HR Knowledge advises on when and how to outsource human resources

Jeff Garr, CEO

Juggling the needs of your business with business tasks can be a delicate balancing act. Whether you elect to do things in-house or outsource tasks such as human resources depends partially upon the company’s growth, and partially upon finding excellent outsourcing partners.

Jeffrey C. Garr, CEO of HR Knowledge, Inc., a leading HR, payroll and benefits service provider in the Boston area explained, “As a company grows, it’s important to know when to look for support outside of the company. This is referred to as outsourcing. Knowing your strengths helps you to determine what aspects of your business can be outsourced to a specialist, which ultimately saves you time and money in the long run.”

There are five keys to understanding when and how to outsource human resources for success:

1. Know your core value proposition. The first step to intelligently delegating work outside your company is understanding what you do best. This is your core value proposition. Many of the things that are important to running a business will pull your attention and focus away from the core value, and understanding it and knowing what it is that you do best will help your company grow and will also define those things that should be done within the company versus those activities that potentially could be outsourced.

2. Be organized. Before you can delegate you must create the specification of work. The extent in which you can clearly delineate the scope of the project or work will define how successful you will be. In addition, you should create a timetable for deliverables, a template for reporting, and an exit strategy if the relationship isn’t functioning the way you feel it should be. Not creating a clear understanding in the beginning could be a recipe for failure in the future.

3. Know Your Budget. Your time is valuable. You’re more likely productive at your core value proposition that you are to some of the supporting roles that are necessary to run a business. To that extent, outsourcing will actually save you money since you can be much more proficient doing what you do best and simply paying others to do what they do best.

4. Make a Plan. Authorized alterations can be expensive. If you have plan, try to stick to the plan. Each modification that sounds great as the project moves along may wind up costing in the end. Be sure that you have a goal and plan in mind and that you and your outsourced vendor are both sticking to that plan.

5. Don’t Settle. If you aren’t happy with the results or the partnership, it’s possible you missed one of the steps along the way – you may not have made a good plan, or you may not have clearly shared expectations. Either way, if it becomes apparent that the project is not progressing well, you should have an exit plan.

Garr continued, “Understanding and sharing expectations when it comes to outsourcing is critical for the relationship to be effective.”

About HR Knowledge, Inc.

HR Knowledge, Inc. is a leading Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) serving emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the Northeast. HR Knowledge has the experience and technology to efficiently provide best-in-class integrated HR services at an affordable cost to clients.

HR Knowledge’s leaders have more than 100 years of combined experience and provide expert guidance in Human Resource management, Group Benefits Brokerage, Payroll Processing & Managed Services, Financial Services and Recruiting and Hiring Process Management (HPM).

Through their comprehensive Human Resource Services, HR Knowledge helps organizations minimize operational risks, reduce administrative costs and better serve their people.

HR Knowledge has been recognized as a Gold Level Broker by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare. The company is headquartered at 905B South Main Street, Suite 203 in Mansfield and their second office is located at 890 Winter Street, Suite 208 in Waltham, MA. For more information, contact (508) 339-1300 or visit their website at www.hrknowledge.com

HR Knowledge Inc. Weighs in on Obtaining Facebook Login from Job Applicants

Jeffrey C. Garr

Recent reports of employers asking prospective employees for Facebook login information have raised alarm in Facebook, job applicants and the legal community.

There have been at least three cases recently reported in the media where individuals were required to share Facebook passwords and user names as part of the application process for employment. There is also the instance of a city that required prospective job applicants to provide access to their Facebook account as well as their email accounts so they could review applicants’ private information. Is this legal?

According to Jeffrey C. Garr, CEO of HR Knowledge, Inc., a leading HR, payroll and benefits service provider in the Boston area, “Right now it is not illegal to ask for job applicants’ login information. But, employers who access private account information can therefore be accused of unlawfully discriminating against otherwise qualified applicants based upon information contained in private Facebook accounts.”

He continued, “Unlike comprehensive background checks for employment in law enforcement, or at highly sensitive infrastructure sites where there may be access to vulnerable populations, which is generally accepted, employers may gain information they cannot ask about through a social media profile. This information obtained could be the individual’s religion, age, marital status, pregnancy status or other protected information.”

The onus is on employers to understand that there are categories of information that they are not permitted to make hiring decisions based on. Having access to this through a Facebook profile could be deemed sufficient to subject the employer to civil liability.

Facebook made a statement that it is a violation of “Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities” to solicit a Facebook password. In fact, Facebook notes that this “undermines the privacy expectation and the security of both the user and the user’s friends”.

Another point made by Facebook is that asking for user credentials in order to gain information about prospective employees could expose employers to lawsuits. Once an employer gets access to information, such as discovering the individual is a member of a protected group, the employer could be exposed to discrimination suits if the employer does not hire that person.

Garr concluded, “There is current litigation pending and being drafted to address gaps in federal law that allow employers to require personal login information from prospective employees to be considered for a job. Asking for Facebook login information of job applicants in order to review their personal information is not something that we, as an HR company, recommend.”

About HR Knowledge, Inc.

HR Knowledge, Inc. is a leading Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) serving emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the Northeast. HR Knowledge has the experience and technology to efficiently provide best-in-class integrated HR services at an affordable cost to clients.

HR Knowledge’s leaders have more than 100 years of combined experience and provide expert guidance in Human Resource management, Group Benefits Brokerage, Payroll Processing & Managed Services, Financial Services and Recruiting and Hiring Process Management (HPM).

Through their comprehensive Human Resource Services, HR Knowledge helps organizations minimize operational risks, reduce administrative costs and better serve their people.

HR Knowledge has been recognized as a Gold Level Broker by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare. The company is headquartered at 905B South Main Street, Suite 203 in Mansfield and their second office is located at 890 Winter Street, Suite 208 in Waltham, MA. For more information, contact (508) 339-1300 or visit their website at www.hrknowledge.com

HR Knowledge Inc. Shares 7 Key Points for Building A Strong Sales Team

Jeff Garr, CEO

Compensating your sales people correctly can be a great challenge to the average business manager or owner. If you don’t compensate correctly or adequately, sales production may suffer, which will directly affect business growth and profit. If you do incentivize sales staff correctly but pay them too much, it could create future problems related to growth and or profitability of your business.

HR Knowledge, Inc., a leading human resources Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) serving emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the East Coast with offices in Mansfield and Waltham, shares their “7 Key Points for Building a Strong Sales Team”:

1. Consider a Compensation Model prior to targeting and hiring sales people. It helps to have a good understanding of what makes some people “tick”, yet not others. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that there are a number of aspects that generate needs for any person, some of which may be of more interest to one person and less interest to another. Once you understand which aspect(s) motivate people, you can create a better environment to help create greater success.
2. Hire the right team of sales people. Before hiring, understand the type of sales person you need and then target them. Are you looking for an “order taker”? This is a person who can call on existing accounts and build great relationship with the client. Are you looking for a sales person who can “make it rain”? This person has the ability to create and generate business. If they are able to “find” business then they are the “hunter”. Understand what type of sales person you need and then target them in recruiting.
3. Adhere to the “Three A’s” when hiring. Once you understand the type of sales person you are looking for, remember the “Three A’s” when hiring for a sales position in your company. The first and most important “A” is Attitude. The right attitude is everything when hiring people. If they have the right attitude they will go through the wall for you to close business and follow the direction of the company. The second “A” is Aptitude. Ask yourself if s/he has the aptitude for the position of the company. Webster Dictionary defines aptitude as “capability; ability; innate or acquired capacity for something; talent”. The final “A” is Altitude, meaning, how high can they go? How high do you need them to go? Will they plateau at a certain point and coast?
4. Beware of complacency. The next concern when hiring sales people and thus managing them is complacency. Most sales people will reach a point of complacency and then coast in the job. Less work and more play becomes their mantra. The key challenge for management is to do all you can do to prevent complacency by your sales people. Most people become satisfied (and have obtained fulfillment of Maslow’s higher level emotional needs) once they attain job satisfaction or reach a particular level of income or status. With sales people, the challenge is to prevent this from happening.
5. Utilize your Compensation Model. It is vital to keep sales people motivated and “in the game”. From a managerial standpoint, it is far easier to compensate sales people and steer them in the direction the company wants them to go than it is to create compensation models to drive operations people, where you have to rely on coaching and management techniques. Sales people are experts in understanding compensation models and how they can maximize their income in the quickest time frame. They are usually very highly motivated and understand how the game works. This being the case, it is imperative to find a compensation model to drive the sales team to do what you want them to do.
6. Understand what your company’s objectives are and then create the compensation model to attain those objectives. For example, if your interest is to expand and grow your client base, then the compensation model needs to reward your sales team for new business and retention. You can create additional incentives to ensure that a large portion of their pay will be derived from new business acquisition. If it is imperative that your sales team be involved in the retention of clients, then you need to find a compensation model which will reward them for retaining and maintaining great relationships with clients. If they lose clientele, you must ensure that this will affect their compensation. This is a delicate area because if your operations team is not equally committed to retaining clients and the service or product you are delivering is not up to standard, then the sales team has no chance to retain the business no matter how great their relationship is with that client.
7. Do all that you can to ensure that the product or service you deliver is “remarkable!” Make sure that your company is setting the tone and the barometer in the marketplace for what you do. This will allow your sales people to confidently and comfortably sell your product or service. Without this, no sales person of any quality can survive and thrive in today’s business environment. Make sure that your operations team are as committed and passionate about clients as your sales team.
For more information about compensation, HR and or benefits contact Jeff Garr, CEO at HR Knowledge or 508-339-1300.
About HR Knowledge, Inc.
HR Knowledge, Inc. is a leading Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) serving emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the East Coast. HR Knowledge has the experience and technology to efficiently provide best-in-class integrated HR services at an affordable cost to clients.

HR Knowledge’s leaders have more than 100 years of combined experience and provide expert guidance in Human Resource management, Group Benefits Brokerage, Payroll Processing & Managed Services, Financial Services and Recruiting and Hiring Process Management (HPM).
Through their comprehensive Human Resource Services, HR Knowledge helps organizations minimize operational risks, reduce administrative costs and better serve their people.

HR Knowledge has been recognized as a Gold Level Broker by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare. The company is headquartered at 905B South Main Street, Suite 203 in Mansfield and their second office is located at 890 Winter Street, Suite 208 in Waltham, MA. For more information, contact (508) 339-1300 or visit their website at www.hrknowledge.com

In light of Herman Cain Situation, HR Guru weighs in on Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment can happen to any employer, manager or employee, we are all at risk. Herman Cain may be completely innocent of these allegations. However, most employers when these issues arise, will often times settle the cases before they go to court as the legal fees alone will usually be a far great dollar amount than the amount settled for in a much quicker time frame for resolution. Neither side is admitting fault but the settlement makes the matter go away.

What can employers do to protect themselves? Jeff Garr, CEO of HR Knowledge, Inc., a leading Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) serving emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the Northeast with offices in Mansfield and Waltham, explains there are a number of rules to set in motion as employers to ensure that companies and their employees are protected from frivolous law suits. Garr provides an easy set of guidelines to follow which are outlined below:

1. Create and maintain an up-to-date Employee Guideline or Manual. This Manual should contain all of the legal laws and regulations required by local and national laws. In addition, please ensure that all employees sign a notice of acceptance of this Manual and keep those signed/dated documents in a safe and secure place.

2. Provide annual Sexual Harassment Training for your entire company. This training should help employees understand the do’s and don’ts of supporting a positive work environment. In addition, have each employee sign a letter of acceptance that they have gone through this annual training.

3. Ensure that the Policy in the Employee Guideline/Manual for Sexual Harassment is followed and supported by all in the company. If there is an employee that is feeling as though they are being sexually harassed ensure that proper procedures and or an investigation ensues in order to determine what the issues are. Whatever you do don’t turn your head and act as though nothing happened, this can only make the employee angry and create a better likelihood of the employee suing the employer and or the employee. Remember that not only is the Employer subject to liability but so is the employee if they are the one doing the harassing.

4. Purchase an EPLI policy from your Liability Insurance Provider. EPLI stands for Employment Practice Liability Insurance. This is the only insurance in place to protect the employer and its employees from this sort of litigation. Without this insurance coverage the employer will run blind and the meter will start ticking with any attorney hired to defend you. This policy will also insure that you will be provided Legal Representation. These suits can bankrupt a company if the damages are great enough and they don’t have this insurance.

5. Enlist the services of a strong HR Outsourcing Company or have HR Professionals on board as employees. These professionals can help ensure that you are doing the right thing every day in every way. Notify them early on of any potential issues so that they can start the process of investigating and working on making sure level heads prevail and move forward in a positive way.

For more information or to arrange a speaking engagement with HR guru Jeff Garr, contact (508) 339-1300.

About HR Knowledge, Inc.

HR Knowledge, Inc. is a leading Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) serving emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the Northeast. HR Knowledge has the experience and technology to efficiently provide best-in-class integrated HR services at an affordable cost to clients.

HR Knowledge’s leaders have more than 100 years of combined experience and provide expert guidance in Human Resource management, Group Benefits Brokerage, Payroll Processing & Managed Services, Financial Services and Recruiting and Hiring Process Management (HPM).

Through their comprehensive Human Resource Services, HR Knowledge helps organizations minimize operational risks, reduce administrative costs and better serve their people.

HR Knowledge has been recognized as a Gold Level Broker by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare. The company is headquartered at 905B South Main Street, Suite 203 in Mansfield and their second office is located at 890 Winter Street, Suite 208 in Waltham, MA. For more information, contact (508) 339-1300 or visit their website at www.hrknowledge.com

HR Knowledge Inc. Outlines Developments in Healthcare Reform Legislation

Kenneth Bettenhauser

The implementation of health care reform legislation continues to move forward.
HR Knowledge, Inc., a leading human resources Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) serving emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the Northeast with offices in Mansfield and Waltham, outlines the highlights from the past few months:

Court challenges to the law. Federal district courts in Virginia and Florida ruled as unconstitutional the individual mandate contained in the health care reform. In their opinion, Congress did not have power under the Constitution to require citizens to purchase health insurance. Both of those cases have been appealed by the Obama administration to the U.S. Courts of Appeals covering those states. It’s anticipated the U.S. Supreme Court may ultimately decide this issue. In the meantime, the administration continues to implement and enforce the law.

W-2 reporting requirement modified. Guidance issued by the IRS has modified the timeline for employers to begin reporting the value of employer-sponsored health coverage on employees’ W-2 forms. Employers will be required to begin reporting this information in January 2013 for amounts paid during the 2012 calendar year. However, employers who file fewer than 250 W-2 forms for the 2011 calendar year will not be required to report prior to January 2014 (for amounts paid during the 2013 calendar year). Remember, although these amounts are reported on a W-2, this doesn’t mean the amounts are taxable to employees. The reporting requirement is for information only and is intended to provide useful and comparable consumer information to employees on the cost of their health care coverage.

Repeal of requirement for employers to provide “free-choice vouchers” to certain employees beginning in 2014. As part of the budget bill for the 2011 budget year, Congress repealed the requirement in the health care reform legislation requiring employers provide “free-choice vouchers” to certain employees beginning in 2014, when the health insurance exchanges are established. This would have required employers who paid any portion of the cost of health insurance for their employees to give “qualified employees” a voucher for the amount the employer would pay. The employee could then use that voucher to purchase health coverage from the exchange. For purposes of this requirement, a qualified employee was one whose required
contribution for the employer-sponsored coverage was between 8 and 9.8 percent of the employee’s household income for the tax year. Employers were concerned this requirement would cause healthy employees to leave the employer plan to purchase less expensive coverage through the exchange.

Repeal of requirement that businesses report payments made to all vendors on Form 1099. Congress passed a law repealing the requirement that businesses report payments made to all vendors, including corporate vendors, on Form 1099. This requirement was uniformly criticized as being overly burdensome, especially for small businesses.

“These are fairly significant changes and its imperative that companies stay abreast of them,” noted Kenneth Bettenhauser, President of Brokerage Services at HR Knowledge.
The HR Knowledge blog provides the most recent information on healthcare reform legislation and other HR issues. For more in-depth information, contact HR Knowledge at (508) 339-1300.

About HR Knowledge, Inc.
HR Knowledge, Inc. is a leading Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) serving emerging to mid-sized companies throughout the Northeast. HR Knowledge has the experience and technology to efficiently provide best-in-class integrated HR services at an affordable cost to clients.

HR Knowledge’s leaders have more than 100 years of combined experience and provide expert guidance in Human Resource management, Group Benefits Brokerage, Payroll Processing & Managed Services, Financial Services and Recruiting and Hiring Process Management (HPM).
Through their comprehensive Human Resource Services, HR Knowledge helps organizations minimize operational risks, reduce administrative costs and better serve their people.

HR Knowledge has been recognized as a Gold Level Broker by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare. The company is headquartered at 905B South Main Street, Suite 203 in Mansfield and their second office is located at 890 Winter Street, Suite 208 in Waltham, MA. For more information, contact (508) 339-1300 or visit their website at www.hrknowledge.com