You are a business owner. You are passionate about what your business does. But, legal compliance of I-9 documents? Benefit renewals? Unemployment compensation defense? Maybe not so much.
And yet, attention to the details of HR is critical. Overlooked tax changes, missed reporting requirements or a tricky employee termination can cause serious legal and financial repercussions.
Fortunately, Servant HR is a full service HR department that enjoys serving clients through eliminating their administrative hassle. Our team of experts partners with you to manage and optimize all your human resource responsibilities, so you have the freedom to focus on what matters most — growing your business.
What is a PEO?
When a company signs on with Servant HR, a unique relationship is formed as Servant HR becomes the company’s PEO.
The acronym PEO stands for Professional Employer Organization. While the acronym is attached to a variety of business models, NAPEO (The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations) defines a PEO as a “provider of comprehensive HR solutions for small and midsize businesses.”
A professional employer organization establishes a three-way relationship between a company, its employees and the PEO. Rather than the traditional employer/employee relationship, the company and the PEO become “co-employers.”
What is Co-Employment?
Servant HR is an administrative employer, managing payroll, workers compensation, benefits and unemployment compensation matters. Management and day-to-day oversight is still the responsibility of the worksite employer.
When a company engages Servant HR as its PEO, employees sign a Co-Employee Acknowledgement Agreement. This agreement confirms employee understanding that he/she is now an employee of both Servant HR and their worksite employer.
What exactly does Servant HR do?
We provide comprehensive HR management tasks across five main disciplines:
- HR Coaching & Counseling
- Benefits Administration
- Risk Management
- Retirement Program Setup & Admin
As a PEO, we strategically partner with clients to manage and optimize all human resource responsibilities — for both the benefit and protection of the client.
Any other reasons to consider a PEO?
So glad you asked!
According to NAPEO, small businesses that work with a PEO:
- Grow 7 to 9 percent faster
- Have employee turnover that is 10 to 14 percent lower
- Are 50% less likely to go out of business
Any other reasons to consider Servant HR specifically?
- Relief from the burden of employment administration
- Expanded human capital management through a team of professionals
- Improved employment practices, compliance and risk management
- Administration of comprehensive employee benefit packages
- Improved productivity and profitability
Unlike single-task outsource companies, Servant HR values the total relationship. By maintaining close management of all HR functions, our team gains valuable insights, understands procedures and offers holistic service. Our mission to take care of you and your employees makes relationship our priority.
Have more questions? Considering a PEO for your business? Contact us today! We’re excited to show you the benefits of a relationship with Servant HR.
On the heels of 4th of July, and with off-cycle election season quickly approaching, you may be finding yourself in a few more political conversations than usual. Talk at weekend BBQ’s, family gatherings—even checkout line chatter seem to land on politics.
But what about the workplace? Hot topics are still buzzing, but how much can employees engage in political conversations at work? If there is a line, what happens if it’s crossed?
Can you actually fire—or be fired—for talking politics at work?
Many assume First Amendment protection, but free speech isn’t so simple. According to writer Stacey Lastoe at The Muse, “There’s free speech, and then there’s free speech in the workplace.”
Private vs. Public
Private and public employers operate by different sets of rules. Private employers can generally set regulations about what is or isn’t appropriate for workplace discussions. There is not an inalienable First Amendment right in a private employer’s workplace.
Examples of private-sector employment areas include financial services, law firms, estate agents, newspapers and hospitality. Examples of public-sector employment areas include government employment, some healthcare, teaching, emergency services, armed forces and civil services.
Because politics are so polarizing, private organizations can easily and justly prohibit political discussions while at work. However, federal law also protects employees’ right to discuss labor issues with each other (i.e. wages and working conditions).
So the line is hazy—as guidelines pertain to specific topics of political conversation. For example, employees are protected if discussing support for a candidate who promotes higher wages. But as soon as the conversation switches to a candidate’s stance on foreign policy, those same protections technically don’t apply.
So what actually happens if an employee discusses politics in the office?
Of course the political answer is, it depends. There are a few variables that determine potential consequences:
- Your state. You might work in a state where the law protects employees from workplace discrimination based on political affiliation or extends other protections that would tend to protect you from being fired for talking about politics. Click here to read the different laws for each state regulating politics in the workplace.
- NLRA protection. Most employers are covered by the National Labor Relations Act, which makes it unlawful to fire employees for participating in “concerted activity.” (Read our article about concerted activity on social media here.) If employees are discussing how they might improve the terms and conditions of their employment, or the previously mentioned labor issues, NLRA protection is granted.
- The situation. Bosses have the right to call out employees chatting on the clock. Politics aside, if an employee is not working when they’re supposed to be working, it may be cause for disciplinary action. If discussions are “creating a disruption,” this can also lead to discipline.
Takeaways for Employers
Be clear and aware. Make sure your organization has everything spelled out—what is expected of employee talk and behavior at work, how employees should use the internet on the job, social media policies, etc.
Be aware of your state’s laws and work with HR on communication of what is and isn’t allowed. (Need help with HR? That’s our thing! Contact us today and see how our PEO model can lighten your administrative load.)
Takeaways for Employees
Know the rules. Be careful of how you’re using work time and remember that regardless of your political opinion, you’re at risk if you’re posting it during work hours. Remember that even out of the office, you represent your company and behaving professionally is good practice.
Being an employee doesn’t require you abandon political causes you care about either! Simply set your social media accounts to private and make sure not to link yourself to your company—make it clear you’re representing only yourself.
Both employers and employees have the responsibility of pursuing shared goals for the good of their company. The good news is, that responsibility can easily be carried out apart from politics. Our best advice? Your #1 issue at work, should be work.
Many companies have approached employee incentives the exact same way for decades—sick leave, overtime pay and annual salary reviews. While these ideas are important and generous, companies must take cues from today’s market to broaden their perception of incentives.
Employee engagement is now a financial strategy for businesses and high engagement is commonly driven by recognition and reward. Two key factors have been identified in the creation of modern incentives that actually engage and produce real, bottom-line benefits:
Consumer demand for personalization is up. Why would employee demand be any different?
Still, a recent Deloitte survey reported that only 8% of companies say their systems of incentives are very effective at creating a personalized, flexible solution.
Personal and frequent engagement with employees can lead to the discovery of unique incentives that work well for each individual. Incentives then become the tangible evidence that employees are truly known and cared for within their organization.
Personalization of incentives often looks like project or target-based bonuses. For some, the ability to create their own benefits packages may be most rewarding. For others, the freedom to do more independent or remote work can motivate and establish trust. Other ideas include creating company-wide recognition with company-wide games—meeting specific performance targets on a points-based system.
By personalizing incentives, employees feel known and uniquely valued within an organization. Oftentimes, being heard is a powerful incentive in and of itself.
An employee’s interpretation of the work he or she does for a company is a critical part of employee engagement. If the brightest minds feels their work is worthless, work ethic will inevitably decline.
This requires employers to give employees a well-defined and visible mission that can inspire and motivate even the most tedious work. Those from the lowest level to the top should be able to see their contributions and value in day-to-day operations.
Sometimes creating purpose-oriented incentives doesn’t even mean creating new ones—it may mean just presenting incentives in a more thoughtful way.
For example, let’s say a travel marketing agency traditionally gives an extended PTO incentive. That’s nice. But if the extended PTO is given with the intent that employees go out, travel, experience the world and bring fresh ideas back with them… that’s a purpose-oriented incentive.
A carefully developed reason for longer vacation time actually gives employees a sense of belonging, purpose and importance. Traditionally, people take vacations to escape from work. But how might organizational culture and engagement shift if even on vacation, employees felt purposeful and helpful?
Another purpose-oriented incentive could involve linking employee rewards to social causes or community issues that matter to them. This incentive is both purposeful and personalized, as it caters to an individual’s passion. Win-win.
Time to Reevaluate
Still not sure you need to revamp your traditional incentives? Try walking by some desks. Do your employees perk up at the sight of you, trying to look busy? Or are they already driven and motivated? Do you find yourself struggling to know what to say, or do you know your employees on a personal level?
Servant HR is a human resource service provider that gives business leaders freedom to focus on the parts they love about their business. Give us a call and see how a PEO can help you today! We take care of your business’s administrative tasks, so that you can take care of your employees—and we think that’s a pretty good incentive.
The sun is out, temperatures are up, and employee attendance is… down. There’s a reason cynics in the HR world nickname The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the “Friday Monday Leave Act.”
FMLA allows up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave each year, as a means for employees to balance their work and family responsibilities. The specific intent as stated by the Department of Labor, is “to promote the stability and economic security of families, as well as the nation’s interest in preserving the integrity of families.”
FMLA is required of employers that have over fifty employees on twenty or more weeks in the prior or current year. To be eligible, employees must have worked at an organization for at least twelve months and logged at least 1,250 hours of service during that time. Qualified employees are permitted FMLA leave for any of the following reasons:
- To care for their child after birth, adoption or foster care.
- To care for the employee’s spouse, child or parent who has a “serious” health condition.
- The employee’s own “serious” health condition makes him or her unable to perform the job.
FMLA is over twenty years old, but surveys show the act still ranks as one of the most confusing and frustrating employment laws for companies to administer. Along with understanding the specifics of the act as it relates to each state and circumstance, employers must also be aware of FMLA abuse tactics.
FMLA expert Jeff Nowak suggests companies take the following measures to ensure fair leave and accountability to the intent of FMLA.
1. Require (and question) employee leave requests
This is an effective strategy for cutting down on all types of absences. An employer cannot deny FMLA leave to a worker who puts in a notice, but simply requiring a written request can deter employees from taking unnecessary leave. It is also helpful for employers to have a list of questions ready when an employee requests time off. Ask about the job functions they are unable to perform, if they will see a health care provider, and when they expect to return to work. Employers have the right to know why an employee can’t come to work and a little probing can help determine if the FMLA request is legitimate.
2. Enforce a daily call-in policy
Requiring employees to call in one hour before their shift to report an absence is another inconvenience that may prevent abuse altogether. An extended vacation may not sound as appealing if you know you have to call into work every single day. As long as a policy is in place and there are no unusual circumstances, it is okay to deny FMLA leave to an employee who fails to call in before their absence.
3. Certify, and then certify again
According to Novak, one of the best tools employers can use to fight FMLA abuse is the medical certification form. Upon the first absence in a new FMLA year, require medical certification to verify the serious health condition. If circumstances change and an employee needs an extra day or week of intermittent leave, require recertification at the earliest opportunity. Employees typically have fifteen days to get a certification returned to their employer.
4. Follow up on patterns
Noticing a lot of sunny Monday and Friday absences? Is holiday time off frequently extended? These are common patterns of FMLA abuse. If a series of weeks or back-to-back months indicates a regular pattern of absences, employers can follow FMLA regulations to consult the employee’s physician. This can simply confirm whether the pattern is consistent with the employee’s health condition and need for leave.
5. Conduct an audit
FMLA policy and forms must be up to date in order to ensure compliance and the best strategies to combat abuse. Be proactive with your employment counsel or PEO to ensure that loopholes are minimized and your FMLA administration is running smoothly.
By partnering with Servant HR as your PEO, you get a fully integrated human resources team working for your protection. Worried about legal compliance? Not sure if your FMLA policy is at it’s best? That’s where we come in. Contact us today!
Dear Servant HR partners & clients,
I want to update you on some exciting long term changes happening here at Servant HR. My desire for the long-term sustainability of Servant HR, along with encouragement from key advisors, has prompted the development of a succession plan for our future. While a typical PEO succession strategy often involves merging or selling to a competitor, it has always been my desire to find someone with the same entrepreneurial drive, passion, and genuine heart for service that grounds Servant HR’s mission and values.
After much consideration and prayer, it has been decided that Brad Schall, our recent VP of Strategic Initiatives, is the clear choice for our future succession needs.
Brad and I first connected ten years ago at Ronald Blue Trust, where Brad served as my financial advisor. Brad has also worked as a staff accountant at UBS Global Asset Management, a Certified Financial Planner, a CPA, and a teacher at Heritage Christian School.
Although the succession process is intentionally slow and will take approximately 7-8 years to fully complete, Brad’s commitment to stay the course with our clients and staff ensures Servant HR will stay true to whom we have always been, while continuing to grow in the knowledge and skills necessary to meet client needs.
Therefore, effective immediately, Brad will now serve as our new President and I have assumed the role of Founder and Chairman.
Our other leadership will not change. Mike Yoder will continue as our CEO, and Loren Elms as our Director of Operations. These three members of our Executive Leadership Team will provide significant oversight of day-to-day operations, while working alongside me in vision casting for our future.
In preparation for this succession transition, Brad became a minority owner on January 1st of this year and is scheduled to become the sole owner of Servant HR in 2026.
Thank you for taking the time to let me share with you this exciting news, and thank you for allowing us the continued privilege of serving you and your work site staff.