Month: December 2014

Happy New Year!

Another update from the HR jungle….
image031Sue, our trusted HR director, is back from her cruise with a nice tan and a bit of a hangover from the rum. She’ll put in a couple of days at the office during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day after blowing all her paid leave on the cruise.

At her company, not much happens between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The only people working are the ones who blew all their paid leave earlier in the year or those who want to impress the bosses with their dedication to the job.

Sue plans to spend her time working on her goals for next year. She thought about these goals while on her cruise. First, she’ll start compiling the list of proposed updates to the company’s HR policies. This will take some time since she needs to estimate the cost to complete each project.

Then she’ll research the admittance requirements at the local college where she hopes to enroll in the spring. Getting a formal degree to confirm what she’s learned on the job is a big step in her career.

Whatever your work situation, have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Happy New Year!

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Happy Holidays!

Another update from the HR jungle….

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Sue, our trusted HR director, is still enjoying her cruise in the sun with the rum. It took her a week to stop thinking about the office, but she’s finally in full vacation mode. Her tan is coming along nicely and the cruise staff supplies never-ending refills of rum and fruit.

Sue will celebrate Christmas on the ship, far from irritations like some of her co-workers and (dare we say it) some of her extended family. She hasn’t had it this good in years.

Most of us won’t be able to take a holiday cruise or avoid (dare we say it) certain members of our extended families. Have an extra glass of eggnog or wassail and remember it is a once-a-year ritual. Mixed in with the annoyances are so many people we want to spend time with and many special seasonal events.

Happy Holidays!

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One for Them, One for Me…

Another update from the HR jungle….
image023Sue, the HR director, is finally on her cruise after a couple of weeks of clearing her desk. She’s sitting on the cruise ship deck sipping a rum drink and thinking about the office. She’s having trouble shutting off the part of her brain that thinks about work, as we all do when we finally get away.

As Sue works on her tan and sips her rum, she thinks about the company’s expansion and what it means for her career. As the company grows, its HR policies will need to grow too. That’s why she’s already decided to revise the employee handbook.

Sue also thinks about what she wants for herself. Sue got her job in HR years ago when the company’s owner decided he didn’t want to deal with employee problems. Sue’s had no special training for her HR duties; she learned on the job. She worries that as the company grows, they will look for someone with more formal education to replace her.

Suddenly, a scathingly brilliant answer to her problems presents itself. The rum helps, of course. What is Sue’s brilliant plan?

  1. Sue will present her boss with a list of the HR policies that she believes need to be updated to ensure the company’s continued growth is smooth. Her list will include the estimated time and cost for each project and compare those costs to the past costs incurred when the boss waited until there was a problem. She believes he will agree to take a proactive approach and invest in upgrading the HR policies.
  2. Sue wants to attend a local community college that offers a 2 year degree in human resources administration. A degree increases her chances of getting a pay raise and being the inside candidate for promotion as the HR department grows with the company.

As you come to the end of this year, think about your goals for your company and for yourself.

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Before the R&R…

Another update from the HR jungle….
image021Sue is the HR director for her company and last week she was working on her year-end checklist. Sue is trying to knock out all the items on her checklist before she checks out for a two week cruise in the Caribbean. Last week’s checklist covered last minute items related to the Affordable Care Act.

This week’s checklist is a general review of her HR domain. It’s good to be in charge, even if she has no minions to obey her every whim. First, she talks with the payroll service to ensure that they have all the information they will need to issue W-2’s in January 2105. This task went on her checklist after a “miscommunication” earlier in the year meant a new hire didn’t get paid on time. Now Sue obsessively re-checks everything.

Sue’s decided to postpone her second checklist item until after her vacation because it will be tedious and time consuming. She needs to review the employee handbook to ensure that all the information is still accurate. She revised a few sections of the handbook over the past two years as the growing workforce meant additional employment laws applied to her company. Now it’s time to do a general cleanup. Sue knows she needs some R&R (rum and more rum) before tackling this task.

Sue’s final checklist item is to complete a status review of the HR department when she returns to the office in January. Now she just needs to deal with any last minute crises before leaving for her well-deserved date with rum and the sea.

Do you have a year-end checklist to keep your HR duties on track? We can’t promise you a Caribbean cruise with (lots of) alcohol, but we’ve love to hear from you.

 

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Are you ready for 2015?

Another update from the HR jungle…

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Sue is the human resources director for her company (because she’s the only HR department employee). She is frantically working her way through her year-end checklist so that she can take a two week, rum-infused holiday cruise in late December. Today she’s working on checklist items related to the group health plan.

First on her checklist is a note to update the on-line information about the company’s group health plan to show the new out-of-pocket limits for 2015. Her company has a high deductible health plan (HDHP) with a health savings account (HSA). In 2015, HSA contributions are limited to $3,350 for individuals and $6,650 for families. The maximum out-of-pocket limits are $6,450 for individuals and $12,900 for families. If she posts the information on-line, some employees may actually read it rather than calling her with their questions.

Second on her checklist is to confirm that the new ACA-compliant software is properly tracking the hours of employees. Sue was impressed by the software vendor’s ability to customize the software to track her company’s high turnover employees. Sue’s company is not subject to the employer penalty in 2015 because they met the transitional relief for employers with 50 – 99 employees. But Sue still worries about last minute glitches when new software programs are implemented.

Does your ACA-compliance checklist look like Sue’s? Can you think of any items on your checklist that Sue has forgotten?

Sue’s already dreaming about the rum and fruit drinks she’ll be enjoying on her cruise, but she’ll continue working on her checklist items in next week’s column.

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