally to all leaders, whether they are integrating a merger, operating in different locations or overseeing remote employees. The leadership team must be focused A strong leadership team is essential, to the point where it can make or break the foundation of your company's success. The best leadership team will be able to provide assistance when necessary, step in as needed and optimize streams of communication within the company. Additionally, leaders need to master the art of both building and maintaining effective communication with one other. Leaders who cannot communicate with each other will not have the capacity to speak with their staff in ways that are fruitful. Therefore, communication is key. However, communication is important not only within the leaders' specific office or business location. It transcends their teams and holds just as much importance when they are interacting with the leaders of other offices within the same company as well. High-level conversations about economics, business opportunities and industry-specific circumstances will take place between locations. As such, leaders must be equipped with the ability to communicate with fellow company leaders in a goal-oriented manner. The goals and conversations of one office might differ from those of another, but on the whole, company leaders must clearly communicate their needs and how fulfilling their goals will contribute to the entire company's overall success. The leadership team must be flexible There are going to be significant differences between offices, even if they all are part of the same company. That's because no two locations will be exactly alike, given the fact that the employees, physical addresses and customer bases will vary as a direct result of their respective locations. So, when managing multiple office locations, it is vital that leaders differentiate between what can and cannot vary across locations. Certain variables — such as the software that is used, the ways in which data is collected and the process of ordering supplies — must be kept identical across the board. Identifying what can differ between locations will make it easier for leaders to know what is mandatory versus what is flexible. For example, the size of the physical office space, any staffing issues and the amenities offered at a specific location can affect the day-to-day operations of one office without affecting the operations of another. Knowing how to address location-specific concerns is an important duty of leaders. Yet another benefit of flexibility is the ability to adjust and make changes when necessary. Finding the best way to do something will improve the efficacy of a location, which is a main goal of business. We are currently in the midst of a significant workforce shortage; therefore, it is imperative that company leaders take the time to listen to employees and take note of the changes they request. These changes can be anything. A few ideas that might be of interest are the incorporation of artificial intelligence into the business or the desire to stock up on a specific brand of coffee that people in the workplace love to drink on a daily basis. No matter the employees' suggestions or requests, being flexible in the way you're willing to acknowledge the desires of employees and make work an enjoyable place for them to be is a wise move. The leadership team must be empathetic The ability to empathize is arguably the most important skill a respectable leader can embody and offer the business. To clarify, empathy is the human ability to not only recognize that other people have feelings but also to understand how they feel. You can practice empathy by connecting with employees, hearing them out, putting yourself in their shoes and imagining what it's like to feel the way they feel. Leaders who lack empathy are not able to resonate with their employees on an emotional level, which can create a divide between managers and the rest of the company's workforce. This is a less-than-ideal outcome, so prioritizing the concerns of employees will go a long way. The bottom line is that managing merger integration, multi-office locations or remote workers is possible when you view the three tasks as having many underlying similarities. While undoubtedly there will be numerous growing pains and learning curves as you go through the process of tackling these duties, leaders who accept management positions know that adaptation and effective communication are a couple of the many keys to success. FIC Human Resource Partners offers a variety of workshops through Nuance Culture Academy to assist you in meeting your professional development goals and help you grow into a communicative, consistent, and empathetic leader within your organization. Signup for the newsletter

  • The Essentials: HR, Benefits and Payroll Checklists

    Human resources, employee benefits and payroll functions are separate yet intertwined, and checklists are essential to staying on top of your responsibilities for each one. Below are examples of what might be included in these checklists. Human resource management checklist HR department plan: Lays out the structure and operation of your human resources department. Recruiting and onboarding: Open positions, job descriptions, job postings, sourcing, interviewing, offer letters, hiring, employee handbook and new-hire training. Compensation: Salary or pay range for each position, expense reimbursements and incentive pay (e.g., bonuses, stock options, gifts and awards). Performance management: Employee performance evaluations, pay increases, pay adjustments, promotions, demotions, transfers and disciplinary actions. Employee development: Coaching, mentoring, individual development plans, ongoing training, cross training and succession planning. Health and safety: Ensuring that the workplace is free of health and safety hazards. Employee termination: The process for offboarding employees. HR internal controls and audit procedures. Take note of the federal, state and local laws that apply to each HR activity, including anti-discrimination regulations. Employee benefits management checklist Mandatory benefits: Workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, FMLA leave, paid sick leave and state disability insurance. Voluntary benefits: Paid and unpaid time off, health insurance, 401(k), health flexible spending account, health savings account, health reimbursement arrangement, dependent care assistance plan and commuter benefits. Eligibility and participation rules for each benefit program. Benefit enrollment for new hires, open enrollment for existing employees, and benefit continuation or termination for separated employees. Disclosures to plan participants: Summary plan descriptions, summaries of material modifications, annual funding notices, etc. Benefits compliance: Written plan document, Form 5500 reporting, 401(k) nondiscrimination testing, etc. Benefits internal controls and audit procedures. Take note of the federal, state and local laws that apply to each benefit activity, such as the ACA, IRC, ERISA, COBRA and EEO regulations. Payroll Management Checklist Timekeeping system and procedures for employees. Preprocessing payroll duties: Salaries, hourly rates, direct deposit forms, Form W-4s, state tax withholding forms, adjustments to employees' time, etc. Payroll processing for new hires, existing employees and terminated employees. Verification of gross-to-net calculations before issuing paychecks. Double-check salaries, hourly wages, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, mandatory and voluntary deductions, expense reimbursements, etc. Payroll tax compliance: Withholding taxes from employees' wages, depositing employee and employer payroll taxes, filing payroll tax reports and processing Form W-2s. Payroll recordkeeping for nonexempt and exempt employees. Payroll reconciliation and accounting to ensure accurate payroll transactions and general ledger entries. Payroll internal controls and audit procedures. Take note of the federal, state and local laws that apply to each payroll activity, such as minimum wage, overtime, child labor, garnishment, pay stubs, final pay and tax regulations. Keep in mind that these checklists are only examples. The details of your HR, benefits and payroll checklists will depend on your unique business structure and requirements. Reach out to FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions to help your organization manage and maintain all of its HR needs. Signup for the newsletter

  • Group Health Insurance Plans for Small Businesses: What You Should Know

    Running a small business comes with its fair share of challenges. From managing day-to-day operations to attracting and retaining talented employees, small business owners have a lot on their plate. One crucial aspect that requires careful consideration is providing healthcare benefits to employees. While individual health insurance plans are an option, group health insurance plans tailored for small businesses can offer significant advantages. In this article, we will delve into group health insurance plans, exploring what small business owners should know. What is Group Health Insurance? Group health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that employers provide to a group of individuals, typically employees and their dependents. It offers a collective health coverage, pooling resources to provide comprehensive healthcare benefits to employees at a lower cost compared to individual plans. For small businesses, group health insurance can be a valuable tool to attract and retain talent. This becomes especially important in a competitive job market where employees seek not only a competitive salary but also quality benefits. How Does Group Health Insurance Work? Group health insurance works by pooling the risk and resources of a group of individuals, often employees of a company or members of an organization. Here's how it typically works: 1. Group Formation A small business or organization decides to offer group health insurance to its employees or members. The group must meet certain eligibility criteria set by the insurance provider, such as a minimum number of participants. 2. Plan Selection The business or organization works with an insurance broker or consultant to select a group health insurance plan that meets their needs. They consider important factors, such as coverage options, cost, network of healthcare providers, and compliance requirements. 3. Premiums The employer and employees share the cost of premiums. The employer typically pays a portion of the premium, while employees contribute through payroll deductions or other agreed-upon arrangements. The premium amount is determined based on factors like number of participants, age demographics, and the chosen coverage options. 4. Enrollment Once the group health insurance plan is chosen, eligible employees or group members are provided with enrollment materials. They have a specific enrollment period during which they can choose to enroll themselves and their eligible dependents in the plan. 5. Coverage and Benefits Once enrolled, participants gain access to the healthcare benefits outlined in the group health insurance plan. These benefits may include preventive care, hospitalization, prescription medications, specialist visits, and more. The specific coverage and benefits can vary depending on the plan and any additional options chosen by the employer. 6. Network of Providers Group health insurance plans often have a network of preferred healthcare providers. Participants are encouraged to seek care from providers within the network, as they have negotiated contracts and pricing agreements with the insurance carrier. However, some plans may also offer out-of-network coverage, although with higher out-of-pocket costs for participants. 7. Claims and Administration When a participant receives medical services covered by the plan, the healthcare provider submits a claim to the insurance carrier for reimbursement. The carrier processes the claim and pays the healthcare provider according to the terms of the plan. The insurance carrier also handles administrative tasks, such as member communication, customer service, and managing the plan's financial aspects. Advantages of Group Health Insurance Plans for Small Businesses There are several benefits for small businesses that use group health insurance plans. Here are some key advantages: 1. Cost Savings One of the primary benefits of group health insurance plans is cost savings. By purchasing coverage for a group of employees, small businesses can often negotiate lower premium rates. Additionally, the cost of premiums is shared between the employer and the employees, making it more affordable for everyone involved. 2. Attracting and Retaining Talent In a competitive job market, offering robust healthcare benefits can be a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent. Group health insurance plans provide employees with access to quality healthcare services, which can enhance job satisfaction and loyalty. 3. Tax Incentives Small businesses may be eligible for certain tax incentives when offering group health insurance plans to their employees. These incentives can help offset the cost of providing healthcare benefits, making it more financially viable for small business owners. Common Group Health Insurance Plans Group health insurance typically has different plan options to accommodate the diverse needs of small businesses and their employees. Here are some common types of group health insurance plans: 1. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plans HMO plans require participants to choose a primary care physician (PCP) who acts as a gatekeeper for all healthcare services. Referrals from the PCP are needed to see specialists. HMO plans typically have a network of healthcare providers, and participants must receive care within the network, except in emergencies. 2. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plans PPO plans offer more flexibility in choosing healthcare providers. Participants can see any provider they choose, but there are financial incentives to use in-network providers. PPO plans do not require referrals to see specialists, allowing participants to seek specialized care without prior approval. 3. Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) Plans EPO plans are a hybrid between HMO and PPO plans. Like HMOs, EPO plans usually require participants to use in-network providers, but they do not require referrals to see specialists. However, unlike PPO plans, EPO plans generally do not provide any out-of-network coverage, except in emergencies. 4. Point of Service (POS) Plans POS plans combine features of HMO and PPO plans. Participants have the option to choose a primary care physician within the network and require referrals for specialist care. However, POS plans also offer some out-of-network coverage, but at a higher out-of-pocket cost to participants. Choosing the Right Plan Selecting the right group health insurance plan for your small business requires careful consideration. Factors like budget, the needs of your employees, and the network of healthcare providers should all be taken into account. Within each plan type, there can be variations in coverage levels, deductibles, co-pays, and other plan details. This is why you need a Professional Employer Organization to help you navigate the complexities of different plan options and make an informed decision. Conclusion Group health insurance plans can provide your small business with an effective means of offering comprehensive healthcare benefits to your employees. In today's fiercely competitive job market, your benefits package can be the deciding factor for top talent. Don't leave it to chance. Let the professionals at FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions handle it for you. Our team of experts is here to provide you with a wide range of HR and outsourcing solutions tailored to your needs. Contact FIC Human Resource Partners today to discover how our services can fuel the success of your company. Signup for the Newsletter

  • HR and Payroll Self-Service: Essential Features and Best Practices

    Self-service platforms let employees view and manage certain HR and payroll tasks themselves, which eases pressure on the HR or payroll team. Studies show that the vast majority of employers offer self-service HR or payroll. In National Payroll Week's 2020 "Getting Paid in America" survey, 84.45% of employees said their employer provides a self-service platform that lets them access their pay and benefits information online. Some employers, especially large corporations, may need advanced HR or payroll self-service solutions. Other employers may get by with a rudimentary platform that delivers the basics. For many employers, the following five features are essential. 1. Personal information Employees can update their: Name. Marital status. Home address. Mailing address. Phone number. Email address. Emergency contacts. 2. Payroll Employees can: Add, change or discontinue direct deposit. Review paycheck information such as gross wages, tax deductions, voluntary deductions and net pay. Print pay stubs. Update tax withholding forms, including Form W-4. There may be restrictions on submitting certain state tax information, depending on the system. Print Form W-2s. Add or change voluntary deductions. 3. Employee benefits Employees can: Enroll in benefit plans during onboarding. Add or change benefit options during open enrollment. Manage benefits year-round. Access benefits notices and documents. Receive updates on critical benefits information. 4. Time and attendance Employees can: View PTO balances. Send time-off requests to managers or supervisors. View work schedules. Update work availability. Punch in and out remotely. Check timecard data. 5. Manager self-service Managers and supervisors can: Review, edit and approve timecards. Conduct scheduling tasks. Approve or deny time-off requests. Manage salary and performance reviews. Establish performance targets. Maintain employee morale via event notifications (e.g., birthdays and anniversaries). Access information on active and inactive employees. Run workforce-related reports, such as attendance, PTO accruals and labor expenses. HR and payroll self-service best practices Identify the self-service needs specific to your organization and workforce. Understand all the cost factors that go into acquiring a self-service platform. Find a technology vendor that aligns with your self-service needs. Most payroll providers include access to a self-service portal in their services, though features vary by provider. If you perform payroll in-house, make sure your HR and payroll technology is compatible with your self-service requirements. Aim for a solution that is easy to use and enables mobile access 24/7. Be aware of any limitations that come with the self-service technology. Educate employees on the benefits of using the self-service tool. This is vital to increasing utilization and stopping employees from unnecessarily relying on the HR and payroll teams. Train employees on how to use the system correctly and where to go for help. Lastly, choose a vendor that offers well-designed training resources and dependable customer service. FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions can help your organization determine which features are most important for your HR self-service platform. Signup for the Newsletter

  • Workplace Wellness Trends You Should Know About

    According to the 2022 Employee Benefits Survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management, approximately 46% of employers categorize employer-provided wellness benefits as either "very important" or "extremely important," but important nonetheless. In addition to SHRM's survey, a 2022 report put forth by Wellness Labs pointed out the fact that the popularity of wellness benefits will lend to employers who are more enticed to invest in wellness programs for their employees. However, what are wellness benefits? And how do you know which wellness benefits you should offer to your employees? A great place to start is by analyzing current wellness benefit trends. Trends surrounding wellness benefits The Wellness Labs report claims that employers are beginning to invest more and more in these eight wellness categories: On-site testing for COVID-19. Risk intake evaluations for COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. Financial support and wellness. Mental health services. Mindfulness and meditation practices. Stress management and assistance with resilience. Telemedicine opportunities for remote care. In no particular order, companies seem to invest the most in these four categories: Telemedicine opportunities for remote care. Mental health services. Stress management and assistance with resilience. Mindfulness and meditation practices. Alternatively, smaller investments are usually made toward these five categories of wellness benefits: Biometric screenings. Complementary healthy food options. Health-related workshops and fairs. On-site, in-person fitness and exercise classes. On-site or close-by clinics. It is important to note that there are industry reports with documentation that indicates mental health, stress management, financial wellness and telemedicine are considered top-tier wellness trends. For example, a 2022 Robert Half report states that the aforementioned trends are four of the five workplace wellness trends worth watching — the fifth one is flexibility. Wellness benefits more companies are starting to offer Now, let's take a look at some of the up-and-coming wellness benefit offerings that employers are extending to their employees within the realm of mental health, financial health and caregiving support. All these offers are also intended to minimize the rates of burnout among employees. The following data is taken from the 2022 Wellness Labs report. A percentage accompanies each wellness benefit, and it indicates the rate of employers offering wellness benefits to their employees. Mental health Employee assistance programs: 62%. Digital health tools: 46%. Education: 43%. Flexible work schedules: 35%. Caregiver benefits: 22%. Financial health Education: 84%. Digital financial tools: 70%. Retirement planning: 56%. Coaching: 37%. Student debt assistance: 31%. Caregiving Flexible work schedules: 62%. Remote work or telecommuting: 58%. Caregiver-provider referral services: 40%. Paid time off: 27%. Child care service subsidies: 26%. Counseling services: 26%. Burnout Mental health resources: 86%. Flexible work schedules: 73%. Engagement activities: 32%. Collective days off: 20%. Recognition programs: 19%. Wellness program considerations for your business When trying to determine whether you should offer wellness benefits to your employees, as well as which benefits you should provide as an employer, there are certain details worth considering, including the following: The individual needs of employees and their family members. Demographics of the workforce, such as age and gender of employees. The projected utilization rates for each wellness benefit. Wellness benefits your company's competitors offering. Any probable effects of the wellness benefits in terms of attracting talent and retaining current employees. The costs associated with the wellness benefits, such as administration costs. The amount that you can afford to pay for the wellness benefit you're thinking about offering. Furthermore, a 2022 Zippier report claimed that roughly "52% of U.S. companies offer wellness programs." Even though that percentage is barely in the realm of being the majority, wellness benefits are continually trending upward, which means it is likely that more and more employers will start offering wellness-related benefits. As time goes on, you can work with FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Culture Consulting and continue to analyze trends as a way of better understanding the current employee wellness benefit landscape and how these perks relate to your business. Signup for the Newsletter

  • HR Basics for Nonprofits

    When you manage a nonprofit, spending money is always an issue. After all, your company is funded by grants and donations, many of which have strings attached. It's your obligation to keep the organization lean and the overhead low. However, the bigger a company gets, the more money it can save by having a centralized department that manages payroll and staffing. It's also a good way to keep employees happy, thereby reducing turnover. So what should you consider as you decide how to add human resources services to your organization? What should they do? HR departments in nonprofits cover a wide range of services. Part of their role is the payroll and recruitment services that all HR departments manage, but there are differences. For one thing, they handle certain thorny matters of documentation and compliance that for-profit companies don't have to. Their staffing services often include managing, motivating and training volunteers; if HR is doing its job right, you'll see higher retention and engagement among your unpaid workers. And like the rest of the organization, they are dedicated to the mission and to creating a company culture that supports it. Do you need an in-house specialist? For smaller organizations, it may not make sense to have an HR department or even an HR specialist. Outsourced HR services don't provide all the same services as a full-time professional, but they can be much cheaper. Depending on the size of your company and the services you need, they may charge as little as $45 per month or as much as $1,500 per month. If you choose this option, you may elect to first hire a consultant to create a custom talent strategy for your business. A consultant like FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions can help you get a clear idea of what HR services you need and why. However, if your company continues to grow, it will eventually be more cost-effective and more efficient to hire an in-house specialist either full or part time. The advantage of an in-house professional is that your specialist will get to know your organization, its goals and its employees. What's the end goal? Small companies, especially ones that are funded with donations and grants, may try to save money by leaving all payroll and hiring decisions to the executive director. However, this is a false savings. Companies can be sued or fined for incorrect payments, unfair hiring practices and other compliance violations whether they are intentional or not. Having HR specialists on the team makes it less likely that you'll have to pay. Good HR services also keep your company on track. The goal of HR is to create a skilled and motivated team, all dedicated to the same goal. Bring FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions to keep your company working toward its mission distraction-free. Signup for the Newsletter

  • Why Diversity and Inclusion Training May Backfire

    Although diversity, equity and inclusion programs are generally well intentioned and considered "the right thing to do," they have been coming under increased scrutiny. Many academics and management experts question whether the initiatives can deliver on their promises for a fairer and more productive workplace. They wonder whether there are more effective ways to address employees' biases than by corralling them in occasional workshops. DEI training makes consultants rich Organizations have signed up DEI training consultants like FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions and Nuance Culture Academy in droves. According to McKinsey, U.S. firms spend about $8 billion annually on what has become a lucrative industry, as about 80% of organizations make some form of training mandatory. Often, these sessions are a one-shot deal, making little to no impact on real change. The programs initially gained traction as a low-cost initiative with legal and public relations payoffs. Management may look to the socially responsible optics and potential legal protection they hope to obtain. Sometimes the programs are instituted as a knee-jerk reaction to internal or external events or as a form of damage control, such as to counteract some employees' poor behavior or for much wider trends like protests against racial bias. DEI efforts also serve as a litigation shield. Companies at risk for lawsuits have noted that some judges may respond positively to seeing DEI programs in place. Training can also be less expensive than thoroughly cleaning house. It is a relatively straightforward exercise for employers to describe corporate diversity initiatives, such as training, along with public relations materials and mission statements on their website. It is certainly less time-consuming and less expensive than taking a deep dive into recruiting and other more far-reaching practices across the organization. The best-laid plans of mice and men Why is DEI training ineffective? Antibias exercises are founded on the premise that if people are made aware of their subconscious biases, they will be better able to control or suppress them. Yet to the extent those prejudices are in fact subliminal, a forced focus on DEI can even activate them and encourage more stereotyping. Another limitation of training is that daylong sessions are not likely to change the behavior and habits of a lifetime. There is not enough time to build skills or formulate action plans. Longer workshops and gatherings might result in some action; however, their impact tends to fade after a few days. Do not assume one size fits all, either. Each organization is unique in its demographics, operational functions and levels of collaboration. Blaming and shaming only compound resistance. Nobody, managers included, likes to be strong-armed. Is attendance voluntary, or do employees have to show up? Employees are more inclined to react with animosity and irritation if they feel the training is being forced on them in a remedial context. Managers also sabotage initiatives by assigning DEI activities to consultants rather than embracing the initiatives and participating themselves. When diversity is foisted off on outsiders who turn up for brief appearances, it sends the message that DEI may just be nice to have as opposed to a business-critical imperative. Employees pay lip service and move on. And just appointing a chief DEI officer is a far cry from establishing a firmwide culture, which aligns its systems, processes, norms and policies with a sincere diversity effort. Outcomes speak louder than intentions A few guidelines can help make DEI training more successful, including: Making it voluntary, not obligatory. Training employees to ascend through the ranks instead of ad hoc promotions. Creating exposure and familiarity to lessen bias — use mentoring and department rotations. Avoid leaning overly on marginalized individuals as champions — they may be uncomfortable in the role. Not limiting initiatives to only certain demographics. It is commendable to aim high, but try not to set unrealistic expectations. Employees like to witness concrete results before they are ready to fully buy in. FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions and Nuance Culture Academy can support your organization's DEI initiatives and help you determine the best training programs to achieve the culture your employees deserve. Signup for the Newsletter

  • Supporting LGBTQIA+ Employees in the Face of Adversity

    As we enter Pride Month, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate the diversity within our workplaces and communities. However, it is equally crucial to recognize the challenges that the LGBTQIA+ community, especially transgender and nonbinary individuals, currently face. The statistics speak volumes: with over 520 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills introduced in state legislatures and a staggering 220 bills specifically targeting transgender and non-binary people, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. Amidst this concerning backdrop, it is vital for businesses to step up and actively support their LGBTQIA+ employees. Inclusion and equality should not be mere buzzwords; they should be embedded in the very fabric of our organizations. It is time for us to reinforce our commitment to creating safe and inclusive spaces for all, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Transgender and nonbinary individuals, in particular, are often marginalized and face unique challenges in the workplace. They deserve not only our support, but also our advocacy. As businesses, we have a responsibility to protect their rights and dignity, especially in light of the discriminatory laws being enacted. Now more than ever, we must prioritize the following: Education and Awareness It is crucial to foster a culture of understanding and empathy within our organizations. Provide resources, trainings, and workshops that promote education on LGBTQIA+ issues, including the experiences and challenges faced by transgender and nonbinary individuals. Encourage open dialogue and create spaces where questions can be asked and answered respectfully. Policy and Benefits Review and update policies to ensure they are inclusive and provide equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Offer comprehensive healthcare coverage that includes transgender-specific care and support. Establish guidelines for transitioning employees to ensure a smooth and respectful process. Zero Tolerance for Discrimination Make it unequivocally clear that discrimination, harassment, and microaggressions will not be tolerated in any form. Enforce strict anti-discrimination policies and provide channels for reporting incidents. Create a supportive environment where employees feel safe and empowered to address any concerns without fear of retribution. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) Establish or support LGBTQIA+ employee resource groups within your organization. These groups provide a sense of community, support, and mentorship, creating spaces for networking and sharing experiences. Encourage participation and provide resources to help them thrive and make a positive impact. Fund ERGs so that they can consistently offer meaningful support and engagement opportunities to employees. Provide employees leading ERGs and implementing their programs with time in their work schedules to perform the work of the group. Their labor deserves to be prioritized and compensated. Advocacy and Support Take a stand as a business by joining advocacy efforts, both locally and nationally, to fight against discriminatory legislation and promote equality. Support LGBTQIA+ organizations and initiatives that work towards inclusivity and social change. Use your platform and influence to amplify the voices of historically excluded, underrepresented, and marginalized communities. Let this Pride Month be the beginning of year-round efforts to engage, support, and advocate for your LGBTQIA+ employees. By actively supporting and uplifting our LGBTQIA+ employees, particularly transgender and nonbinary individuals, we can create positive change within our organizations and society at large. Together, we can work towards a future where equality, respect, and dignity are the cornerstones of every workplace. #PRIDE #PrideMonth #LGBTQIA #Inclusion #transgender #TransRights #Equality #InclusiveWorkplace #culture #HR #humanresources #belonging Signup for the Newsletter

  • How to Tell It’s Time to Outsource Your HR Functions

    As your company grows and evolves, so do the human resource needs of the organization. While small businesses may be able to manage their HR functions in-house, mid-sized and larger companies often find it necessary to outsource these functions to a third-party HR provider. But how do you know when it's time to outsource your HR functions? In this article, we'll explore some of the signs that it's time to consider outsourcing. 1. Lack of HR Expertise One of the most compelling reasons to outsource HR is a lack of in-house expertise. As your company grows, you may find that your HR team is struggling to keep up with the demands of managing a larger workforce. By outsourcing, you can tap into the expertise of HR professionals who have the knowledge and experience to handle a wide range of HR functions, from recruitment and onboarding to employee relations and compliance. Outsourcing your HR functions can also provide you with access to advanced HR technologies and tools that you may not be able to afford. This can include HR software for managing employee data and performance, benefits administration software, time-tracking tools, payroll software, and compliance-tracking tools. These technologies can help streamline your HR operations and make them more efficient and effective. 2. Compliance Concerns Employment laws and regulations are constantly evolving, and it can be challenging, particularly for small businesses that do not have a dedicated HR team, to stay up-to-date with the latest changes. Regardless of the size of your business, dealing with noncompliance can lead to costly penalties and legal fees, not to mention damage to your company's reputation. When compliance issues become a challenge to manage, it could be a clear indication that outsourcing your HR functions is necessary. An experienced HR outsourcing firm can help ensure that your business stays compliant with all applicable laws and regulations, reducing the risk of costly municipal fines, state penalties, or legal action. HR outsourcing providers can also provide you with access to compliance expertise and resources. They can help you understand complex regulations and provide guidance on how to stay compliant. In addition, they may provide you with compliance-related training and tools to help you manage compliance risks more effectively. 3. Time Constraints Small business owners likely wear many hats and have limited time to devote to HR functions. However, HR is a critical part of any business, and neglecting it can lead to compliance risks, employee dissatisfaction and ultimately impact the success of your business. If you're struggling to find time to manage your HR functions, it's a sign that you need to outsource your HR functions. By outsourcing your HR functions to an experienced HR outsourcing provider, you can free up time to focus on other critical aspects of your business, such as sales and marketing, product development, and customer service. An HR outsourcing provider can handle a wide range of HR functions, including recruitment and staffing, payroll processing, employee benefits administration, compliance management, and employee relations. By delegating these tasks to an experienced HR professional, you can focus on other critical aspects of your business. 4. Limited Resources Small businesses often have limited resources, including budgets and staff. Managing HR functions in-house can be a drain on these resources, as it requires a dedicated team to handle various tasks, such as recruiting, hiring, training, benefits administration, and payroll. If you discover that you don't have the resources to manage your HR functions effectively, it's a sign that you need to outsource your HR. Outsourcing your HR functions ultimately allows you to allocate more resources to core business activities like product development, customer service, and sales and marketing. 5. High Turnover Rates High employee turnover can be a significant challenge for businesses, both in terms of cost and productivity. Turnover can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor management, lack of employee engagement, inadequate compensation and benefits, and inadequate training and development. High turnover rates can be a sign that your HR functions are not meeting the needs of your employees. By outsourcing HR, you can work with professionals who have the expertise to create effective retention strategies, including employee engagement programs, training and development initiatives, and career advancement opportunities. Partnering with an HR outsourcing provider can also help you stay up-to-date with the latest HR trends and best practices related to employee retention. An experienced HR outsourcing provider can help you benchmark your retention efforts against industry standards and provide guidance on how to improve your retention rates. 6. Inefficiencies and Inconsistencies HR functions are critical to the success of any company, as they manage employee-related processes, such as recruitment, onboarding, performance management, and payroll. If these processes are not efficient, they can lead to significant problems and negatively impact your organization's overall performance. For instance, a delay in hiring due to a slow recruitment process could result in missed business opportunities. Also, inconsistent application of policies can create confusion and frustration among employees. If one employee is given a different set of benefits than another employee who has the same job title and amount of experience, it can create a perception of favoritism. If your organization is experiencing these challenges, then it may be time for you to outsource your HR functions to an experienced HR outsourcing provider. They can help manage inefficiencies within your HR processes and ensure that policies are consistently implemented across your organization. Conclusion Outsourcing HR is a smart move for companies that are struggling to manage their HR functions in-house. It can help streamline processes, ensure consistent policy implementation, provide access to expertise, and overcome resource limitations. However, it's important to carefully evaluate potential HR outsourcing providers to ensure they are a good fit for your organization's needs and culture. If you're considering outsourcing your HR functions, FIC Human Resource Partners is a great option for you, regardless of the size of your business. Our Nuance Workforce Solutions offer your organization excellent HR support and assist you in selecting the most appropriate employee benefits to foster a supportive work environment for your staff. Contact us today to learn more. Signup for the Newsletter

  • Employee Faceplants on Desk During Meeting

    If You're Expecting Another "Meeting that Could Have Been an Email" Story, You're Going to be Disappointed! In a surprising turn of events during a recent meeting with a client, CEO and IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility) leader, Jessica Purdy, left her client in stitches when she faceplanted on her desk. While this may sound like just another humorous workplace mishap, it carries a deeper message about accessibility, accommodation, and the way we interact with one another. While it's easy to chuckle at the image of someone faceplanting on their desk, let's take a moment to reflect on the broader implications. Accessibility and accommodation are often associated with physical tools and resources, but they are also deeply rooted in the way we interact with others. Jessica's unexpected moment of gravity-defying comedy reminds us that the inclusion of people with disabilities is not limited to wheelchair ramps or screen readers – it encompasses the way we engage and support one another in the workplace. In actuality the client did not laugh because Jessica could feel the episode begin and managed to turn her camera off before her body caused her to faceplant. While she does lead with openness and vulnerability, she is also mindful of how her movement disorder can cause disruption and concern. What Actually Happened Jessica: Life is interesting, especially when living in a body with a mind of its own. Earlier today, during a client meeting, I had to turn off my camera and microphone for a few minutes. You know I never do that! Synder: Why? What happened?!?!?! Jessica: Well, throughout the day, I’ve been struggling with tight and painful muscles in my upper back, right shoulder, and neck, causing me to lean to the right. Most people probably thought I was casually leaning on the desk but in reality, I was struggling to maintain my posture. Anyway, as the meeting progressed, the muscle tightness intensified, pulling me further down and forward. Before it became apparent to the client, I turned off my camera and mic. Suddenly I found myself face down on my desk, fighting to prevent the pain from overwhelming me. Fortunately, it only lasted a few minutes. It really caught me by surprise. I’ve never experienced this kind of posture related body movement before. Normally I am just twitchy and jerky or struggle to get moving. What It Felt Like Synder: How did you feel about this happening in front of a client? Jessica: I'm glad it was a virtual meeting not an in person one. I wouldn’t have enjoyed people seeing me in that position - Well considering the people meeting in the office across from mine could see into my office, more people seeing me like that. It’s awfully embarrassing when I have an episode that noticeable, but to be seen face down on my own desk contorted and in pain?!?!?! Synder: Well, if it’s that embarrassing, why talk about it? Jessica: I share stories like this not to seek sympathy, but rather to normalize such experiences. But I think what you are trying to ask is why talk about now when I didn’t want people to see me like that when it was happening. And to answer that question, because situations like these can make others uncomfortable. People can be judgmental or unsure how to respond. And that's why we need to normalize conversations like this and also why I don't like people witnessing an episode like that. How To Respond Synder: How should they respond in a situation like that? Jessica: That depends. In that moment, there wasn't much anyone could have done. However, had they seen me, I can imagine they’d have asked, "What's wrong?" "Are you alright?" or "Do you need help?" I hear these questions a lot when my movement disorder is noticeably impactful. While these inquiries are well-intentioned, they don't necessarily accomplish much. Instead, perhaps asking, "Would you like us to pause the meeting for a few minutes?" or "Can someone share their notes with Jessi afterward, so she has a copy of anything she couldn't write down?" would have been useful ways to acknowledge the situation without causing me further embarrassment. Accessibility and Accommodation Isn’t Just About Tools and Resources We have an opportunity to redefine accessibility. It's not solely about offering tools and resources; we need to be intentional about fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and understood. My concerns about how the client might react to me faceplanting on my desk highlights the importance of creating spaces where people with disabilities can exist authentically, without fear of judgment or exclusion. When we consider accessibility as a holistic concept, it empowers us to challenge traditional norms and find innovative solutions. My unexpected faceplant can serve as a poignant reminder that accessibility and accommodation go beyond mere tools and resources. It's about fostering an inclusive culture that values every individual's unique needs and experiences. The incident also raises awareness about the need for open communication and flexibility within organizations. Sometimes, a small adjustment in our approach to work can make a significant difference for someone else. I try to embrace vulnerability in authentic ways that allows people to see me as a real person, not just a public face that masks the realities of my life. By embracing vulnerability, open communication, and a touch of humor, we can create workplaces where everyone feels seen, heard, and supported. I want to encourage everyone to embrace their own imperfections and work together to create an environment of empathy and understanding. So, let's use the story of my faceplant as a opportunity to have honest conversations about accessibility and reflect on how we can make our workplaces more accessible and accommodating for all. Signup for the Newsletter

  • 4 Essential Skills That HR Professionals Need

    Traditionally regarded as a back-office function, the concept of an HR department originally leaned heavily into a transactional dynamic. The focus was on managing day-to-day administrative tasks relating to recruiting interested applicants, hiring new employees, properly compensating workers who have been onboarded, managing benefits and carrying out the termination process when necessary. However, workplaces have digitized, globalized and diversified. As a result, the talent market has become more competitive as well, which has inevitably pushed HR departments into a position where they are strategically carrying out the following tasks: Developing HR strategies that align with the company's organizational goals. Serving as an advocate for the organization as well as the employees. Managing employee relations in the workplace. Promoting a healthy work environment and fostering a respectful workplace culture. Acting as a mediator between the organization and the employees. Both the transactional and strategic sides of HR are vital to the success of the organization that the HR department serves. All of this means that your HR professionals will need to hone certain skills. While the exact skills will often vary by role, let's take a closer look at four relatively common skills that HR professionals typically must have. Skill No. 1: Effective communication skills Effective communication is vital to all aspects of a business. But in HR, it is absolutely imperative, especially when it comes to talent management. HR professionals must ensure the right people are in the right jobs at the right times. This includes communicating adeptly with candidates at the recruiting and hiring stages. In addition, HR professionals are responsible for drafting a myriad of workplace policies and procedures and properly communicating them to new hires, existing employees and leaders. Skill No. 2: Relationship management skills The stronger the tie between an employer and its employees, the better for the organization. For example, strong employer-employee ties improve employee satisfaction and loyalty, which increases productivity and the bottom line. HR professionals play a critical role in establishing and nurturing the following ties: Organization-employee. Manager-employee. Employee-employee. Employee-customer. This is done by leveraging relationship management strategies, such as active listening, bias elimination, advocacy, conflict resolution and culture development. Relationship management in HR also involves knowing how to work with other departments, particularly those closely tied to the HR department, such as payroll and finance. Skill No. 3: HR-related technology skills High-performing HR professionals appreciate the role of technology in HR service delivery. Even if they have never utilized your specific HR technology, they can be trained and at least know the vital role it plays in the department's efficiency. HR professionals should be able to leverage technology in a way that boosts workforce management, planning and optimization. They should also have the ability to adapt to new technology as required by changing business needs. Skill No. 4: Business acumen skills An article published on titled "HR's Secret Weapon? Business Acumen" points to the importance of business acumen within HR departments. The focus on business acumen is a great point because while HR professionals should have the necessary skills, how they apply those skills is what truly counts. The article says that "HR professionals may possess traditional and trending HR skillsets such as people analytics, strategic workforce planning, design thinking, consulting and stakeholder/change management." However, "it's not just about the skill you've got, it's how those skills will drive outcomes that make a difference in what matters." Business acumen, which combines knowledge and skill, is key to achieving positive HR outcomes. FIC Human Resource Partners supports HR professionals in a wide variety of ways. You can connect with our Nuance Culture Consulting, Nuance Workforce Solutions, or our Nuance Culture Academy teams to learn more about how they can help support you and your team. Signup for the Newsletter

  • New-Hire Orientation Checklist

    The overall success of your new hires will likely be heavily dependent on their experiences during the onboarding process. As such, if the onboarding process of your company is incomplete or insufficient, it will show. A low-quality onboarding process will also increase the chances of new hires leaving your company in favor of your competitors. In order for the onboarding process to positively impact your company, all steps of the onboarding process must be fine-tuned and effective. Orientation is one of the onboarding steps, but before we focus on the orientation checklist, allow us to emphasize the differences between onboarding in general and orientation in particular. For starters, onboarding is a full-fledged, comprehensive process that involves multiple steps. These steps typically include orientation, training and retaining new hires as well as long-term employees, which comes down to maintaining engagement and satisfaction levels. On the other hand, orientation is all about introductions between new hires and the rest of the company. This is also when new hires become acquainted with the company's administrative policies and procedures. Alternatively, while orientation is a small step in the overall process, onboarding is the overall process. It's continuous, and most onboarding processes can last as long as one year, if not longer, but orientation is a singular event. Despite the short-lived nature of orientation, it is still very important to make sure that the orientation events are carried out properly. If your onboarding process includes an unprofessional orientation experience, the event can derail the entire onboarding process and deter new hires from staying with your company. For these reasons and many others, FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Recruiting can help you establish a new-hire orientation checklist. To help you and your company create a new-hire orientation checklist that is suitable for everyone involved, we have included some suggestions about what your company's orientation checklist could include. Start by introducing your company Overview of the company. Company mission, philosophy and vision. Workplace culture. Company structure and hierarchy. Warm welcome from team members. If the position is on-site, give the new hires a tour of the office. For example, show them important locations, such as: Parking areas. Kitchen. Restroom. Mailroom. News or bulletin board. Emergency exits. Relevant departments. Hand out paperwork Form W-4, for federal income tax withholding. State and local tax withholding forms, if applicable. Form I-9, to verify eligibility to work in the United States. Direct deposit form. Employee handbook. Confidentiality agreements. Acknowledgement and consent forms. Explain the benefits program and the enrollment process You'll need to let your new hires know about the benefits that they are eligible for and how to enroll in the benefits they would like to participate in through work, including: Medical insurance. Dental insurance. Vision insurance. Life insurance. Disability insurance. 401(k) plan. Flexible spending accounts. Employee assistance program. Bonus programs. Paid and unpaid leave. Wellness benefits. Workplace perks: Free snacks. Pet-friendly office. In-office coffee bar. Make sure to discuss the policies and procedures of your company Code of conduct. Regular work hours. Overtime. Anti-discrimination. Anti-harassment. Safety guidelines. Break and lunch periods. Timecard submission dates. Payroll procedures. Performance evaluations. Disciplinary process. Grievance procedures. Injury reporting. Emergency procedures. Data security. Give new hires access to relevant workstations and administrative support ID badge. Desk setup. Workstation setup. Stationery. Computers. Internet access. Email access. Employee self-service portal. Messaging applications. Videoconferencing tools. Company directory. Remember that these are only examples and suggestions of what your new-hire orientation checklist should include. The specifics will be driven by various factors that are peculiar to your company, such as the business structure, the requirements associated with the role, whether the job is on-site or remote, the benefits being offered and any legal requirements that apply to the position. FIC Human Resource Partners' Nuance Workforce Solutions can help streamline your onboarding process so newly hired employees have the best possible experience. Signup for the Newsletter

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