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Via Software Advice : How Hiring Seasonal Employees Can Solve Your Holiday Staffing Woes

‘Tis the season for seasonal employees.

If there’s one thing retailers know about the holiday season, it’s that this period potentially represents as much as 20%-30% of their annual sales. According to the NRF, consumers plan on spending over 3% more this year than they did last year for the holidays.

With a series of celebrations including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, retailers must prepare their teams for the anticipated demand by hiring seasonal employees ahead of the holiday rush. The time is now.

What is a seasonal employee?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) defines seasonal employee as “an employee who is hired into a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or less and for which the period of employment begins each calendar year in approximately the same part of the year, such as summer or winter.”

Below is also how you can classify an employee as a seasonal one:

  • “An employee who is hired into a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or less.” In other words, one who works no more than 35 hours and/or less than six months in the year, according to the ACA.
  • The period of employment must begin and end around the same part of the calendar year (e.g., summer, winter, holiday season).

Did you think of an employee at your business that fit the descriptions above? Then your employee is a seasonal employee. This means you do not have to classify the individual as full-time and benefits-eligible at the point of hire.

Why hire seasonally?

Cost-effectiveness: Hiring a team of full-time employees is not the most cost-effective way to handle seasonal demands, as you likely won’t require an increased level of workforce once the holiday period is over. The last thing you’ll want is to continue paying for full-time employees that you no longer need or have the budget for.

Flexibility: With seasonal employees, you can easily adjust the size of your workforce to meet your retail store circumstances—such as during peak holiday periods, like Christmas Eve, or amid significant employee absences.

Higher morale: Unless seasonal employees are hired to meet demand during the holiday season, full-time retail employees have to take on the extra workload. If not managed well, the demands of the busy holiday season can result in overworked and stressed employees. Seasonal employees can support your existing employees by taking on that extra workload.

Your seasonal hiring checklist

Below is a checklist of steps you need to take before embarking on your search for seasonal employees.

1. Research the difference between a seasonal employee and seasonal worker

A seasonal employee is hired into a position for six months or less around the same part of the calendar year.

Examples of seasonal employees:

  • Cashiers hired from November to December during the holiday season
  • Lifeguards hired for the summer and drivers hired for winter snow plow

A seasonal worker is one who is employed less than four months, or 120 days of work, during the calendar year.

Examples of seasonal workers:

  • Rotating cashiers hired between Memorial Day and Labor Day for a food truck

Why is it important to know the difference?

Misclassifying a seasonal worker as a seasonal employee could result in significant penalties for you as the employer.

Seasonal workers are relevant for determining if you are an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) as Employers who are ALEs must comply with the Play or Pay Mandate. For the seasonal worker exception to apply an employer must satisfy two requirements, according to the ACA:

  1. The employer must not be in excess of 50 full-time employees (including FTEs) for more than 120 days, or four months, in the preceding calendar year.
  2. The employees employed during the period that is no more than 120 days who cause the employer to exceed 50 full-time employees (including FTEs) must be seasonal workers.

2. Ensure compliance for salary and insurance

According to a survey by online insurance company Insureon, more than a third of business owners don’t have plans to update their workers’ compensation insurance to account for temporary workers. This could potentially result in fines, depending on which state your business is in.

Seasonal employees are entitled to your company’s workers compensation, which means they are provided medical care and payments for temporary and permanent disability. That means you must comply with your state’s workers compensation laws as well as coverage of injuries occurring in the workplace.

Other things you should be aware of about seasonal employees:

  • They must be paid minimum wage, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • They are subject to the same tax withholding rules that apply to full-time employees.
  • They need to fill out a Form W-4 as employers will still withhold the federal income tax calculated based on the personal and financial information provided.

Ensuring compliance can be time consuming. Having HR software can alleviate stress by ensuring that you comply with regulations and keeping you updated with any compliance changes.

3. Use an applicant tracking system

When potential employees apply for jobs online, all their information is uploaded into a database. Their contact information, resume and cover letter is then transferred from one component of the system to another as they move on in the hiring process.

Applicant tracking systems provide a way to automate the entire recruiting process from processing job applications to sending automated emails letting applicants know their applications have been received. These systems streamline the recruiting process for employers, making your job of hiring seasonal workers quicker and more efficient.

4. Plan your onboarding and training

Onboarding: Once your candidates are hired, you’ll want to have a robust onboarding plan ready. Doing so sets clear expectations between your managers and seasonal employees and ensures a great onboarding experience.

Provide your managers with a checklist of what they must do around new hire forms and orientation. Onboarding software can help with that, by providing customized workflows for work eligibility and tax documents.

Training: It’s important to set your seasonal employees up for success, as you need them to be just as capable as your full-time employees—especially for the busy season.

When it comes to training, do not underestimate its importance for seasonal employees. Expecting them to perform at the same level as your full-time employees without adequate training will yield unsatisfactory results.

Give them the knowledge they need to do a job well. Train them on processes and duties by using language they understand as new team members and incorporating clear and engaging content.

Conclusion

When it comes to hiring seasonal employees, it’s important to get a head start as you’re not going to be the only one looking for seasonal employees.

Via Forbes : Trying To Reach The Modern Millennial? Avoid These 14 Ineffective Marketing Tactics

Millennials make up a significant portion of the consumer market, and companies are still trying hard to appeal to this population—some with more success than others. Marketing tactics that have worked in the past simply may not be effective when trying to reach this particular generation, especially since most of them have now entered adulthood.

You may be wondering how your company can adjust its strategy to appeal to the modern millennial. To help you, we asked 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council which marketing tactics you should avoid when trying to reach this group. According to our expert panel, here’s what doesn’t work, and what you can do instead.

1. Framing A Job As A Paycheck

Many companies put emphasis on sharing the perks to appeal to millennials. However, what they deeply care about, based on research, is the social impact of businesses. Also, for them, a job is no longer a paycheck but an experience, a venue for growth and a platform to hatch their purpose. So, if companies could shift the focus on their true needs, they will win millennials’ hearts and minds. – Amy Nguyen, Happiness Infinity LLC

2. Only Relying On Traditional Advertising Methods

Traditional advertising methods such as radio, newspaper and print ads will not reach them, as those methods are considered intrusive. Millennials are constantly connected with their Twitter feed and don’t read newspapers. You need to constantly evaluate evolving technology and how millennials are consuming information to get their attention. – Jan Molino, Aspire Ascend

3. Overselling Your Product

Millennials follow brands that they trust. They build emotional connections with brands that are authentic and aligned with their values. Companies should avoid overly pushing a product by just calling out the attributes of that product. Instead, companies should build an emotional connection and tell the story of that product, its values and how it’s changing the lives of others. – Lulu Curiel, Ivy Advisors

4. Prioritizing Ads Over Social Media

Instead of studying a company’s web page and reading about it in the news, millennials tend to have a look at a potential employer’s company page on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. If your page is boring or doesn’t showcase much about your culture, story, values and employees, chances are that millennials won’t apply. So, don’t focus on your web page and ads, focus on great social media content. – Dr. Natalia Wiechowski, Think Natalia

5. Treating Them Like Teenagers

Millennials are young, but they aren’t dumb. Talking to millennials through the lens of a teenager on social media is the fastest way to alienate this demographic. When companies try to grab on to pop culture by using terms like “bae” and “feels,” they minimize their organization’s brand while simultaneously devaluing the pool they hope to attract. Millennials are adults. Treat them as such. – Jeanna McGinnis, Mentor Happy

6. Calling Them ‘Millennials’

In my conversations, millennials have expressed their dislike for the millennial label, which they feel is often more negative than positive. With such a large population group (millennials will make up half of the U.S. workforce by 2020), painting this entire generation with one brush can be a costly mistake. – Eric Beaudan, Odgers Berndtson

7. Pigeonholing Them Based On Their Generation

To be honest, it is hard to talk about attracting talent when candidates are put in one pigeonhole and are treated as a mass. “Millennials.” What does it really mean? Instead of thinking about generations, companies might think about a person’s uniqueness, starting from investigating who they want to hire, through a well-defined job description, and finishing with an engaging interview. – Inga Bielińska, Inga Bielinska Coaching Consulting Mentoring

8. Failing To Highlight Your Corporate Values

The biggest pitfall with multigenerational marketing is making assumptions about groups of people. Instead of labeling millennials and putting them in a box, it’s preferable to highlight the values of the organization that might resonate with them. Set an aspirational vision and a healthy corporate culture where individuals can learn, grow and thrive at work and at home and the talent will follow. – Carolina Caro, Carolina Caro

9. Being Formal And Exclusive

Exciting and inspiring millennials to join your company means your look and feel, as well as the substance and experience you create via your website and other materials, should feel expansive, to the point, inclusive and more informal. The way you talk about your company needs to be easily consumed, relatable and have personality. Transparency, storytelling and being human are the keys. – Kathryn Gorges, Essentials³

10. Not Giving Them A Voice

If you want to appeal to millennials then give them a voice. People want to be heard without fear of losing their livelihood. An open and robust exchange of ideas without repercussions will help millennials thrive and help any organization achieve their stated objectives, as well as grow the next generation of leaders. – Jorge Gutierrez, BMOC Group

11. Trying Too Hard To Recruit Them

Millennials don’t want to be marketed to and see it as a turnoff, even when it comes to employment. They are a savvy bunch that is big on connecting. You’ll do that best by going where they go with the authority of an influencer. Don’t be afraid to go deep and engage the influencer to gain traction on creating a workplace that resonates with your target so you can walk the walk. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International

12. Writing Boring Job Posts

Write job posts to share your culture and the opportunity from the millennial point of view (communicate how they can create, develop, evolve and grow). Posts that are laundry lists listing deliverables and performance expectations are a turnoff and show a culture that will suffocate a millennial. Showcase your purpose and help them understand how they will be empowered and welcomed. – Christy Geiger MCC, CPCC, Synergy Strategies Coaching & Training

13. Assuming They Care About Your Company’s Prestige And History

Millennials are naturally self-interested, in both good and bad ways, depending. Market to the opportunity for them to grow. Don’t assume they care about the prestige of the company, its history or invoke any kind of loyalty, sacrifice or “leave your ego at the door” ideas. The messaging needs to be about what the employer can do for them, and you must deliver with mentoring. – Josef Shapiro, Clear and Open

14. Being Closed Off To Change

To avoid detracting millennials through your marketing campaigns, you have to show that you are a company that looks to innovate and impact the greater good. You cannot seem like a company that is closed off or unwilling to change or your company will not be able to attract this new generation of employees. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience

Via Small Biz Trends : 39% of US Businesses Have No Employer Brand Strategy, How About Yours?

Brand strategy generally means the effort which takes place with the consumer side of a company. But it also applies to the workforce of an organization. Employer branding now plays an important role in recruiting and retaining the best candidates.

However, a report from iHire shows businesses are not all the way on board with this concept. More than two thirds or 39.8% don’t know enough about it to come up with an employer brand strategy. Another 59.3% say they don’t have an employer branding strategy or they are not sure of their branding efforts.

In today’s highly competitive labor market, your employer brand plays a big role in attracting the best talent. The CEO of iHire, Steve Flook, shared this very point in the release for the report and eBook.

Flook says, “An extremely competitive job market requires employers to make extra efforts to stand out from the competition if they want to recruit and retain top talent.”

What Exactly is an Employer Brand?

An employer brand the perception of what your current and potential employees have about your company. If you have a strong employer brand, more people are going to want to work for you.

Everything from company culture to mission and core values plays an important role in creating a strong employer brand. The more reasons you give candidates to come work for you, the better your brand will be in attracting them.

According to iHire, your employer brand should communicate the mission of your company at a glance. And this should be very clear, leaving no doubt about where you stand on the principles which you founded your company on.

Survey Results

The iHire 2019 Employer Branding Pulse Survey was carried out with the participation of 688 U.S. employers across 56 industries.

The concept of employer brand strategy is still not widely shared by employers. Only 40.7% say they have a strategy, with 39.1% saying they don’t, and another 20.2% who are unsure.

But those who have a strategy, fully appreciate the value of having one in place. More than half or 51.2% say it supports their broader marketing efforts. Additional benefits include building credibility and trust (41.2), hiring for culture fit (34.9%), improving employee morale/engagement (32.5%) and it is critical in retaining top talent (30.1%).

When it comes to promoting their employer brand, companies use a wide range of platforms to reach their audience. It all starts with social media at 85.7%, which is followed by a company home page (83.3%) and external job postings (69.9%) for the top three. Other platforms include print, email marketing, advertisement, videos, blogs and more.

As to why they don’t have a brand strategy, the top answer is employers don’t know enough about the subject at 39.8%. This is a reasonable answer, but employers also say their size (28%) and budget (22%) are reasons for not having a strategy in place.

However, iHire says virtually any company – regardless of size, budget, resources, and hiring needs – can build an employer brand.

The Low or No-cost Way to Get Started

With the available technology to small businesses, employers can quickly and easily deploy these elements of employee branding. And in most cases, you can do this at no cost. If you start getting positive results, you can implement low-cost solutions to drive your efforts further.

These are the recommendations from iHire:

  • Gather employee testimonials describing what makes your company a great place to work and share them on your website.
  • Post a video to illustrate “a day in the life” at your workplace.
  • Describe your company benefits, perks, and other incentives in your job ads.
  • Revamp or launch a “careers” landing page on your website comprising open positions, fun company photos, and a list of benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, 401(k) options, volunteer opportunities, discounted gym memberships, etc.
  • Turn your employees into brand advocates — encourage them to provide positive feedback on employer review websites or contribute to your blog.
  • Take advantage of job boards that offer free company profiles and add your logo to external job postings whenever that is an option.
  • Apply for local and/or national awards that recognize workplace excellence (note that some of these awards come with an application fee).
  • Implement a monthly employee survey to solicit ongoing feedback.

Just like word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising for the consumer side of a brand, it also applies for employer brand. When your employees say good things about your company, it will attract top candidates. And this works for companies of all sizes. Being a small business doesn’t preclude you from having a strong employer brand strategy.

Via Small BusinessThe Value of Diversity in the Workplace

The United States is a diverse country. Companies lucky enough to have a workforce as diverse as the population find themselves armed with many perspectives, views and ideas that add strength to their ability to strategize, communicate and deliver. While diversity can also have its challenges in the workplace, it provides an opportunity for employees to reach out and discover the amazing commonalities beneath the surface differences. Any challenges that do arise can be worked through, provided the organization to open to new ideas and actually following through with the ideas and suggestions brought to them from their diverse workforce.

Market Segments and Diversity

Businesses sell to an increasingly diverse customer base in a multicultural society. Having employees who come from different demographics and market sectors can only further a company’s understanding of its customer base. This may help tailor approaches to sales, services and even product development. For a business to survive, let alone thrive, it has to understand its customers and know how to present the products and services they need. Valuing diversity when creating a team can help a business achieve this objective.

Linguistic Skills and Communication

People from different backgrounds bring different languages with them. This can be a huge asset for communicating with customers and vendors–particularly for businesses situated in ethnic communities or selling to various ethnic markets. In an increasingly global market, companies with overseas operations, partners and vendors may also benefit greatly from having a multilingual staff. Communication is also key when it comes to understanding cultural differences. Having someone within your organization who can explain the subtle differences in how cultures view things can be the difference between launching a great campaign and blowing a great opportunity.

Diversity Facts and Ideas

Smart companies encourage employees to come forward with ideas. Creativity and idea generation are among the most valuable assets to a growing company that wants to be innovative and take the lead in a market. Employees of different backgrounds may have ideas about how to improve a product, service or marketing approach to better capture the demographic or market segment from which they come. Getting feedback and advice from all people from all walks of life results in a stronger, more appealing product or service. And since a business exists to fill a niche, finding as many niches among the different cultures in society only helps fulfill that mission.

Economic Diversity Examples

Knowing how to change a process or approach to meet different needs can be what sets an organization apart. Staff from different backgrounds may better understand the needs of a particular community or market. For example, many city hospitals benefit from having Latino and Asian staffs who can not only speak to elderly patients with similar backgrounds but who understand their needs. They may understand a particular culture’s need to have a same-sex nurse or assistant when getting help in the restroom. And this can be the what gets one hospital more business than another.

Talent is Diverse

Talent comes in many packages. People of all backgrounds, colors, ages, shapes and sizes have important skills. Being open-minded may be the difference between hiring good and hiring the best. Great talent can be found worldwide, so being open to the endless possibilities of a global workforce is just good business sense. Some companies sponsor immigration for software engineers and information technology specialists when these skills are in short supply domestically. These workers also provide the added benefit of making the workforce more diverse and more appealing to customers all over the world.

Via Inc : 4 Reasons Every Entrepreneur Should Want to Hire as Many Immigrants as Possible

By hiring immigrants, Wattpad blazed its way to offering 400 million stories in more than 50 languages.

As part of my TV show The Naked Entrepreneur, I sat down with Allen Lau, founder of Toronto-based Wattpad, to discuss the strategies that brought his startup success. To date Wattpad has published 400 million stories across 50 languages, gained 65 million unique visitors monthly reading 22 billion minutes per month, and raked in more than $117 million in VC funding.

While our conversation ebbed and flowed for over an hour what really stood out to me was his commitment to immigration. Lau (who, it should be noted, has previously written for Inc.com) emphasized that Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world, with more than 50 percent of its residents being born outside of the country.

This unique feature, Lau claims, gave his startup a competitive edge. “I believe that Toronto’s diversity gives me an unfair advantage,” he wrote in a Globe and Mail op-ed in May. “True innovation is rooted in the ability to solve problems. Toronto’s diversity has helped me build a team that is insightful and mindful enough to tackle the challenges that arise when you build a global Internet company.”

Here are some stats from Wattpad’s 2018 diversity and inclusion survey:

  • 56 percent of Wattpad employees are women.
  • Women make up 50 percent of Wattpad’s leadership team.
  • Women make up 50 percent of Wattpad’s user experience and design team.
  • Women make up 100 percent of Wattpad’s product team.
  • People of color make up 45 percent of all Wattpad employees and 41 percent of its leadership team.

Lau and several other Canadian tech CEOs explained the importance of diversity to business in a 2017 open letter, following an American presidential executive order that restricted immigration into the U.S. A selection:

“Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders. In choosing to hire, train, and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy. By embracing diversity, we can drive innovation to benefit the world.”

As an immigrant himself, Lau believes it wrong to ostracize people based on their birthplace–and told me he thinks a lot about why more companies should hire immigrants. Here are his four top reasons:

You can fill talent shortages.

The U.S. is falling short on key highly skilled workers. The STEM industries in particular often lack the necessary home-grown talent that startups need to succeed. If you are having trouble finding qualified candidates in the U.S., there is literally a pool of billions to review if you look beyond the border.

The global workforce provides local knowledge.

Today, all businesses are global. Today anyone can sell to buyers anywhere in the world using the internet. But foreign buyers may require customized local knowledge in addition to local language. Lau expanded Wattpad into dozens of countries across Africa (a seemingly underserved market) by letting new employees from those countries be involved in the expansion.

You can get more for less.

Talent, like all assets, is subject to the pricing preasure of supply and demand. Because immigration talent is often overlooked, so demand falls short of supply, such talent can often be acquired for less than homegrown staff. In some cases, credentials of newcomers are not accepted in the U.S., leading to these folks being overqualified and having skills that exceed their peers.

New perspectives are crucial.

A business with an overly homogenous workforce will have limited creativity. Hiring immigrants brings people into your business who have different perspectives born from entirely different places. By mashing up different perspectives, innovation is born.

I’ve seen this play out in my own experience mentoring entrepreneurs and investing in startups. The best local entrepreneurs often don’t start local, which leads me to look for a mashup of cultural knowledge and fresh perspectives when trying to identify strong entrepreneurs.

Lau himself is an immigrant, and recently signed deals with major media players like Netflix, Hulu and NBC to turn Wattpad’s content into mainstream entertainment. In doing so, he’s proving that taking the contrarian approach and doubling down on immigration can be a long-term strategic investment.

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