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Employment Resources Bulletin
Helpful Tips To Follow As You Plan Your Halloween Office Party
Throwing a Halloween office party can build morale and teamwork. However, you want to make sure it’s fun for your employees. Here are some helpful tips to remember as you plan this year’s Halloween party.
Choose a Time
Consider the purpose of your party as you set a time for it. Held on a workday, the party gives everyone a mini break from work and encourages attendance. Assemble after work, and you may increase the fun but have fewer attendees. Both options are okay, so choose the right one for your company.
Notify Everyone in Advance
Even if you haven’t finalized all the party details, set and share the party date with employees at least one month in advance. Advance notice gives your team ample time to arrange work projects and prepare a costume.
Plan Fun Activities
Fill your party with interesting, engaging and fun activities. Some suggestions include:
Bob for apples.
Decorate seasonal cookies.
Collect food for a local charity.
Eat seasonal foods and beverages, such as pumpkin muffins or apple cider.
Plan to award prizes in several categories as you build excitement for the party. Categories can include most original costume, best department decorations or the most unique game idea.
Share Costume Guidelines
While costumes are part of the Halloween party fun, remind employees to follow company guidelines, especially for staff members who interact with customers. Depending on your company, these guidelines may limit gore and blood or scary costumes.
Consider asking departments to share in the party planning. Assign different departments to plan snacks, games and decorations. Delegating gives employees an opportunity to work together, encourages teamwork and ensures everyone has a stake in the party’s success.
You may be surprised at what you learn about your staff as you observe them in a relaxed environment. Maybe one of your employees takes initiative to run the games while another designs a creative costume. Take this opportunity to spot untapped talent that might prompt beneficial changes for the company.
Respect Cultural Differences
In some cultures, Halloween has a negative or even satanic connotation. Rather than drop the party, include input from all perspectives as you plan your office party. Consider toning down the Halloween focus in favor of a fall theme, if necessary.
Add to the fun when you invite employees to bring their family members to the party. They can dress up and participate in the games and festivities, too.
This year, plan a Halloween party for your office and improve morale and teamwork. These helpful tips allow you to plan a party everyone will enjoy.
Scurich Insurance Services
How to Handle Pay Raise Complaints
At the beginning of the new year, many companies offer raises to employees. What happens, though, when employees express unhappiness about the raises they receive?
If they complain to each other, productivity and morale decline. Use several tips as you handle these complaints promptly and properly and encourage a positive, productive and healthy work environment.
Welcome Pay Raise Discussions
Employees should feel comfortable discussing any subject with you, including pay. Strive to cultivate an open door policy, and listen carefully to your employees so they feel comfortable being honest with you about all their concerns.
Compare Standard Industry Pay Rates
Search the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com, Salary.com and job listings to find the current pay rates for employees in your industry. For the most accurate data, research companies of comparable size with employees of similar talents and skills to your employees.
Provide Performance Details
If your company’s pay raises depend on employee performance, prepare a review of the employee’s record and performance during the last year as you outline the reasoning for their specific pay raise. Offer suggestions for improvement, too, so your employees know exactly how to qualify for a bigger raise next year.
Review the Raise Policy
Your company may offer larger raises to employees after they work there for a certain number of years, or your raise policy may give everyone the same raise regardless of merit. Review this policy with employees as you explain their pay raise.
Offer Alternative Benefits
In lieu of large pay raises, the company may boost the employee benefits package or offer alternative benefits like extra time off or a flexible work schedule. Discuss these perks with employees as you help them understand this year’s pay raise.
Explain the Company's View
Your company could have multiple reasons for giving lower-than-expected raises. While you don’t have to explain all the reasons to your employees, share some details, such as the employee budget, increase in insurance benefits or slow production, that help them understand your point of view.
Note Pay Raise Complaints
When employees take time to complain about their pay raise, record their concerns, including why they believe they deserve a bigger raise, your reasoning for the raise they received and any suggestions you made for their future improvement. The employees will appreciate being heard and the fact that you take their compensation complaints seriously.
If employees complain about their pay raise, you can take these steps to address the complaint promptly and properly. Handle the situation the right way, and you build rapport and create a stronger company.
Scurich Insurance Services
Promote Inclusion During National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), gives your company an excellent opportunity to promote awareness for and appreciation of disabled employees. This year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.” Your company can empower all and improve inclusion in several ways this month and throughout the year.
Share the Benefits of Hiring Disabled Employees
Your company gains numerous benefits from inclusion, such as:
Enhanced team environment.
Increased customer base and loyalty.
Improved public image.
Reduced employee turnover.
Compliance with labor laws.
Earned Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
Share these benefits with your clients, customers and competitors as you encourage them to follow your example.
Review your Policies
No matter how many employees with disabilities you hire, ensure you’re creating a company culture that embraces everyone. All employees in every area of your company should be welcoming and feel welcomed. Also, your recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement practices should support your employees of all abilities.
The men and women who directly supervise employees should understand inclusion and their role in fostering the right attitude and culture in your company. Include relevant policies, reasonable accommodations and other essential information in your training.
All employees should understand and participate in your company’s commitment to inclusion. Hold official trainings, talk about inclusion throughout the day, and facilitate inclusion activities as you educate your employees.
Establish an Employee Resource Group (ERG)
An ERG, also known as an Employee Network or Affinity Group, gives employees with a disability the opportunity to connect and support each other. Establish one in your company, and use displays and other tools to remind employees about this helpful resource.
Update your Display Boards
Your company’s display boards may include announcements or feature different departments or employees. This month, update your display boards to add information about your inclusive workforce. Celebrate your employees with a disability, hang posters from the
“What Can YOU Do?”
series or highlight other information about this important celebration.
Participate in a Disability Mentoring Day
Encourage youth with disabilities to learn more about the careers offered in your company. Host a hands-on event where youth can shadow employees and receive mentoring. While Disability Mentoring Day is held the third Wednesday of October, you can participate more often if you wish as you promote inclusion.
Share Information on Social Media
Prioritize awareness online and start conversations about disability when you use your website and
pages as a platform for inclusion. Talk about your company’s policies, showcase individual employees, and share statistics and other facts about NDEAM.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month gives your company the opportunity to promote awareness. Consider incorporating these tips this month and all year as you embrace inclusion.
Scurich Insurance Services
Can An Employer Request Employee Credit Reports?
You’ve written and posted the job ads and are ready to interview candidates, or it’s time for annual reviews, terminations and promotions. Can you request credit reports for potential or current employees? Learn more about the legal guidelines surrounding employee credit checks.
Why Do Companies Perform Credit Checks?
Many employers perform credit checks as a way to verify an employee’s integrity. A credit check can also reduce potential liability that could come from negligent hiring practices.
When Can Companies Perform Employee Credit Checks?
Companies can check a potential employee’s credit as part of the hiring practice. After an employee is hired, a company can also perform a credit check before they renew the employee’s contract, give promotions or reassign employees to another position.
Most employers must follow the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It outlines how employers can obtain and use credit information and stipulates that you must inform employees and get written permission before you can obtain credit report information.
Do All Companies Perform Employee Credit Checks?
While many companies can perform employee credit checks, it’s not mandatory. In fact, certain companies only perform credit checks on key positions such as those who handle sensitive financial information. Also, certain states ban the use of credit checks to determine employment status.
What Information is Included on an Employee Credit Report?
Employers obtain employee credit reports from numerous consumer and employment credit checking agencies. The report can contain a variety of personal information, including:
Social Security number
Marital status, including spouse’s name
Current and previous addresses and employers
Credit card, loan and child support obligations, including payment history
Liens, judgments and bankruptcies
Identity of anyone who checked the credit report recently
Most employee credit reports will not contain a credit score.
Can Employees be Fired Because of Their Credit Reports?
Currently, no federal laws and few states prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s credit report. You must follow FCRA if you fire someone based on their credit report. The law states that employers must:
Provide employees with a copy of the FCRA and their credit report before firing or eliminating the employee.
Provide terminated employees with the contact information of the credit reporting agency.
Keep all credit report information confidential and not store it in personnel files.
Employers must also follow the Federal Bankruptcy Act and other civil rights laws. You cannot fire someone based on a past bankruptcy or use credit report information as an excuse to fire someone based on their gender, race or age.
Before requesting an employee’s credit report, check state and anti-discrimination laws. These steps ensure you use credit information properly as you make staffing decisions for your company.
Scurich Insurance Services
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