In this issue:

  • New Year's Resolutions
  • Winter Weather Safety
  • Are Your Financial Deductions in Order?
  • Annual Training & Development 

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's resolutions are not just for setting personal weight loss goals. According to new survey data from Constant Contact, 53 percent of small businesses make New Year's resolutions every year. As for their success rate in keeping their business resolutions: 33 percent say they are successful in keeping them while 65 percent say they are sometimes successful in keeping them.

What area do these business New Year's resolutions focus on? Revenue growth and efficiency come in at one and two, respectively:

  • Growing annual revenue: 26 percent
  • Running my business more efficiently: 18 percent
  • Getting more customers/clients: 16 percent
  • Creating better planning: 10 percent
  • Trying different marketing tactics, like mobile marketing: 10 percent
  • Creating a better customer/client experience: 8 percent

PEOs Can Help Fuel Small Business Growth

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), like HRi, can help small businesses accomplish the most common business New Year's resolutions listed above.

  • PEO clients have higher growth rates than other small businesses. Since 2010, employment growth among PEO clients has been 9 percent higher than other small businesses and 4 percent higher than employment growth in the US economy overall.
  • Small business executives who use PEOs are better able to focus their attention on the core business. PEOs help their clients manage the "people side" of their businesses more effectively, avoiding compliance pitfalls and creating key benefits for the businesses and their employees, while simultaneously freeing up time for owners and executives to concentrate on growing their businesses by focusing on operations, strategy, and innovation.
  • PEOs are able to provide a broad array of HR services at a lower cost. A conservative estimate is that PEO clients enjoy a 21 percent savings of HR administration. For the typical PEO client the savings are likely to be many times greater than this conservative estimate.

If you are interested in learning more about HRi's services, please visit our website at www.hri-online.com or contact our Sales Department at 410-451-4202.

Winter Weather Safety

It is extremely important for the safety of employees and the continuation of business to have a plan in place to address how operations will (or will not) continue.

Before the Storm

According to the National Weather Service, about 70 percent of injuries during winter storms result from vehicle accidents and 25 percent of injuries result from being caught in a storm. As an employer, there are steps you can take throughout the year in order to be prepared when (and before) the storm hits.

  • Review your insurance coverage. Sit down with your business insurance agent to be clear about what is actually covered in your policy. You can't buy the specific types of coverage you need the day after you get hit by a snowstorm or your roof collapses.
  • Establish and communicate an inclement weather attendance policy. The last thing you want to do is put your staff in harm's way. This needs to be communicated ahead of time so employees know what to expect when work is delayed or called off.
  • Make a phone tree. You should have multiple ways of getting in touch with your staff. Start simple and make a list of every employee's home and cell numbers, and email addresses. Make sure everyone has a copy and knows what their responsibilities are.
  • Establish remote access to your website to update visitors about your company's status. Most people wouldn't know how to access their website to alert customers about their operating status. Designate an employee who has access to the site and make bad weather announcements on it.

After the Storm

Snow and ice bring an increased risk of injury caused by slips and falls due to slippery sidewalks, parking lots and work areas. Generally, injuries suffered traveling to and from the workplace are not deemed to have occurred in the course of employment, but if your employee falls and is injured in your parking lot, it's likely the individual will be eligible for worker's compensation benefits - regardless of who is responsible for snow removal.

The following tips will help you and your employees avoid slips and falls this winter:

  • Consider illuminating walking paths
  • Remember to adequately salt walkways
  • Mop all entrances and exits regularly
  • Avoid wearing high heels outside. Flat shoes with slip-resistant soles or boots are best
  • When walking across ice or snow, take short, flat steps
  • Walk; don't run. Slowing down will decrease the chances of a slip and fall
  • When entering a building, clean your footwear thoroughly on the floor mats or carpet
  • Use walkways that have been salted or shoveled

For more information, please visit the National Safety Council or contact Julie Kramer, PHR, Risk Manager at 443-321-7712 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Are Your Financial Deductions in Order?

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take a look at your tax deductions and make any changes to your W-4, state income tax form, 401(k), and healthcare savings or spending account.

Federal Withholding

Federal withholding takes a certain amount out of your wages for income tax. Your yearly federal income tax rate varies based on your income, with different brackets paying different percentages.

It is possible to change the rate of withholding on your paycheck, but ideally you want to take out enough to cover your expected federal income tax for the year. Don't be tempted to lower your rate and take more money home with you - come tax season, you'll still owe the same amount. You'll just have to pay it in one lump sum, and you don't want to find yourself coming up short on tax day.

State Withholding

This is income taken by the state, as opposed to the federal government. The rate of withholding will vary from state to state, with some states like Texas and Florida taking no income tax at all from employees.

401(k)

With a 401(k), any earnings from your investment - such as interest earned over time - are only taxed when money is taken out of the account. The idea is to encourage you to save by taxing this income once you've retired, when you'll be in a lower tax bracket - which means more money stays with you.

Also, by deferring a specific amount or percentage of your paycheck into a traditional 401(k) pre-tax lowers the amount of income you are taxed on.

Healthcare

Health insurance plans vary from company to company - as do employer and employee contributions. It's important to look over your options thoroughly and talk to your HR representative or insurance broker if you have any questions.

Many plans also come with a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account. Contributions to these benefits are often times pre-tax, similar to 401(k) deferrals, which will lower your taxable income.

If you have any questions or concerns about your current withholding or deferrals, please contact your Client Services Specialist at 410-451-4202.


Annual Training and Development

Training presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees, but many employers find the development opportunities expensive. Despite the potential drawbacks, training and development provides both the company as a whole and the individual employees with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment.

  • Addressing Weaknesses. Most employees have some weaknesses in their workplace skills. A training program can bring all employees to a higher level so they all have similar skills and knowledge. Providing the necessary training creates an overall knowledgeable staff with employees who can take over for one another as needed, work on teams or work independently without constant help and supervision from others.
  • Improved Employee Performance. Training may also build the employee's confidence because he has a stronger understanding of the industry and the responsibilities of her job. This confidence may push her to perform even better and think of new ideas that help her excel. Continuous training also keeps your employees on the cutting edge of industry developments.
  • Employee Satisfaction. The investment in training that a company makes shows the employees they are valued. Employees may gain access to training they wouldn't have otherwise known about or sought out themselves. Employees who feel appreciated and challenged through training opportunities may feel more satisfaction toward their jobs.

If you have any questions about your current training and development program or would like to start one, please contact Michael Lanham, PHR, Client Services Manager at 443-321-7726 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Did You Know?

HRi's President, Tim Schaffer, has recently been published in the SmartCEO magazine.

His article, Patiently Hire, Decisively Fire, walks employers through the full cycle and provides tips on what to look for during the interview process, performance reviews, and how to determine whether your new employee is a fit for the company or not.

Click here to reach the full article.

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