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Archive for March, 2015

INTERN PROGRAM: RULES AND BEST PRACTICES

Hopefully you have your summer intern program ready to launch but whether you do or not, here is some important information to help make your program a success.  First ensure your program is compliant with Department of Labor regulations regarding internships.  In the last couple years, both the federal and state governments have been cracking down on the use of unpaid interns.  The use of ‘free’ interns has been significantly reduced since 2010 when the Department of Labor issued new criteria for employers using unpaid interns: 

In general, the internship should be structured as a training experience, similar to a classroom as opposed to the employer’s actual operations.

  • The training given to the interns must be for the benefit of the intern, and not the employer.  Employers should see no immediate benefit from the intern’s work.
  • The intern cannot displace regular employees but they should work under close supervision.
  • You need to establish in advance that the internship is for a fixed duration of time and the intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
  • There is a clear understanding by both the employer and the intern that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

 If your program includes unpaid interns, consult federal and state wage and hour websites or legal counsel regarding regulatory compliance.  In addition to the regulations, many universities and colleges have specific requirements for the internship program up to and including providing educational credit.  If your intern program does not fit the regulatory criteria for unpaid interns, the same wage and hour guidelines that you follow for your hourly (non-tip) workforce will apply.  Interns are often paid at rates comparable to entry level positions within the department or discipline in which he/she will be working.  Local market or industry salary surveys can assist you in setting competitive pay rates for your interns.

In addition to the compliance component of your intern program, below are some best practices you may want to consider integrating into your program.

Recruit the right candidates by having a clear and thoughtful internship description and get referrals.

  • Designate a program manager and a manager as well as a mentor for each intern
  • Provide structure, even when they aren’t paid.
  • Hold orientation sessions for all involved.
  • Provide interns with a handbook and/or website.
  • Provide interns with real work that is related to their major, that is challenging, that is recognized by the organization as valuable, and that fills the entire work term.
  • Consider offering flex time for the interns
  • Host social events and activities for the interns
  • Encourage team involvement.
  • Conduct exit interviews.

Today’s world moves fast, and as an employer you should constantly be monitoring and adjusting your business operations to meet the ever changing wants and needs of your employees. At WageWatch, we offer accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including market compensation data, benefits survey data and salary reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25th, 2015 · Comments Off on INTERN PROGRAM: RULES AND BEST PRACTICES

HR IN HOSPITALITY CONFERENCE 2015

This week the 9th annual HR in Hospitality Conference & Expo was held at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas and was attended by approximately 550 human resource professionals across the U.S.  The sessions were led by hospitality industry human resource executives, industry experts from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, legal professionals and human resource consultants.  Sessions included panels of HR Executives sharing best practices and their most pressing concerns, and legal professionals discussing and debating the latest regulatory changes and Supreme Court decisions such as the joint employer relationship and the potential impact and challenges for human resources in the hospitality industry. 

The conference focused on the greatest challenges for human resources today including how to remain competitive with shrinking labor pools as the economy returns to pre-recession levels, how to recruit for brand and culture and how to appeal to millennials who will be over 50% of the workforce by 2020.  Diversity was still a top concern of the hospitality HR Executives with a large percentage of ethnic groups working in the ranks and over 50% of management trainees female, yet as you move up through the management levels to executives, this drops drastically.  There are still fewer than 10% female General Managers on average.  These hospitality companies have identified some of the obstacles that impede movement of more ethnicities and women into upper management levels of their companies and they are focusing on programs and policies that promote the inclusion of all diversity categories such as recruiting sources and management training programs that target ethnic groups and on various work-life balance initiatives such as flexible work schedules that make it easier for women to succeed in top management positions such as General Manager. 

Innovation and out of the box thinking were themes that ran through many of the sessions as human resources look to keep up with the fast pace of change such as new and pending regulations, state and city living wage ordinances, state sick leave regulations, employer health care, methods of communicating to employees and future employees that is effective to the varying needs and motivations of each of the four generations in the workforce today. They are striving to embrace failure and the lessons that emerge, nurture all ideas versus immediately dismissing, try things – don’t wait for perfection, include non-experts who can add fresh new out-of-the-box ideas to old processes.  These HR leaders are thinking about and piloting some new ideas and approaches to many of the HR challenges such as the performance review process.  Some are piloting no reviews, no ratings.  The majority are looking to simplify the review and make the conversation the biggest part of the process.  It was felt that feedback should be frequent, forward looking and built into the culture where it is spontaneous, positive and valued. 

Today’s world moves fast, and as an employer you should constantly be monitoring and adjusting your business operations to meet the ever changing wants and needs of your employees. At WageWatch, we offer accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including market compensation data, benefits survey data and salary reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19th, 2015 · Comments Off on HR IN HOSPITALITY CONFERENCE 2015

HOSPITALS FINANCIAL WOES IMPACT ON WAGES

Hospitals have benefited from the ACA’s implementation beginning in 2012. Now, U.S. healthcare systems and health insurers are facing high stakes in the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case.  If the Supreme Court rules in favor of King, many enrollees will be unable to afford their insurance as subsidies in 34 states will be ended.  This year so far, 11.4 million Americans have signed up for ACA coverage, giving hospitals more paying customers and cutting the number of charity or non-paying customers receiving emergency services.   If King wins, an estimated $22 billion in potential healthcare spending is at risk and could trigger insurance premiums increases with a ripple effect of all but the sickest insurers dropping their healthcare plans. 

BACKGROUND: The King v. Burwell Supreme Court case challenges the IRS regulation that allows federal subsidies (tax credits) to purchase health insurance on health care exchanges in the 34 states that did not create their own health insurance marketplaces.  It is estimated that the subsidies used to purchase health insurance in these 34 states cover 7 million people.  King claims ACA language limits subsidies to the 14 states that have established their own exchanges. It is likely that the justices will not issue a decision until late June. 

The healthcare sector has navigated many challenging environments in recent years and 2015 looks to remain challenging as hospital operating margins continue to face pressure from rising costs and weaker reimbursement due to the growth of high deductible health plans and reductions in reimbursements from the federal government.  The three major credit ratings agencies gave the healthcare and hospital sector a negative outlook, citing anticipated downgrades, declining operating cash flows, and on-going uncertainties surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  And if the Court rules in favor of King and the subsidies disappear, hospitals that rely on patient revenue will incur significant financial impacts. 

In recent years many hospitals have exhausted the low-hanging fruit for cost-cutting. Salaries and wages are one of the largest costs of every company, and are often the most difficult to control. How will hospitals remain competitive with wages in 2015?  Other industries have been forecast with economic improvement in 2015 with wage increases expected to be larger than they have been since the beginning of the recession.  Small businesses are forecasting growth which means more jobs and greater competition.  Compensation that lags the market and competitors can create poor employee morale, have a negative impact on customer relations, and further decline sales. If cost cutting measures are expected to impact wages and tough decisions are to be made, hospital human resources need to get out in front of it and develop an action plan.  Pay and pay scales need to be reviewed and compared to current market trends to facilitate educated and informed decisions.  All options need to be thoroughly explored.  A good communication plan with employees is also critical.  It’s up for you to set the tone for employees. The best approach is to be positive and truthful about the challenges facing your organization.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date market surveys of pay practices, benefits, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes.  Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs.  We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives.   For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11th, 2015 · Comments Off on HOSPITALS FINANCIAL WOES IMPACT ON WAGES

THE IMPORTANCES OF METRICS FOR HUMAN CAPITAL (Resources)

In a research report entitled, The State of Human Capital 2012, ( Report ) prepared by The Conference Board and McKinsey & Company, they concluded that the one word that describes the state of the Human Capital Department in most companies today is “paralysis”. What they meant by that was there were too many factors to manage including a changing workforce, too much uncertainty, too many risks and too little support. One area that was identified as a key success factor for the future was developing stronger workforce analytics and metrics. While HC professionals agree that metrics are critical to their future success and importance to the executive suite, overall metrics utilization by the HC departments is considered to be lagging when compared to other departments within their organization.

HC metrics are a vital way to quantify the cost and the impact of employee programs and HC processes and measure the success or failure of HR initiatives. The use of metrics on the labor force can have a positive impact on profit.  Metrics can quantify the dollar impact that HR processes and actions have on business goals.  The ability to illustrate trends and impacts with numbers is a very effective way for HC professionals to influence and get the support of managers and executives.  Metrics can highlight inefficiencies, reduce expenses, and drive improvements and financial results. 

Critical to the success and value of HC metrics is that they are accepted by colleagues and executives.  Contrary to popular belief, more often than not, the metrics don’t require a degree in mathematics or complex formulas.  Not every metric idea will succeed.  Many workplace metrics seem like great ideas, until you actually put them on paper and find they tell you little or nothing of value.  Careful selection of what is measured places the focus on business goals and lets everybody know what is important. Make sure you know what you want to measure, how you will measure it and how the results will be used for improvement.   The basic goal of any HC metric is to provide managers with information that allows them to improve the measured item.  In order for metrics to be useful, first you need to ensure that the data is accurate and easily accessible. 

A basic but important HC metric is workforce productivity or employee return on investment (ROI) measured by dividing the total dollar amount spent on labor costs by total revenue, or revenue per employee (total revenue/the number of employees).  Ask executives to weigh in on the biggest workforce issue(s) and the resulting metrics. A best practice is to have a current or hot issue metric that needs executive attention. 

With the tightening labor market, turnover is returning as a hot issue. Turnover is a common HC measurement and is calculated by dividing the number of terminations by the average number of active employees during the same time period.  This simple measurement as it is applied and modified can be used for many HC metrics.  For example, using the basic turnover measurement: how many employees leave during their first year of employment – this may signal a problem with the recruiting process or with the on-boarding process; how many top performers are leaving – perhaps a problem with compensation or a lack of promotional opportunities; how many employees are leaving from each department – departments with high turnover may signal a problem with management. The cost to replace employees can then be applied to highlight the bottom-line cost of turnover.

Some other examples of HR metrics are:

  • Recruiting Process Metrics:
    • Number of overall days that “key positions” were vacant
    • Year over year comparison of average new hire performance appraisal scores
    • Manager satisfaction with new hires
    • Percent of diversity hires in managerial and senior positions
  • Compensation & Benefits Metrics
    • Survey employees on their perceptions of fair pay as compared to work expectations.
    • Percent of employees satisfied with their compensation
    • Percent of top performers that are paid above the average salary for their position
  • Employee relations  Metrics
    • Compare year over year results of % of employees that rate their manager poorly
    • Turnover % of low performing managers and employees within one year of receiving the low performance score
    • % of low performance rated employees that are on a performance improvement plan
    • % of employees that are all in any performance improvement plan that improve at least one level on performance appraisal ratings within 1 year
  • Training & Development Metrics
    • % of employees that report that they are satisfied with the learning and growth opportunities
    • % of employees that report that they are satisfied with on-the-job learning

As you decide on and develop your HC metrics, it is important that you have asked your executives for their input regarding factors that help the organization and departments run smoothly, satisfy customers and turn a profit.  And your metrics should provide information, and not just numbers. As you identify what’s important to your organization’s strategic success, the metrics that matter most should rise to the surface.  Your goal is not to inundate executives and managers with numbers, but to provide critical information that they can use in making decisions about business issues.

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date market surveys of pay practices, benefits, market compensation data and salary reports that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. The PeerMark™ Wage Survey is the only Web-based custom survey tool that allows individual survey participants to select their competitive set for comparison purposes.  Our experienced compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs.  We can help you ensure internal equity and compliance with regulations as well as help you structure your compensation programs to support your company’s business strategy and objectives.   For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.