Tips for Marketing to Today’s HR Buyers

By Lisa Jackel, Content Writer, 190west

Where are these mysterious HR buyers that have seemed to vanish overnight? HR by nature is a gateway into a company, however this trillion-dollar market is MIA –  leaving many companies to develop relationships with voicemail and auto-generated email replies.

As a digital marketing agency that targets the HR buyer ourselves, 190west understands the uphill battle solution providers face when targeting today’s HR buying market. We have analyzed behaviors and assessed strategies. We have assembled focus groups and 190west-logolistened to what they’ve had to say first hand. We have learned what works and what doesn’t. All in an effort to better grasp this elusive market.

Approaching the HR Buyer is like hunting in the wild. You need to be a shrewd tracker. Have patience and pace yourself. Every tactic calculated, in anticipation of their next move. You must stay one step ahead. The only way companies can do this is by building responsive campaigns to initialize and maintain engagement.

190west develops and executes customized marketing plans for every client. These comprehensive “playbooks” contain a series of strategies that identify gatekeepers, develop effective communication, build brand awareness, and convey the right message to the right person. By doing something similar, companies can expedite complex buying cycles and vendor evaluation processes to position products and services ahead of the competition.


As you prepare to market and introduce yourself to the HR buyer, note the following:

HR Buyers Hang Out Together
The tight knit HR community can be found in droves, if you know where to look. While they may not all meet up for drinks after work, they do hang out together in similar spaces online. Imagine marketing to clusters of your target audience versus fishing in an ocean of one. Casting that wider net on the ‘net is a more effective method of lead generation. So how do you get started?

  • Identify the specific websites frequented by HCM professionals and your HR Buyer.
  • HR Influencers spread WOM praise through blogs, boards, and viral media.
  • Online resources can identify common HR terms and phrases searched online daily.

Integrated campaigns allow you to reach a plethora of buyers. Using analytics and trend analysis to predict behavior, strategic placement of actionable OLA, and SEO tools and tactics that handpick the keywords most often used by your market, you can introduce yourself to multiple buyers with a single message.

Tell’em What They Want to Hear
Easy right? Not so much. Now that you’ve got their attention, how do you turn a quick glance into a captive audience? (Cue the drip campaign.) Which brings us to our next question, what do you plan to say?

  • A company’s initial message should be clear, concise, and convincing. (Not easy with a 15 second window, and that’s generous).
  • Before launching any digital marketing campaign, your value prop should be prepped and honed to perfection.
  • Have assets at the ready, geared up to turn prospect into lead – put your best foot forward with quality content.

Whether it was Oscar Wilde, Will Rogers, or Madison Avenue that originated the phrase “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” choose your words wisely. This is where you introduce your company to your buyers and start to be heard.

Tougher still, maintaining that momentum. Say hello to remarketing efforts – keep your brand, your solution, and your genius top of mind.

Oh, And Make Sure You Know Who to Talk To
Well duh! But one of the most common mistakes companies make is assuming their finely tuned, awesome message is getting though.  When in reality it’s probably not. And if it is, it’s not getting very far.

You can drone on and on about what a great product you have, but if no one understands why it’s great, the only person you’re winning over is yourself.  While we’ve discussed the need for the value proposition, the one thing you need to recognize is that a vendor evaluation process is just that, a process. Multiple decision makers at every level of an organization typically means that opinions and personalities run rampant at the intersection of vetting and short-list. You have a general idea of what to say, but who do you target?

  • Determine who key stakeholders are in the process and the domino effect that their two cents has on pushing you further in the door.
  • Identify their specific needs and understand that each will be asking themselves the question, “what’s in it for me?”
  • Leverage reporting and analysis from earlier campaigns will allow you to refine the message and use more effective techniques to expedite communication.

From tactical usage to ROI, at this stage of engagement your message and overall approach will be tailored to each decision maker. Pair existing strategies with new marketing mediums such as demos, whitepapers, and case studies to ensure that individualized content is received by the appropriate person.


Integrated programs tend to evolve over the course of a marketing plan. As campaign analysis and reporting is shared, your tactics should be flexible enough to accommodate this change.

As an HR buyer delves deeper into learning about products and services, the structure of your marketing will progress from brand awareness into a virtual walk-though of solutions. It’s your job to help navigate the user through the information and get exactly what they need to make a decision faster.

Also, with more companies attempting to reach this lucrative market, your audience is likely saturated with the teachings of all-too-similar solutions. Therefore, businesses must focus on their key differentiators and promote unique attributes.

No matter what angle is chosen to initiate brand awareness however, companies should recognize the importance of implementing tactics that support a larger campaign. This will effectively further engagement, fortify a pipeline, and move potential customers through your sales funnel. The days of one-off marketing to the HR buyer are long gone. And, the single siloed approach is nothing more than a waste of time.


About 190west

190west is different. We’ve developed what we call the All-in Approach™ to digital marketing. As accomplished strategists, SEM, automation, content, and analytics professionals, we collaborate with you and complement your team. We make sure that we are jointly attacking all the marketing tactics needed to drive leads and speak to your specific business goals. We measure and adjust constantly. We do what it takes, we make it happen. We are All-in.

Do You Offer the Right HCM Solution for Your SMB Clients?

By Corey Clacher, Kronos SaaShr Marketing Specialist

With constant adjustments to complex labor law changes, a more diverse workforce, and an overall greater reliance on workplace technology, human capital management (HCM) automation is just as critical for small to mid-sized businesses (SMB’s) as it is for enterprise companies today. More and more SMB’s are transitioning from antiquated manual processes by trading their haphazard spreadsheets and endless stacks of paper timesheets for a more efficient and cost-effective alternative with HCM automation and outsourcing.

Service providers know that unnecessary manual processes cost businesses more than just time, they cost them extra money as well. Incorrect pay rates, missed punches, and meal breaks aren’t always captured correctly when they are entered at the time of work or when processing payroll. In fact, the American Payroll Association found that manual employee reporting issues cost a business $1085 on average per employee per year [1]. Times that by even 10 or 20 and these organizations could find themselves in a real deficit, which doesn’t even include fines associated with noncompliance to labor laws such as FLSA and FMLA.

As SMB’s are typically on a small business budget, hiring employees just for tasks associated with HR, payroll, and time and labor management just isn’t feasible. With no dedicated staff to handle these essential processes, SMB’s often rely on their employees to complete theForm Confusionse disjointed tasks themselves. Relying on regular staff to complete HCM processes creates a greater risk for human error, introducing issues such as duplicate data entry and accidental overpayments. It also consumes employees’ time that could be better spent on their actual job responsibilities and not back-office tasks.

For example, it takes employees 5 to 6 minutes to total and audit each manual time card with organizations experiencing anywhere from a 1% to 8% clerical error rate [2]. With the guidance of HCM solutions in combination with skilled service providers, SMB’s can focus on running a successful organization and reaching their bottom line.

With today’s game-changing cloud-based HCM technology, created specifically for the SMB market, smaller businesses can now reap the same benefits that larger enterprise businesses do with affordable HCM automation. With the right HCM solution and your expertise as a skilled service provider, you can help your SMB clients’ take charge of their back-office complexities with their ability to:

  • Data TrappingView real time visibility into employees’ hours
  • Receive auto alerts to notify managers of missed punches, absences, and late punches
  • Accurately and effectively collect employee time data through integrated flexible devices
  • Establish rounding rules for consistency in enforcing grace periods
  • Automatically send correct calculated hours to their payroll system
  • Manage exceptions and trends – early/late arrivals, absences, long or missed breaks, overtime, and missed punches
  • Receive accurate and precise employee paychecks
  • Obtain regional service and support from trained specialists

Interested in learning more about how you can service your SMB clients through a private-label solution designed with them in mind? Check out how Kronos SaaShr can help by providing you with the latest cutting-edge technology and dedicated support you need to stand out from the rest.

[1] The WFC Group, (2014) Buddy Punching: How Much Is It Costing Your Business?, Retrieved from: http://www.thewfcgroup.com/2014/01/06/buddy-punching-costs/

[2] The WFC Group

Benefits of HCM Technology: Employee Self-Service

By Corey Clacher, Kronos SaaShr Marketing Specialist

Looking for that perfect angle to close your next deal? If you offer a platform with “employee self-service” functionality, you’ve got a strong tool on your side that might just make the sale. Employee self-service refers to the ability for employees to access their personal records, and manage aspects of the application that relate specifically to them.

Examples of this range from basic tasks like viewing and submitting time off requests, to accessing historical pay statements and W-2s, all the way up to more complex ones like enrolling in benefit plans or making changes to direct deposit. These are things that, in the past, HR staff may have had to manage themselves, which took time away from being able to execute other tasks. It’s a feature that undoubtedly saves businesses time and money while providing their employees with greater control and a more efficient way to manage their own workforce management needs.Self-Service

Handling employee questions and concerns regarding withholdings, overtime, time off balances, benefits, and more can be a time consuming and costly undertaking for businesses without the proper human capital management (HCM) self-service technology in place. On average, over 50% of a human resources department’s time is spent processing employee information and answering questions[1]. Even simple tasks such as processing time off requests or swapping shifts can be a major headache for HR staff who have to take valuable time away from their other work to handle it.

In addition, updating important employee information is prone to errors and highly inefficient when completed by a third party. With employee self-service technology, the onus is on the employee to ensure they submit the correct information. And an employee managing their own tasks is far more likely to make errors, because they’re personally affected by any mistakes.

Without HCM self-service in place, businesses will pay an average of $19.67 for every payroll inquiry resolved[2]. Costs like these can add up quickly and create a significant strain on businesses, especially those in the SMB space. As a younger, more technology-focused workforce enters today’s workplace, streamlining and simplifying HCM tasks are not only encouraged but often required, even for SMB’s.

Not only that, but employees have shown that they like how self-service technology provides them extra visibility and control of their personal data and tasks in the workplace without relying on HR staff to do it. They feel empowered by the ability to get their info when they want it, and to be able to make necessary changes that happen almost immediately. By creating greater freedom through self-service, employee engagement can be increased making for an overall happier and more productive workforce.

Are the prospects you speak with empowering their employees by giving them the flexibility and access to manage their own information and at the same time, streamlining otherwise tedious processes?

Through Kronos SaaShr’s HCM solution, they can. With benefits including:

  • Expediting the response to HR and payroll inquiriesMobile
  • Providing employees access to update and view personal records such as schedules, timecards, accrued time-off balances, and pay statements at their convenience
  • Providing managers with the ability to approve time-worked and time-off requests
  • Offering self-service features online and on mobile devices such as reviewing, approving, annotating, and submitting timesheets
  • Allowing remote employees to complete common HCM-related tasks anywhere, anytime

With the self-service features mentioned above, organizations can typically count on a 20% to 25% savings in HR time, allowing them to focus their efforts on more important tasks[3]. Time and cost savings associated with HCM self-service clearly speak for themselves. On your next demo, discuss your platform’s employee self-service functionality with your prospects as one more valuable benefit to overall HCM technology.

To learn more about the Kronos SaaShr HCM solution and our partnership opportunities, visit us here.

[1] Lawler, E. & Noudreau, J., (2010) Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California. Retrieved from: http://ceo.usc.edu/news/

[2] The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., Payroll Benchmark Report, Payroll Benchmarks and Analysis 2011

[3] CedarCrestone, 2009-2010 HR Systems Survey: HR Technologies, Deployment Approaches, Value, and Metrics

Labor Regulation Changes are Quickly Approaching: Provide the solutions your clients need

By Corey Clacher

As we continue to move further into 2016, the promise of new and complex labor regulation changes mentioned last year – such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are nearing reality. Recently, the Department of Labor (DOL) confirmed that changes to the FLSA, which will  increase the salary threshold for many exempt employees immensely, should be finalized by July, 2016. That means that these new regulations could take effect as early as September of this year, disrupting nearly every business in their wake.

With cases of FLSA violations expected to continue rising, it is more important than ever that your clients remain compliant at all times. Employers must protect themselves from potentially crippling penalties due to wage and hour regulation noncompliance. In 2014, companies paid $5.3 million on average to resolve an FLSA violation case1, which can be especially crippling for small and midsized businesses with limited resources.

How can you be certain that your service organization is handling your clients’ wage and hour conditions correctly? According to the Kronos white paper, Complex Labor Regulations Raise the Stakes for Organizations2, here are some of the questions you should review for each client:

  • Are their independent contractors classified correctly? Should they be classified as employees?
  • Did they provide accurate, up-to-date employee data?
  • Are their exempt and nonexempt employees classified correctly? Could nonexempt employees be eligible for overtime?
  • How are unapproved overtime practices handled? Are they paying earned overtime correctly?
  • Are they tracking meal and rest breaks in accordance with regulations?
  • When is work their employees perform off the clock compensable?

If you find yourself answering “no” or are uncertain when answering any of these questions, you may want to look into implementing new automation solutions for timekeeping and scheduling processes in order to minimize your clients’ error-prone manual processes and avoid compliance risk. The Kronos white paper also mentions to look for a solution that delivers centralized wage and hour policy administration, establishes local policy enforcement, and creates detailed audit records.

With the Kronos SaaShr platform, you can rest assured that you’re offering your clients the latest technology, minimizing compliance risk through both centralization and consistency. Because the Kronos SaaShr platform is cloud-based, it’s easy for businesses to adjust to new labor regulation changes in real time without the need to manually update on their end. With the ability to automate pay rules, organizations have the confidence of knowing that employees are being paid correctly and that documented policies are being followed.

The platform also allows businesses to reduce time and attendance policy violations through automation via pay rules. Pay rules automatically determine whether employee breaks should be paid or unpaid. It also applies pay rules directly to the employee’s timecard, so they receive proper credit for overtime hours worked. And because the system records employee punch information in real-time, it allows employers to closely monitor their employee time patterns and verify if the time captured is accurate, avoiding unrestricted timekeeping practices.

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With a timeline more firmly set in place by the DOL to enact these labor regulation changes, are you certain that you have the workforce management solution that will keep your clients free from compliance risk? To learn more about the significant impact of upcoming labor regulation changes and how Kronos SaaShr can help your clients avoid compliance risk, download the white paper, “Complex Labor Regulations Raise the Stakes for Organizations” and watch a recorded demo of our human capital management solution in action.

About Corey:

Corey is a Marketing Specialist at Kronos SaaShr, responsible for creating marketing and educational content around Human Capital Management technology along with other responsibilities within the department.

Sources:

1NERA Economic Consulting, Trends in Wage and Hour Settlements: 2015 Update, found at http://www.nera.com/content/dam/nera/publications/2015/PUB_Wage_and_Hour_Settlements_0715.pdf

2Kronos Incorporated, Complex Labor Regulations Raise the Stakes for Organizations 2015 Edition

Human Capital Management Solutions: A vital tool in today’s workplace

By Corey Clacher

As businesses continue to face obstacles and challenges in today’s industry, more and more employers are looking to make manual administrative tasks more precise, efficient, and seamless. Businesses considering automating processes such as payroll, human resources, and time and labor tasks are increasingly turning to Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions to get the job done. As the workplace continues to shift to a more technologically-driven environment, businesses are finding that managing their workforce needs on a single cloud-based platform is not only a suggested practice but essential to their success.

Even for small and mid-sized businesses, dated manual HCM processes are clumsy and inadequate. Specific challenges around changing labor laws, the rise of a workforce that increasingly expects to work with technology over paper, and the growing emphasis on employee engagement require businesses of all sizes to think beyond manual processes. Take a more in-depth look below and see how HCM solutions are addressing these common obstacles today’s businesses are facing.

Combatting Complex and Rigorous Labor Laws

With changes in labor laws such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) affecting all businesses in every industry, it becomes virtually impossible to properly manage a workforce without the help of HCM automation. Spreadsheets, homegrown reports, and manual calculations are no match for the complexities of new labor law changes.

With a single miscalculation potentially costing thousands of dollars in penalties and legal fees, businesses know that there’s no room for error as labor laws continue to become more stringent. FLSA and ACA changes demand HCM automation, allowing businesses to take a proactive approach in managing their labor law compliance strategies. Features such as robust reporting, management dashboards, and 24/7 access to real-time data allow businesses to maintain compliant and avoid potentially crippling consequences.

Accommodating a New-Age Workforce

It’s no secret that the faces of today’s workforce are noticeably changing. Millennials are entering the workplace in substantial numbers, already with a more advanced level of technological skill compared to their older counterparts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are now currently the largest population in the workforce today.

Businesses with outdated practices are finding it increasingly difficult to stay competitive as they’re incapable of attracting and retaining younger hires who are expecting a certain level of technological advancement in the workplace. Traditional business culture is also changing. Employee work schedules are becoming more flexible and the amount of remote employees is growing. With cloud-based HCM solutions, businesses can satisfy both types of employees. Advanced technology allows millennials to access their real-time information wherever and whenever they want it and avoids disparate processes and stacks of unorganized documents. It allows employees to punch in and out anywhere, even on their mobile device, and it keeps a workforce in sync with scheduling changes, company updates, and more.

The Key to Employee Engagement

A business’s workforce is truly their greatest asset. Businesses today that lack a certain level of engagement with their workforce are suffering from a shortage of new employee talent and are remaining stagnant in their market. In fact, evidence shows that a more engaged workforce leads to happier individuals and overall greater success. According to Talent Culture, highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity.

By simply automating HCM, businesses can stay competitive in their market, grow workforce productivity, and improve their overall bottom line. Features such as self-service functionality from onboarding to offboarding gives employees insight into HCM processes and allows them to take charge of their own information, giving them increased decision making abilities such as scheduling preferences, benefits administration, etc. Some HCM solutions even allow employees to keep track of their performance reviews and job training.

Don’t just take our word for it! Learn more about how HCM solutions can help businesses solve today’s workforce challenges by downloading Managing Your ACA Strategy: Maintaining Compliance Through Automation and Integration.

About Corey Clacher:

Corey is a Marketing Specialist at Kronos SaaShr, responsible for creating marketing and educational content around Human Capital Management technology along with other responsibilities within the department.

6 Reasons You Should Consider Offering Cloud-Based HR Solutions

By Corey Clacher

Are you thinking about offering cloud-based HR solutions to your clients? If you’ve had a chance to catch up on your industry news recently, you’ve likely noticed a massive shift within the small and midsize business (SMB) marketplace to automate their HR processes. In the past, smaller businesses may not have found cloud-based HR software feasible or even practical but now with continuous changes of labor laws, a steady increase in the cost of employee turnover, and an emphasis on employee engagement, businesses are starting to reevaluate HR in the cloud. SMB’s that aren’t capitalizing on cloud-based HR solutions to automate their daily processes feel the negative effects of repetitive manual procedures and oftentimes find themselves falling behind their counterparts.

Employers who invest money into automating their HR processes are the companies who understand the value of employee satisfaction, which often leads to an increase in work productivity, quality of customer service, sales revenue, and much more. It is up to you as an experienced service provider to demonstrate the true value of automating a business’s HR functions by explaining the features and benefits of adopting a cloud-based HR system.

If you’re still wondering whether offering HR outsourcing and software services is right for you, we’ve just made it a little easier. Below we’ve included the top 6 reasons why automating HR processes for SMB’s can save them time, money, and energy while improving your bottom line as their service provider.

  1. Increases Employee Engagement

With cloud-based HR software, companies are able to engage with their employees more effectively in real time and all in one place. Features like skills tracking, employee directories, documents and forms libraries, core values and goals tracking, assessments, and forums for company events and news help employees stay connected with each other and their employer.

  1. Enhances Insight

New advancements in HR software like data analytics and business intelligence help companies to stay well informed, make sound business decisions, and plan for the future. Cloud-based HR technology provides instantaneous access to essential information all in one place, allowing businesses to spend more time analyzing the data that is most important to them.

  1. Saves Time and Money

Manual HR processes such as retrieving and storing employee records, sorting through job applications one-by-one, and referencing numerous spreadsheets in different locations are unquestionably tedious and inefficient. Manual HR processes cost a lot of time, money, and energy for businesses, oftentimes requiring them to hire additional staff to perform these monotonous back-office tasks. Automation of processes such as recruitment, benefits administration, training, compensation, and more can save businesses time and money by reducing staffing needs and allowing other employees to focus their efforts on more important tasks.

  1. Heightens Security

Storing all confidential employee documents into a single, secure database backed by multi-factor authentication helps to make sure all private information remains contained in one central location. Businesses spanning multiple locations are able to relax knowing that all of their employees can stay connected with access to the same information in a single location. Security issues such as emailing private documents to the wrong people, losing important employee information, or allowing non-authorized employees to access sensitive materials are eliminated.

  1. Easy Integration

Cloud-based Payroll and Time and Attendance applications can be fully integrated with HR solutions to provide full circle automation across all processes. Third party integration is made easy with HR automation also. With a single click, businesses can access all of the services they need through the convenience of one platform. Services such as social security verification services, carrier connectivity, background checks, and applicant/candidate self-service can all be integrated with a business’s cloud-based HR system.

  1. Eliminates Human Error and Improves Accuracy

A cloud-based HR system takes the human error out of daily processes. Manually entering employee information on paper or calculating formulas in spreadsheets oftentimes leads to errors and inconsistencies, which could cost a company thousands of dollars in penalties. Constant changes to labor laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can make it difficult for SMB’s to remain compliant without the proper resources. Fortunately, some cloud-based HR platforms offer resources such as an ACA manager and an HR compliance library to ensure businesses remain compliant.

There’s no doubt that today’s workforce is transforming and relying more heavily on technology to help get the job done. Offering additional services to your clients such as cloud-based HR solutions can provide you with the advantage and flexibility to help keep ahead of the competition.

To learn more about our cloud-based HR solution, click here to download an overview of our HR application features.

About Corey Clacher:

Corey is a Sales & Marketing Specialist at Kronos SaaShr responsible for the  marketing programs and content creation of the company along with other responsibilities within the department.

Winning at Workforce Management: Roundtable tackles 2016’s hottest issues

By RSL Media

Laws are changing and demographics are evolving—and those issues present big challenges for human resources and benefits professionals, particularly the stretched-thin HR teams in smaller businesses.

To address today’s hot workforce management issues, Complete Payroll Solutions and Kronos convened several dozen Massachusetts-area professionals to share strategies on three big questions:

  • How can small and mid-size businesses mitigate the proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
  • How can they find and keep the best talent?
  • How can companies be sure they’re compliant with ever-changing Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements?

The roundtable event attracted workforce management professionals from a wide range of industries, including retailers, social service providers, technology companies, hoteliers and more.

“Though we work with a diverse range of companies, we often see that all small and mid-size businesses face similar challenges,” said Michael Pettengill, vice president of channel management for Complete Payroll. “We chose these three issues for discussion based on feedback from our clients about issues they wrestle with most.”

Tracking Time: More Important Than Ever

For 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a significant change in the FLSA.

Under the act, employers must pay overtime to employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a given week. However, a widely used exemption excludes “white collar” (executive, administrative, and professional) employees who make above a certain weekly salary from this requirement.

The DOL proposes a new way of calculating eligibility for the exemption. If approved, it will most likely become effective in mid-2016, or in 2017. Under the proposal, an employee who makes less than $50,440 yearly would be eligible for overtime, compared to 2015’s threshold of $23,660.

As a result, some companies will be expanding their timekeeping procedures beyond hourly employees to include salaried employees. Several participants maintained that having robust time-tracking technology in place has become critical to easing the tracking burden on employees as well as on the company.

One option advocated by several of the roundtable participants is to raise selected salaries (those that are near the threshold) for the purpose of avoiding time-tracking and paying overtime. However, concerns about possible perceived unfairness were noted, since employees whose salaries are either already above or considerably below the threshold would not be considered for a raise.

Other HR managers said their companies could not afford either significant salary increases or increased overtime, and would likely be reducing employee hours in order to avoid the issue.

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How to Find (And Keep) Talent

Smaller businesses know they have a lot to offer—but the challenge is getting the word out to the best candidates, professionals at the roundtable said.

Companies in the Cape Cod area must address the relatively high cost of living facing potential employees, several said, while area tech companies compete with the higher salaries of the Boston area. A Rhode Island company specializing in home-based behavioral therapy contends with strict state requirements for employees. And just about everybody reported a dearth of high-quality, well-prepared candidates, particularly at entry level.

Where to find the best applicants? Advertising on a free site is likely to yield a large number of off-target applicants, but paid sites can be too expensive, roundtable participants agreed. One attendee recommended Indeed.com for job postings, and another noted specialized job sites, such as Dice.com for tech talent. Other suggestions included:

  • Word of mouth: Ask for references from and network with nearby schools or certification programs; state or local organizations, such as young professionals organizations and chambers of commerce; and professional peers at industry events.
  • Social media: One HR pro suggested using a clean, simple graphic in a job listing on LinkedIn in order to get more attention. Another said that posting about a job opening on her personal Facebook page and asking others to share had been effective.
  • An in-house referral program: Make the program robust and announce openings with great fanfare to build excitement, said one expert.

For promising candidates, one experienced interviewer advised, probe to find out what is most important to the applicant. Is it learning, advancement, a flexible schedule, or vacation time? Emphasize what a smaller firm can offer in those areas to offset the attractions of a larger company. For example, because smaller companies allow employees to wear many hats, candidates can be assured that they’ll have the ability to “stretch” and won’t be confined to a narrow role.

Suggested retention tactics included:

  • Encouraging managers to think out of the box about career paths within the company to give the best workers opportunities for advancement.
  • Sponsoring monthly employee events, such as a “painting and wine” night, to build staff cohesiveness.
  • Using employee surveys to drill down into what staff members like and don’t like. One participant, noting employee survey concerns about communication, instituted regular “CEO Forums” in which five or six employees meet with the CEO for a no-limits discussion.

The Affordable Care Act: Who and How Much?

As of 2016, all businesses with between 50 and 100 full-time employees are required not only to offer affordable health care to their employees, but to prove it to the IRS.

Human resources and benefits managers at the roundtable admitted they were less than fully prepared to meet the challenges of compliance, including:

  • Calculating which employees are considered “full time,” particularly when a business employs many seasonal employees.
  • Deciding what health care plans to offer, especially when there is a broad range of salaries within a company. The ACA mandates an employee must be offered an insurance plan for which his or her contribution equals no more than 9.5 percent of the individual’s annual salary.

In smaller businesses, HR professionals often don’t have the time or resources to keep up with the complexity of the law. Some roundtable participants confessed that they had done little to prepare for new ACA requirements, partly because they were expecting the regulations and deadlines to change yet again. Others said they are relying on their insurance brokers, payroll providers and accountants to guide them through the process.

Technology is proving a lifesaver for some HR professionals. For example, while most people in attendance said they are using spreadsheets to track and report employee hours, others reported success with using automated “time and labor” and workforce management software with specific ACA monitoring functionality. Proactive managers are also reevaluating their HR software packages to make sure they can quickly and easily run the necessary reports to complete the required IRS Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Overall, many agreed that automation is critical to staying compliant with the ACA and simplifying the overall process.

Said Pettengill of the roundtable, “We are consistently impressed by the energy, resourcefulness and problem-solving skills of workforce management professionals in small to mid-size businesses. We know that they always come through for their companies and employees, and we are pleased to have had this opportunity to help them share ideas.”

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