The Ultimate 2015 HR Outlook

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The Ultimate 2015 HR Outlook

With 2015 right around the corner, we broke down the most talked about changes and what to expect in the next year for you and your company.

Minimum Wage

Ohio’s minimum wage will automatically increase to $8.10 per hour on Jan. 1, a 15-cent bump over the current pay. For tipped employees, the minimum wage rises to $4.05 per hour, a six-cent increase.

Ohio is one of 23 states that have a minimum wage higher than the $7.25 federal minimum. Washington has the highest rate at $9.32 per hour.

The minimum-wage increases apply to employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $297,000 per year.
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The Changing Face of Paid-Time-Off

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unlimited vacation paid sick leave The Changing Face of Paid-Time-Off

With a lot of attention around employee benefits focused around the 2014 ACA’s employer mandate, another major evolving trend in employee benefits, i.e. paid time off, has been largely overlooked in comparison to the healthcare law. However, two primary topics within the realm of paid time off have made considerable, if not short lived, splashes in the news media over the course of 2014.

Unlimited Vacation Time

Of course there was Virgin’s big announcement about its new “unlimited vacation time” policy. Although Virgin is certainly not the first large company to implement such a policy, the public nature of this particular announcement triggered much discussion in the world of HR about the impact of an “unlimited” policy for both the employer and the employee. Several others, most notably The LA Times, followed suit in 2014, again with mixed reactions.
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Time-Off Roundup: Holidays, Unlimited Vacation and More

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Time-Off Roundup: Holidays, Unlimited Vacation and More

Vacation policy: it may be one of the most important components of the compensation package to some people. Offering time-off options to employees is pretty varied, including holidays, vacations, sick leave, personal leave, and bereavement leave. These types of benefits are quite valuable to employees when analyzing the benefits package at a potential new job.

But as more information piles up that employees work better when they have more time to recharge and be away from work, why do so many businesses still cling to outdated vacation and holiday policies? Well companies like Netflix and Virgin Mobile are hearing employee’s needs loud and clear, and are coming up with different ways to meet those needs.

Let’s take a look at what companies are doing when it comes to unlimited time-off and holiday time-off.
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Is Your Office Halloween Party Scaring the HR Department?

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Is Your Office Party Scaring the HR Department

The upcoming holiday season always brings with it an assortment of potential HR headaches (think vacation schedules, alcohol at the holiday party, the list goes on…). But before we even get into November, Halloween presents its own set of pitfalls and concerns that can make HR professionals cringe.

So if you already have a Halloween party on the office calendar this year, here are a few HR-approved tips that you might want to consider.

Tip #1

Remind employees that even though it’s a Halloween party, they are still at a work function. Although the code of conduct may be more or less relaxed at your particular organization depending on your culture, they are still in the workplace.

Make sure to send out an office-wide email with dress code and conduct expectations or information in advance.

You can also reference your Employee Handbook to remind everyone they still have to abide by the organization’s policies.

Tip #2

Provide employees with specific guidelines about costumes in advance.

Again, this may depend a bit on your organizational culture, but whatever the restrictions are, make sure they fit with your policies on harassment, dress code, weapons, etc.

If employees will be wearing costumes throughout the workday, make sure they can perform their basic work functions and still be productive. While this is particularly important for manufacturers who need to be worried about safety of their line employees, you also can’t type on a keyboard very well if your costume includes giant clawed hands.

Tip #3

Take into consideration whether or not some employees may find certain Halloween decorations offensive. While you can’t predict if an employee is going to make a costume choice that is in poor taste (although you can do your best per Tip #1), you, the employer, can take steps to make sure that anything you are contributing to the celebration is well thought out. This is supposed to be fun (for everyone), not create a hostile work environment.

Tip #4

Think about the timing of the event in advance and check with others about their schedules. If your business is going to have clients coming in for meetings (and again, know your culture), you may want to ask employees to refrain from changing into their costumes until after the last guest has left the office for the day.

Timing may also impact whether or not alcohol is a factor, i.e., if it’s a luncheon during the workday, serving alcohol is out of the question.

However, you’ll want to decide if employees will need to change back into regular clothes following the lunch hour festivities and make sure that’s communicated in advance.

Tip #5

Consider a “Harvest” or “Fall” celebration instead. If you have significant concerns over a Halloween themed party and the complications that costumes and decorations bring with them, maybe a Halloween party simply isn’t right for your workplace. There are still plenty of fun team building events or parties you can put on to celebrate the season without even mentioning Halloween.

Halloween Activity Ideas

Pumpkin Carving

If your organization doesn’t have a big budget for Halloween, consider a simple pumpkin carving activity! This is also great for organizations in which time is an issue. Pumpkin carving can be an hour-long, end-of-day activity at 4:00pm.

Candy Corn Guessing Game

This is another great activity for the time-restrained yet festive organization. Have a jar filled with candy corn in a central location or at an HR employee’s desk and take guesses throughout the week on how many pieces of candy corn are in the jar. The winner takes home a $10 giftcard!

Trick or Treating

Adults like candy too! Encourage employees to bring in treats to share with one another. Employees can go office to office or cubicle to cubicle trick or treating! Not only does this result in a festive, fun activity but it promotes engagement and morale between employees.

Happy Halloween from all of us at ERC and good luck! 

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What To Do When You Don't Have a Policy in Place

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What To Do When You Don't Have a Policy in Place

We've all been there. Something questionable happens in the workplace with an employee, but there is nothing in the handbook that defines what should be done. How do you handle issues that arise in the company when there hasn’t been any policies defined?

You want to have policies and procedures in place to ensure a safe, organized, comfortable and nondiscriminatory work environment. On the other hand, it’s impossible to have rules or policies in place for every situation (and no one wants to work for an employer who does).

You don’t want to have a policy in place for everything because it could allow for little room for management when addressing individual employee needs. On the other hand, you want to have certain policies in place so employees never feel as if they work in an extremely laid back environment.
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The Pros & Cons of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

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The Pros & Cons of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

The relationship between work and home is constantly changing, with more people telecommuting and using their home, local café, or maybe an airport as a remote office. But there is an escalating trend in how employees bring their work life and home life together, BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. BYOD is an IT policy where employees are allowed or encouraged to use their personal laptop, smart phone and/or tablet for work to access enterprise data and systems.

However, there are always pros and cons for newer polices that are being introduced in the workplace.  Here are some to consider if you are going to allow employees to bring their own device.
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3 Technology and Social Media Policies To Consider

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3 Technology and Social Media Policies To Consider social media etiquette in the workplace social media etiquette for employees

Many technologies aim to make our lives better and make our work lives more efficient. These same technologies create unique situations within the workplace that could reduce productivity and cause security and privacy concerns. Having effective policies related to technology and social media etiquette for employees are essential to creating a culture of understanding around these situations. Here are a few policies to consider:

BYOD Policy

BYOD ("Bring Your Own Device") policies attempt to address the blurred lines between employee and company-owned technology and devices. A policy can help set expectations for the employer and the users, define ownership, and address support policies.

Here are some things to consider in a BYOD policy:
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5 Potential Benefits of Telecommuting

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benefits of telecommuting 5 Potential Benefits of Telecommuting

It’s Monday morning. You hear the beeping noise from your alarm clock. You get up, ready for the work week ahead.  While still in your pajamas, you head to your morning pot of coffee, make some breakfast and shuffle over to the kitchen table or maybe your home office. You sit down and open up your computer and start opening emails from the weekend, or maybe a report that’s due in the next couple of days. This is what more and more employees in America are becoming accustomed to: Telecommunicating.

Since 2005, telecommunicating has grown by nearly 80%. But what are the benefits of telecommuting for both the employee and the employer? And what do you do if your employer doesn’t allow telecommunicating at the workplace quite yet? Here are the facts and some helpful tips about telecommunicating in today’s modern workforce.
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Can Fantasy Football Be Good for the Workplace?

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Can Fantasy Football Be Good for the Workplace?

Even though summer may be coming to an end, it doesn’t mean winter boots and hot chocolate quite yet. Millions of people, predominantly men, are excited for another season: football season.

As people shed a tear putting away their shorts and tank tops, others are excited to dust off the dirt from their lucky jersey and get ready to root for their beloved team in hopes that this year will be the year to “win it all.” NFL and college football only scratches the surface of another football season: fantasy football. 

The Stats

With approximately 33.2 million people participating in fantasy football in 2014, it would be unrealistic to think that it wouldn’t come up in conversation or happen at the workplace.
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3 Surprising Social Media Uses for HR

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3 Surprising Social Media Uses for HR

When we hear "social media" and "HR" in the same sentence, it's usually in a negative context. "How can we keep employees off of social media at work?" or "I saw something bad on a candidates social media profile, what do I do now?"

But social media can also be used creatively in several areas of the HR function. Consider the following uses for social media that you may not have considered:

Employee Communications

Communicating important inner-office or organizational updates to employees often falls upon HR departments. The standard mass email can be a great medium for getting a quick message out, but what if your communications requires more collaboration, input or feedback?
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