Successful start: Six must-dos for HR professionals
Your first years as an HR professional are crucial for shaping communication with employees and colleagues, building responsibility, and getting organized. But when looking at all you’re expected to do, you might feel overwhelmed or feel like you cannot succeed. The top two things HR deals with are salary and benefits. With an intentional focus on those key things and less focus on what doesn’t matter, you can set yourself up for success.
As a benefits partner for organizations nationwide, we’ve walked alongside HR professionals for decades. Through experience, we’ve identified six things to do in your first two years as it relates to your health and wellness program. When your employees come knocking with benefits questions, you’ll have the answers.
Six things to do in your first two years to ensure your success
1.Take a crash course in everything benefits
Benefits are a great way to support your colleagues. Behind income, they are the most important factor when accepting or declining a job offer.1 Do a deep dive early to understand what your organization offers. Understand your medical plan and know what benefits wrap around it. Dig into other benefits employees have access to and learn how they work. Lean on your provider or broker for supplemental education for you and your employees.
Explore how these benefits can create a positive quality of life and future for your crew! Educating yourself and your employees on benefits can help increase retention. 2
2. Become an expert on...
So much goes into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance but understanding it all is key. And the truth is, ACA won’t go away.
W-2 Safe Harbor
The ACA requires employers to offer affordable group health coverage or risk penalties; W-2 Safe harbor is a method used to prove ACA affordability. Read this article how the new ACA affordability may increase your financial burden and how that can lead to penalty risks surrounding safe harbor.
It is important to understand Section 125 and know when plan document updates are needed.
There are several different penalties an employer may be assessed by the IRS related to health and welfare plan, including not offering the minimum value coverage and coverage not being affordable.
A fifteen-minute-a-week investment can increase your HR expertise. It also provides information about where to direct your employees to where they can get key information.
3. Create a resource guide
There’s nothing quite as aggravating as looking for a phone number or email when you’re in a pinch. Take a pause early on and create an index of all your contacts. Consider including contact information for your:
- Health provider
- COBRA provider
- Family Medical Leave (FML) or paid family medical leave (PFML) providers
- Dental provider
- Vision provider
- Supplemental provider
- Enrollment system provider
- Life insurance provider
- Retirement provider
- Fringe benefits provider
Identifying these will allow you to have instant access to key people who can answer questions about benefits, retirement and HR issues. Additionally, it is important to develop a relationship with your providers. The better your provider knows you and your employees’ needs, the better they can serve you.
4. Review your new employee onboarding experience
Your benefits onboarding should be a planned approach to orient your new employees and help them understand their options. Make sure there are ways to keep your newly hired employees engaged and learning. A great way to keep it fresh and effective is by getting feedback from those who recently went through your benefits enrollment or benefits onboarding process.
Ways to get the feedback you need
- Send out a survey after the completion of the onboarding process
- Ask what could be improved
- Respond by personal email to follow up with those that completed their onboarding process
- Set up a meeting and talk about it and learn helpful tips on doing so
5. Find a solution to track legal updates
Keeping on top of changes in the laws, updates on benefits, retirement system updates and trends in employee retention is imperative. Use the information to build your reputation and enhance your role by becoming a proactive leader in making sure that your colleagues understand what they need to know. Make sure your employees are up to date as well. Review important legal milestones
6. Communicate to your employees
Communication is key. The saying goes, “the difference between a good professional and a great leader is the ability to communicate”.3 This might be difficult if communication is something you are not used to doing. Just know, communicating in multiple ways is important for your employees and can improve understanding, relationship building, employee engagement, and even employee satisfaction in the workplace.
Not everyone in a company or even a group of people will prefer the same platform. Some might respond best to in-person communication while others might respond best to email, call, or text. Not only is it how you are communicating, but what.
If millennials are a large part of your workforce, then it would make sense to include some form of visual to best communicate what you want to them. The baby boomer generation, on the other hand, is half as likely to want a visual communication method than millennials.2 It’s all about understanding the demographics of your workforce.
An investment in time pays off
The HR landscape is constantly changing. Having reliable resources for continuous learning is key. Invest in yourself and your education and know the experts already in your corner to lean onto for support.
This blog is up to date as of March 2023 and has not been updated for changes in the law, administration or current events.