The Repercussions of Not Outsourcing Workplace Investigations: Two Case Studies

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As misconduct scandals involving high-profile persons within blue-chip organizations continue to proliferate, companies are scrambling to keep up with the rapidly changing ideas around how to handle workplace misconduct.

Whereas misconduct investigations were once the work of low- or mid-level HR generalists, they now demand much higher degrees of attention, care, and independence. Current best practices dictate these investigations be conducted by neutral third-parties unaffiliated with the organization.

Below are two real-life case studies in which organizations mistakenly attempted to conduct workplace investigations internally. The highly damaging consequences resulting from this decision in each case should give any organization considering an internal investigation reason to reconsider.

Case Study No. 1: A Prominent Face of the #MeToo Movement Comes Under Fire

On March 11, 2019, Politico reported that, in the summer of 2018, a female aide resigned from the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand — an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement — in protest over how Gillibrand’s staff had handled her sexual harassment complaint.

The aide alleged that Gillibrand’s personal driver had repeatedly made unwelcome sexual advances toward her and had made inappropriate remarks about other female staffers. The aide claimed that when she complained to her supervisor about the behavior, a sham of an internal investigation was conducted by members of Gillibrand’s own staff. The investigation resulted in a demotion for the driver, which the aide felt did not adequately address her concerns.

Additionally, the aide who complained of the behavior had recommended that former female staffers who had also been sexually harassed by the driver be interviewed as part of the investigation. However, Gillibrand’s staff never spoke to these women. Moreover, the relationship between Gillibrand and the driver accused of harassment was a close one, which created concerns among some of Gillibrand’s staff members as to whether the investigation was truly fair and impartial.

The aide resigned soon after the investigation was concluded, and she sent a sharp and pointed letter to Gillibrand herself, excoriating her for publicly presenting herself as a defender of women while allowing harassment to exist within her own workplace.

Publications like the Washington Post labeled Gillibrand a hypocrite and questioned her commitment to the #MeToo movement. All told, this case study is a high-stakes example of the damage that can result from not outsourcing employee misconduct investigations.

Case Study No. 2: Decades of Student Abuse at Ohio State University

On May 17, 2019, Ohio State University (OSU) announced the results of an independent investigation conducted after a former OSU student athlete alleged that former university doctor Richard Strauss had sexually abused him and other athletes while they were students at the school. To date, more than 170 former students have come forward to make similar allegations against Strauss.

The independent investigation, conducted by an outside law firm, spent a great deal of time analyzing a prior investigation conducted in 1994 by OSU’s director of sports medicine into sexual abuse allegations against Strauss at that time. The 1994 investigation concluded the allegations were unfounded, although the evidence is now irrefutable that Strauss had been abusing young men at the school for at least a decade by that point. The person who conducted the 1994 investigation was a colleague of Strauss’s. The two had worked together for many years.

Whether due to a lack of investigative expertise or the workings of internal campus politics, the 1994 investigation was erroneous and hugely damaging. The incorrect conclusion drawn from that investigation allowed Strauss to continue his disturbing and abusive behavior for years afterward.

These real-life case studies should show the danger of not outsourcing employee investigations. Internally conducted investigations can fail for a wide range of reasons, from lack of know-how to the influence of personal relationships between investigators and the accused.

Mishandled investigations not only allow for misconduct to persist, but they can also erode employees’ trust in organizational leaders. This, in turn, damages employee morale and increases turnover rates, as more employees will begin to search for healthier workplace environments.

Additionally, poorly handled investigations can open organizations up to significant legal liabilities. For the safety of both the organization and its employees, it is best to let misconduct investigations be handled by independent third-party investigators.

KiaRoberts, JD, is the founder and principal of Triangle Investigations.

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To Find the Perfect Candidate, Ask These 12 Questions in Every Interview

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Hiring the most suitable person for a role can be tricky, to say the least. Crafting a perfect job post to attract qualified talent is only the beginning. From there, you still have to market the role in the right channels, sift through endless resumes, and identify top contenders.

But perhaps the most crucial component of the whole recruiting process is the interview. This is your chance to really get to know each candidate, to really evaluate their potential for success in the role. However, you can only get the information you need if you ask the right interview questions. Remember: Your time with the candidate is limited. You have to make the most of it.

Generic questions simply won’t cut it. If you want to elicit thoughtful, authentic responses from candidates, you need to put the same amount of effort into your queries. You have to dig deep to get a sense of the candidate’s true character.

So, put aside the tired questions like “What is your greatest weakness?” Instead, get a little more probing with these creative interview questions, courtesy of Fundera:

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The Miracle-Minded Manager: Whatever Happened to Face-to-Face Recruiting and Real-Time Hiring?

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Miracle-Minded Manager: A Modern Day Parable About How to Apply A Course in Miracles in Business, by “zentrepreneur” and mindful leadership expert John J. Murphy, traces the story of Jack MacDonald in order to teach readers how to get out of their own way by shifting their thinking to see life — and themselves — very differently.

Jack, president of a major business unit at TYPCO (Typical Company), was promoted to this position after successfully leading a much-needed culture change at a TYPCO division. Jack is now experiencing a great deal of stress in his life at work and at home, so he reaches out to Jordan McKay, an insightful business consultant and executive coach. Jordan teaches Jack to eliminate stress rather than try to manage it.

To add to Jack’s very full plate, his son Kevin is graduating from college and struggling with a career decision. After four years of university training in business, Kevin wants to work at a brewery. In the following excerpt from the book, Jack decides to visit his son on campus, and in doing so, uncovers a win-win recruiting opportunity with Kevin’s friend Larry.

*

When I arrive on campus to visit Kevin, I feel an energy and an exuberance I seem to have forgotten. There is excitement in the air. Students are hustling about, connecting with one another, learning, growing, exploring, and expressing themselves. This is what I want more of at TYPCO. We’re making progress, and I’m happy about that. Now, it’s time to hit the accelerator. Maybe I can pick up a few more tips while I’m here.

I decided to visit Kevin in person rather than talk by phone. Jordan encouraged it. My primary interest is to learn more about his career intentions and offer any help I can. I also want to check out this brewery he’s talking about. Time for some more Gemba.

While Kevin is still in class, I decide to walk around the campus and get some fresh air. This is another new habit of mine. I am walking more, combining it with my meditations and contemplations. I find they go well together.

Kevin asked me to meet him in the lobby of the business school. I get to the building a little early, so I take a few minutes to walk the halls and glance at some of the posters and postings on the wall. The place is flooded with information. Companies are coming from all over the country to interview and recruit students. Strangely, I do not see TYPCO listed anywhere, even though we have several openings, including one in accounting. I will have to ask Georgia about this. I just hope we’re not falling into the same trap a lot of other companies are, relying solely on technology and social media to hire top talent. That seems to take forever, and half our new hires leave within two years. Whatever happened to face-to-face recruiting and real-time hiring?

Kevin greets me with a hug in the lobby, introduces me to one of his classmates, and we head to Maximum’s Brewery. Kevin’s buddy, Larry, turns out to be an accounting major, and Kevin tells me he is a real whiz kid. On our walk to the pub, which is in the neighborhood, I get a chance to learn more about Larry and his aspirations. Like me, he wants a steady job with a large company where he can pursue his CPA and MBA. Ultimately, he wants to be a senior executive like his father.

Miracle Minded ManagerAs I listen to his story, I can’t help but wonder why we aren’t hiring this kid. I don’t need keywords and filters and piles of applications to sort out what I’m looking for. I want this kid.

“Have you decided where you’re going to work when you graduate, Larry?” I ask curiously.

“Not yet, Mr. MacDonald,” he replies. “I’m still interviewing and sorting things out.”

“Do you have any offers?” I probe.

“I have one,” he says. “And I have second interviews scheduled next week with two other companies. Hopefully, I can lock something in by the end of the month.”

“What about TYPCO?” I quip, trying to restrain myself. “Have you considered coming to work for us?”

He looks at Kevin and appears to want to avoid the question.

“Go ahead,” my son says, poking him in the arm. “My dad should probably hear this.” Evidently, Kevin has informed Larry of my role at TYPCO.

I look curiously at Larry. “Go ahead, Larry. Talk to me.”

He shrugs his shoulders. “I put an application in about six weeks ago, and I haven’t heard back yet.”

I immediately feel my blood pressure rising. Breathe slow and deep, Jack. Relax. This is just one more opportunity in disguise. Let the situation teach you.

“And he’s followed up twice, Dad,” Kevin adds, throwing a little fuel on the fire. “Still no response. And it’s for a position in your business unit.”

I can only think of one thing to say. “Larry, I don’t know if Kevin has shared this with you, but we’re shaking things up at TYPCO. And what you just described is unacceptable to me. I apologize on behalf of the company.”

“It’s okay, Mr. MacDonald,” he sighs. “It’s not that unusual. Some companies never respond.”

I am about to declare war on our HR department when I suddenly stop. That’s just another form of blame and finger-pointing. It doesn’t solve anything. What would a miracle-minded manager do, especially one in my position?

“I’ll tell you what, Larry. If you’re still interested in coming to TYPCO and you have the guts and motivation to help change things, I’ll schedule you right now for a first and second and third interview all in the same day. Furthermore, I’ll commit to giving you an answer one way or the other by the end of that same day, assuming you can provide good references.”

“Wow,” Larry gasps. “That’s decisive.”

“That’s my dad,” Kevin says with a smile. “And he means it.”

“I’m sure he does,” Larry says with admiration. “I’m in, Mr. MacDonald. Let’s do it! I’ll take the interviews.”

“And by the way, Dad,” Kevin adds. “Larry has impeccable references. TYPCO would be missing out big time on a guy like this.”

Excerpted from Miracle-Minded Manager: A Modern Day Parable About How to Apply A Course in Miracles in Business [Beyond Words, October 22, 2019], by “zentrepreneur” and mindful leadership expert John J. Murphy.

John J. Murphy is a global business consultant, speaker, spiritual mystic, and award-winning author. He is founder and CEO of Venture Management Consultants, Inc.

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How to Keep Your Job If You Have to You Go to Rehab: Understanding the FMLA

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Contrary to the common stereotype of the strung-out addict living under a highway overpass, drug and alcohol addiction more often than not afflict full-time members of America’s workforce. In fact, most adults with substance use disorders in this country are employed full-time, according to a 2014 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The more accurate profile of addiction in this country, then, is that of someone who is gainfully employed and working to pay their bills: the barista who serves your daily latte, the mechanic who fixes your car, the postal worker who delivers your mail, or the financial advisor who helps you plan for retirement.

An Untreated Drug or Alcohol Problem Can Cost You Your Job

This reality should not obscure the fact that a drug or alcohol problem can make it very difficult to hold down a job. In fact, the same 2014 SAMHSA report found that unemployed Americans were more likely to report a substance abuse problem in the previous year, one implication being that an untreated addiction led to their unemployment.

Depending on the job, an employee’s drug or alcohol problem may jeopardize other lives aside from their own. Consider employees in the transportation industries, for example. The pilot who binge drinks between transatlantic flights or the school bus driver who abuses prescription drugs puts many lives at risk.

Such dangers should be plenty of incentive for anyone with an addiction to go to rehab, yet only 10 percent of people with addiction actually get treatment. One reason why — and it seems ironic, considering what we just learned — is the fear of losing a job. What follows is some information that can allay that fear and help you protect your job if you have to go to rehab.

Advice for Employees With FMLA Benefits

Whenever we speak about this issue, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law that can protect one’s job in certain circumstances where a leave of absence is required, invariably comes up. What I’ve found is that employees often misunderstand their rights under the FMLA.

One common misunderstanding, for example, revolves around the intermittent use of FMLA to address chronic illnesses and the medical appointments that accompany them. In such cases, a physician’s note is required, and your employer must approve the circumstance. A flat tire in the morning does not qualify as appropriate use, and like other forms of FMLA misuse, it may be disciplined.

The FMLA allows certain US employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for a number of specified reasons, one of which is medical leave because of a serious health condition such as a substance use disorder. When I educate employees about the FMLA, I tend to rely on what I call “the rule of 12s”: An employee has to have worked for a public or private employer for at least 12 months to qualify for FMLA benefits. Upon approval from their employer, they are allowed to take 12 unpaid weeks in a 12-month period, or will have worked at least 1,250 hours in that 12 months.

Here are some other important things to know about job protection under the FMLA:

  1. Qualified military families are protected for up to 26 weeks when an injury occurs during the course of service.
  2. Changes made to the FMLA in 2015 now allow same-sex partners to enjoy the same established benefit.
  3. An employee’s use of FMLA leave cannot be counted against them under a “no-fault” attendance policy.
  4. Employers must continue to provide group health insurance coverage for an employee on FMLA leave under the same terms and conditions as those before the leave.
  5. Upon your return, you are guaranteed the same pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, but you may or may not be able to move back into the exact same job position.

Advice for Employees Without FMLA Benefits

Employees without FMLA benefits must take alternative measures to protect their jobs when they go to rehab.

Begin with an attitude of confidence that you, your health, and your life are more important than your job. While it will require courage, a frank conversation with your employer about your condition may be in order.

One reason I encourage employees without benefits to go this route is that many employers that do not meet the requirements of the FMLA still practice — whether formally or informally — compassion for employees seeking care. By being appropriately open and vulnerable about your condition and couching your decision to seek treatment in terms of how rehab will help you become a better employee, you can invite your employer to view your request with empathy.

Excellent communication from the treatment facility where you go for rehab is also key. The facility may be able to send along paperwork that, in compliance with HIPAA privacy laws, can help an employer understand that substance use disorders are treatable conditions and should be treated as such. Such measures can go a long way in helping you keep your job when you go to rehab.

Janet B. Gerhard is director of public affairs for FHE Health.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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You Can’t Afford to Be Boring: 3 Best Practices for Bridging Engagement and Compliance

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With unemployment rates at historic lows and employees willing to quit their jobs for better opportunities, it’s no wonder employee engagement has become a major talking point for executives. While engagement is at its highest level since Gallup started tracking it in 2000, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Employee engagement is heavily influenced by both specific perks like flex time and intangible factors like positive relationships with coworkers and bosses. However, few people realize that engagement can also be affected by those workplace processes often considered rote and uninteresting, such as compliance training.

At first glance, it’s hard to see how compliance and engagement line up. Traditionally, companies have simply used compliance training to cover themselves against lawsuits and operational interruptions. For example, federally regulated airlines can have their planes grounded unless everyone — from mechanics to forklift operators — has the proper certifications. Because compliance is seen as little more than a legal necessity, compliance training is often delivered via sessions full of dull, jargon-filled content. It’s no wonder PwC’s “2018 State of Compliance” study found that just 17 percent of risk and compliance executives were “very satisfied” with their compliance programs.

It doesn’t have to be this way. These days, interactivity and microlearning can transform compliance training from something akin to a dentist visit into an eagerly anticipated, engagement-driving activity. You don’t want to risk losing your top employees simply because your compliance training was too boring.

3 Ways to Engaging Employees Through Compliance

When it comes to compliance, organizations can do so much more than just check off a box. It’s time to start viewing compliance training as a prime opportunity to support the growth, development, and engagement of your employees. Here are some good places to start:

1. Assess Your Baseline and Adjust as Needed

What are you doing today for compliance and employee engagement? Answering this questions starts with a full assessment of your current practices. The aforementioned PwC study found that 50 percent of companies use technology to monitor compliance, and 56 percent say they have gained insight from using it. If you don’t already have a similar system in place, consider implementing one.

Assessing your baseline should help you understand two things about your current compliance efforts: whether your training methods are working, and whether you are effectively tracking expiring certifications.

In terms of training methods, it is important to understand that using varied training formats can be a powerful way to engage employees in the compliance process. For example, PwC notes that Science Applications International Corporation uses shorter, more frequent trainings to make content more digestible, while another organization uses brief TED talk-style videos to deliver messages to employees in an engaging way.

As for whether you are effectively tracking expiring certifications: If you are doing this process manually, you could be missing out on important information about your employees’ compliance statuses. Any missed compliance is a problem, which is all the more reason to invest in a system to assist with compliance tracking.

On a final note, setting a baseline and tracking it also allows you to watch trends in your compliance process over time. You can see whether it has improved, whether breakdowns have occurred, and where you may need to intervene.

2. Train for the Present and the Future

Don’t simply focus on getting employees the certifications they need for their current roles; also pay attention to the new skills your employees want to learn and the roles they hope to attain in the future.

A Randstad Workmonitor survey found that employees want to upskill, and they believe employers should help them do so by providing them with relevant training. Furthermore, studies repeatedly show that organizational support of career development is a strong driver of job satisfaction.

In light of this information, compliance training offers a great opportunity to support employee development and promote engagement. For example, an IT technician needs to become certified in Microsoft Azure in order to work with sensitive data, but they might also want to move to a more senior IT role. The organization can fit the certification in as part of the employee’s personal development plan, blending what is required for the employee’s current role with the skills the employee will need to get where they want to go.

3. Align Employee Aspirations With Certifications

Compliance doesn’t always have to be about hard skills, nor does it have to even be focused on the organization’s internal needs.

For example, after conducting its “Workforce Preparedness Study” in 2018, McDonald’s found that teamwork, customer service, and responsibility are in high demand but low supply. As a result, the restaurant chain launched its “Where You Want to Be” campaign to help employees connect job skills with greater career goals. The campaign aims to show employees how the skills they learn at McDonald’s will propel them forward in their careers, regardless of whether or not they stay with the company.

Over the years, your employees might have learned to moan and groan when the subject of compliance training comes up. In a market like this, you can’t afford to take compliance for granted. If you want your employees to feel enthusiasm instead of dread at the prospect of compliance training, you need to use it as a chance to help employees strive for their own goals. If you treat compliance training as an opportunity instead of an obstacle, so will they.

Linda Ginac is the chairman, president, and CEO of TalentGuard.

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HR Jobs Are Changing – and So Are Their Salaries

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Due to the increased integration of and reliance on technology, every part of a business is changing, and that includes HR.

Indeed, HR has evolved immensely over the past decade. Technological advancement has spurred a wave of new HR jobs, such as the “chief people officer” and the emergence of “people” teams. Rebranded and refreshed, these jobs do not represent mere title changes, but changes in responsibility, qualifications, and even salary.

We investigated some of the positions in the burgeoning people function and compared them with their old HR counterparts. If it’s true that people vote with their wallets — and companies with their  budgets — then the increased salaries of people operations professionals may be indicative of how much more highly valued these new pros are compared to their old HR predecessors.

Here’s what we found:

‘New HR’ vs. ‘Old HR’ Salaries

1. Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) vs. Chief People Officer (CPO)

Average CHRO salary: $117,762

Average CPO salary: $147,228

CPOs and CHROs are the top executives of their HR teams. While both positions are high earners compared to other HR pros, the average CPO significantly outearns the average CHRO.

2. HR Director vs. Vice President of People Operations

Average HR director salary: $95,866

Average VP of people operations salary: $111,894

While both are responsible for overseeing their teams, HR directors and VPs of people operations do have some differences between their respective responsibilities. Occupying a more strategic and people-focused position, the VP of people operations is more highly compensated than the HR director.

3. HR Manager vs. Manager of People Operations

Average HR manager salary: $72,626

Average manager of people operations salary: $82,326

Despite the similarity of their titles, the HR manager and the manager of people operations earn quite different salaries, with the newer manager of people operations earning almost $10,000 dollars more per year.

4. HR Coordinator vs. People Operations Coordinator

Average HR coordinator salary: $43,850

Average people operations coordinator salary: $53,474

Typically occupying more administrative, entry-level roles, both HR coordinators and people operations coordinators are among the lower earners of their respective teams. However, the trend does continue here, with the people operations coordinator significantly outearning the HR coordinator.

Fig 1

How Significant Are the Salary Differences?

From the data above, it is easy to see that newer people operations jobs are earning more than traditional HR roles, but how significant are the differences really? The graph below provides a more concrete visualization of the people -vs.-HR salary gap by tracing both the raw differences in salary and the percentage-wise differences:

Fig. 2

In terms of raw salary, the most significant disparity is the $29,466 difference between the top executives’ salaries. The smallest raw salary difference is between the operational positions, which have a gap of $9,624.

In terms of percentages, the greatest difference again exists between executives, with the CPO earning 22.24 percent more on average than the CHRO. The salaries of those in middle management positions have the lowest percentage differences at 12.52 percent. Despite having the smallest raw salary difference, those in operational positions have the second highest percentage difference, with people operations coordinators earning 19.78 percent more on average than HR coordinators.

Overall, the new HR jobs are earning 17.5 percent more than their older counterparts. As we’ve seen in the graphs above, this can translate to many thousands of dollars per year.

Why Such a Wide Salary Gap?

It seems crazy that a title change alone could warrant such varying levels of compensation — but we’re not just talking about title changes. Rather, the key drivers of the salary gap are the new responsibilities and skill sets associated with people operations roles.

As technology has become more fully integrated into all aspects of the organization, business functions have changed radically — especially HR. Previously associated with the enforcement of rules and regulations and administrative duties such as payroll and benefits, HR is becoming in the age of technology a more strategic department. Today’s HR pros rely more on data and analytics to meet employee needs and drive progress toward key business goals.

We can more clearly see the differences between old and new HR when we compare job posts for a CPO and a CHRO. For the CHRO, the main responsibilities include ensuring compliance with company policy, overseeing sourcing and candidate evaluation, and coordinating training and development programs. On the other hand, the CPO’s responsibilities focus on aligning people strategies with business objectives, developing company culture, and driving employee engagement. The CPO job post also calls for candidates who are analytical and business savvy, while the CHRO job post emphasizes project management skills as a key qualification.

For anyone involved in HR, the differences in both responsibility and salary between old and new HR roles warrant sustained attention. Having a better understanding of how HR is evolving could give you a leg up and ultimately help you earn more.

Data for this post was aggregated from LinkedIn and GlassdoorA version of this article originally appeared on the SelectSoftware blog.

Phil Strazzulla is the founder of SelectSoftware.

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5 Things Everyone in the Workforce Needs to Know About Medicare

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Employers and employees may be at odds with regard to how old is too old to be working. According to a 2018 report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, employers see age 70 as the cutoff, whereas employees cited 75 as a solid retirement age.

No matter your personal opinions, the reality is there are hundreds of thousands of workers ages 70, 75, and even 85 and up in the workforce today. The increased number of older workers in the workforce complicates one of the reasons so many Americans seek gainful employment (aside from income, of course): healthcare benefits.

Many people know that individuals become eligible for Medicare coverage at age 65 (younger individuals can receive Medicare due to disability), but that’s the extent of most people’s understanding. As more and more workers extend their careers past 65, they’ll need a deeper knowledge of how Medicare works and how it interacts with employer-sponsored coverage.

Here are five things employees of all ages should know about Medicare:

1. Medicare Comes in Four Parts

Medicare isn’t a “one-and-done” plan; it’s actually pretty expansive. When you break it down into its individual parts, it’s a bit easier to digest:

  1. Part A covers care in hospice, hospital, inpatient, and skilled nursing facility settings. It also covers certain at-home health services, but not long-term assisted living care.
  2. Part B covers care provided by doctors, health aides, and part-time skilled nurses.
  3. Part C, also known as “Medicare Advantage,” is purchased from private insurers and combines Parts A, B, and usually D. Individuals with Part C cannot also have supplemental Medigap insurance plans.
  4. Part D covers prescription drugs.
  5. Medigap is supplemental optional coverage that helps cover the out-of-pocket cost gaps Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover.

2. Eligibility Is Not So Cut and Dry

You become eligible when you turn 65 years old. This is the Medicare fact most know. (Younger individuals receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits for 24 months can also receive Medicare.)

That said, there are a few other, often overlooked requirements for those who qualify by age. Applicants must have paid or been married to someone who has paid 10 years’ worth of Medicare taxes, and they must be a US citizen or permanent US resident for the past five years.

3. Medicare Might Be More Affordable Than Employer-Provided Coverage

Many people want to keep their employer-provided health insurance after age 65 for reasons including spouse and dependent coverage, as well as the belief that employer coverage is better than Medicare. However, employees may discover the benefits of switching to Medicare if they crunch the numbers and compare prices.

In some cases, Medicare can be much more affordable than your employer’s plan. For example, the average annual deductible for employer-provided single coverage is $1,573, while the Medicare Part B annual deductible is significantly lower at $185.

Along with lower deductibles, you may see additional savings when comparing annual premiums, out-of-pocket costs, or prescription drug coverage. Medicare can provide a customized approach to healthcare for older workers, especially in comparison to the one-size-fits-all plans offered by many employers. The different parts of Medicare, along with supplemental coverage, could give an older worker with specific healthcare needs some key advantages.

That said, employer plans vary significantly from employer to employer, so some older workers could see benefits while others may not notice any significant differences. The most important thing is to take a closer look before choosing between Medicare and employer-sponsored coverage.

4. Medicare Enrollment Isn’t Automatic for Everyone

Medicare enrollment isn’t automatic for individuals who work past retirement age. If you are working when you turn 65, you should take some time to evaluate your employer healthcare against Medicare’s offerings. Rising deductible costs and other out-of-pocket expenses are leading many workers to choose Medicare once they become eligible. Make note: Medicare’s initial enrollment period is a seven-month window. It starts three months prior to your 65th birthday and goes on to include your birth month and the three following months.

If you miss your initial enrollment period, your next chance to enroll is January-March of the upcoming year, with coverage starting in July. Along with the delay in coverage, you may have to pay a penalty. For each year someone should have been enrolled in Medicare, the lifetime Part B penalty adds another 10 percent to the Part B premium. There is a Part D penalty, too, which multiplies the months they should have had Part D by 1 percent of the national base beneficiary premium ($33.19 in 2019).

5. Even With Employer-Provided Insurance, Signing Up May Not Be Optional

If you work for an organization of less than 20 employees, you are required to sign up for Medicare once you turn 65. This is because Medicare becomes your primary payer, and your employer becomes a secondary payer, which means your employer plan only kicks in after Medicare’s contribution. In short, that means if you don’t sign up for Medicare and wind up having healthcare needs, you would need to pay out of pocket for everything Medicare would have covered before your employer plan kicks in.

Employees at larger businesses are not required to use Medicare when they turn 65. They have the option to continue with employer-provided coverage. However, the penalties outlined above do apply for workers at large companies if they miss their Medicare enrollment windows upon retirement. Specifically, they will face the Part B penalty if they don’t sign up within eight months of leaving their job, and the Part D penalty occurs even sooner. People must receive Part D coverage within 63 days of losing their prior prescription drug coverage to avoid the penalty.

As with anything in life, it pays to be in the know — especially when it involves something as incredibly important as your health insurance. Equipped with this Medicare information, employees should feel empowered to make the coverage decisions that work best for them.

Tricia Blazier is the director of healthcare insurance services at Allsup.

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#ZohoRecruitChat Roundup: the Candidate Experience, the Rise of the Machines, and the Future of Recruiting

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Yesterday, applicant tracking system Zoho Recruit sponsored a fascinating tweetchat on recruiting in the age of artificial intelligence and automation. Participants included our own Recruiter.com CEO Miles Jennings (@milesj), as well as other industry experts like Genesys Talent CEO Carla M. Tibbitts (@CarlaTibbits), CV-Library Founder and CEO Lee Biggins (@LeeBiggins), UK Recruiter Managing Director Louise Triance (@louistriance), and Zoho’s Christian Blood (@blood_christian).

Below, we round up some of the most insightful commentary from the chat:

Leveraging Automation to Improve the Candidate Experience

AI’s Impact on Hiring Cycles

Will AI Replace Recruiters?

Will AI Drive People Out of Jobs?

Recruitment in the Next Decade

What It Takes to Be a Successful Recruiter of the Future

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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A Surefire Way to Lose the Candidates You Want: Going Slow When You Should Go Fast

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It’s a situation that plays out thousands of time each day in the corporate world. It goes something like this:

Hiring Manager: Hi, Rick. It’s Debra Jones. I’m calling to say I’m disappointed we have not seen any new candidates from you in a while. We need to get somebody ASAP!

Recruiter: Hi, Debra. I’m glad you called. I’ve been wanting to follow up from the call I placed to you last week on the two candidates, Thomas Smith and Cynthia Lee, whose assessments both came back very strong. I was hoping to get some feedback from you on how their interviews went.

Hiring Manager (incredulously): Well, I’ve been swamped. I’ve not had time to think about them. You know I think these assessments and the detailed level at which we are interviewing these candidates is taking far too long.

Recruiter: Funny you should mention that. I just put together a little time study on the last 10 candidates we proposed, showing where we wasted time and where we invested time. Can I take you through it? I think you will find it insightful as to how we can get offers to qualified candidates faster.

Hiring Manager: I don’t have time for that. Just send me more candidates!

The cognitive dissonance between what hiring managers want and how they behave hits the corporate recruiting universe like a tsunami. In this ultra-tight labor market, ghosting candidates and their recruiters simply does not cut it when it comes to identifying, properly vetting, and hiring quality personnel.

What Is Going On, and What Can You Do About It?

In summary, employers are in a rush to find candidates, but hiring managers often delay the process unnecessarily once those candidates have been identified. This is the quintessential “go fast to go slow” behavior. While I won’t even attempt to describe the psychology behind this, I will outline some common excuses I’ve heard from hiring managers, along with the associated cognitive dissonance for each:

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Lest anyone think this is a bash session on hiring managers, my clients read this column, too! I am simply pointing out incongruent behavior that happens way too often. It prevents hiring managers from interviewing and hiring the best candidates by simply wasting time. Keep in mind that candidates are perishable assets! The goal of this article is to help you evaluate where you are currently wasting time and where that time can be better invested in the hiring process.

My recruiting contract with my clients stipulates they give me initial feedback on each candidate within 24 hours. In spite of having this in writing and getting their sworn agreement to do so, I am still disappointed with the poor responsiveness of my clients’ hiring managers in providing timely feedback on candidates. Many recruiters have had this exact same experience.

Think of it this way: In hiring, like in most sports, speed wins! Moreover, if a recruiter is not serving up the types of candidates you are looking for, then your fast feedback will serve as a calibration mechanism that allows the recruiter to dial in on the qualifications and experience you are looking for. The adage “‘No’ is great, ‘yes’ is best, and ‘maybe’ does not work” applies well to this situation.

‘Have You Heard Back From the Hiring Manager?’

That is the cry of the interested candidate! When time is wasted in the recruiting process, it frustrates the candidates. They have no idea where they stand. After the initial interview — usually conducted by phone — hiring managers often wait days before giving feedback to either the candidate or the recruiter about what the next steps, if any, may be.

The fundamental principle here is to get back to the candidate quickly with some feedback, even if that feedback is simply to let the candidate know you need a few more days to think it through. Have integrity in your commitments. If you say you are going to touch base in two days, then make sure you touch base in two days. No exceptions. In these early stages of the recruiting process, you are setting your candidate’s expectations for what it will be like to work with you. Set your best example of accountability. Besides, you need to be sharper than the other companies to which your candidate may be talking.

There is another important point that needs to be made here: If a candidate is not chosen, you need to let them know and provide some feedback to help them in future hiring processes. Getting back to all of your candidates, whether selected or not, is a classy move, and it will instill goodwill toward both your company’s brand and your own personal brand. The hiring manager should deliver the feedback here, as doing so will help build their feedback muscles, although your recruiter can help you out in a pinch. In addition, some of these silver-medal candidates may become excellent choices for future openings, which is why fostering great candidate relationships is so important.

Finally, this must be said: If you jerk a good candidate around, you will permanently sour them on your company. It is much better to be decisive and leave the door open for further discussion in the future. Remember, the candidates are interviewing you as well. They are watching how you conduct your business.

‘It’s HR’s Fault; The Interview Process Is Too Long and Difficult’

When a candidate accepts a job with another company or opts out of the process, the most common complaint I hear from hiring managers is that “the interview process is too long and difficult!” Keep in mind that in a tight talent market, most of the A players are happily employed, so the risk that you are talking to a B player or — worse — a C player grows greater. Vetting is critical!

The vetting process is one part of the recruiting process where you don’t want to skimp on investing time. You only want to hire either a full-fledged A player or an A potential. Hiring a B player or worse will be a bad hire that reflects negatively on your abilities as a manager and leader.

Specifically, your vetting process should include:

  1. A detailed behavioral-based interview with your entire team. I highly recommend the Topgrading process.
  2. A validated and easy-to-understand psychometric assessment to analyze your candidates’ behaviors and motivations. I highly recommend something like the Caliper assessment.
  3. Detailed 45-minute reference interviews with three prior direct supervisors to confirm performance claims, behaviors, leadership development opportunities, and compensation status.

Done properly, the entire vetting process can be accomplished within a few days. For example, once the hiring manager does the initial phone screen interview, we send the candidate the career history and psychometric assessments on the same day. When we get these back, the candidate moves to a Topgrading interview with the entire management team. Having the entire team interview the candidate at once and then make an immediate “go or no-go” decision following the interview actually speeds up the process versus having the candidate individually interview with each executive. As part of this process, we also have the candidate provide their reference contacts during the interview.

When the candidate sees the management team interact with each other in the interview, they get a good idea of your culture and how they will fit in. It may seem counterintuitive, but A players love the rigor of this process while B and C players drop out, which is actually a good thing.

All told, we are often able to get a candidate an answer on their drive home from the interview. Inevitably, our thoroughness, speed, and decisiveness leave a positive impression.

In one more critical step, you must conduct at least three reference interviews with your candidate’s prior direct managers. We ask the candidates to set these up, and it is amazing how quickly A players get them scheduled. This is because there is no professional risk to a prior manager in validating an A player.  On the other hand, if prior managers are less than enthusiastic about a candidate or are guarded on your probing questions about results, those are red flags that you are looking at a B player or worse!

In recruiting, speed wins. Don’t make the mistakes so many other hiring managers make. The more time you waste, the more likely you are to drive away all the best candidates. Keep in constant contact with your candidates and keep the process moving. Invest your precious time in the vital vetting process. Doing these things will ensure you are bringing a pipeline of A players into your organization!

Rick Crossland is author of the The A Player and a certified Scaling Up coach. More resources are available at www.aplayeradvantage.com.

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5 Things HR Pros Should Be Doing Instead of Admin Work

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HR professionals at small and mid-sized businesses are drowning in paperwork and repetitive administrative tasks. What they should be doing instead is looking for opportunities to automate so they can focus on the important stuff, like strategic business-building activities.

Generally, HR resources at small businesses are limited. The full scope of administrative tasks like hiring, onboarding, benefits management, and time tracking often falls to just one person — on top of any other business responsibilities they may be expected to bear. This task load eats away at the limited time these team members have to provide strategic organizational support.

To solve this crisis, HR pros must turn to HR tech to help them streamline their day-to-day tasks. Here are five things HR pros should be doing instead of admin work – and why it’s so important for business leaders to support bringing HR administration online:

1. Focusing on Hiring

The unemployment rate is at its lowest point in nearly 50 years, which means qualified candidates are more difficult to find than (virtually) ever. When a great candidate does enter the job market, they’re typically snatched up quickly. Experts say the best of the best are usually hired in less than 10 days. Certainly, no HR pro buried under mundane paperwork will be agile enough to grab these prospects.

What can HR professionals do to compete for this smaller pool of talent that disappears fast? You basically have three options: you can lower your hiring standards, increase pay, or dedicate more time to pursuing top talent.

Our organization chose the latter, and it has paid off. We used to follow the standard routine of responding to new candidates by email, usually within 2-3 days of receiving their application. When we ditched the email responses and started personally calling each candidate within hours of their application, our hiring metrics improved substantially.

Again, overburdened HR pros don’t have time to make instant phone calls to every candidate.

2. Improving Employee Training and Personnel Support

To fill the skills gaps that nearly every company is dealing with today, HR pros must be able to prioritize updating employee handbooks and manuals, improving professional development efforts, and increased team-building efforts. Today’s employees are also drawn to personal feedback and coaching now more than ever, which means HR professionals can add real value to an organization by implementing regular one-to-one meetings that fulfill candidates’ needs for development.

Regular, documented one-to-one meetings between managers and their direct reports are our organization’s primary mechanism for consistent coaching and feedback. One-to-ones benefit HR, too: The process allows managers to collect ongoing documentation about issues while providing team members with regular opportunities to share their ideas or concerns.

3. Enhancing Company Culture

Employees perform their best work when the culture is great, and many workers would even switch jobs if it meant joining a better culture.

Building a strong organizational culture is the kind of work many HR professionals enjoy and feel adds the most value, but it’s also a time-consuming, long-term kind of project. As such, culture often gets put on the back burner as the daily tasks pile up. By automating away administrative responsibilities, HR can spend more time creating cultures where people want to work and can thrive.

4. Staying on Top of Compliance Issues

Compliance pressure is a consistent challenge for HR leaders at small and mid-sized businesses. It can be a struggle to stay current with changing regulations, and organizations operating in multiple states must navigate particularly complex legal webs.

However, like culture-building, compliance requires significant, sustained attention. Menial tasks like payroll and time-tracking only detract from the time HR pros could spend on staying up to date on state and federal compliance matters.

5. Updating the Employee Experience

New technology is not just altering the scope of HR — it is affecting every segment of every business, regardless of industry. Moreover, candidates scrutinize the technology and workflows used throughout your hiring process. A clunky and inconvenient experience will cause candidates to drop out of the running.

HR professionals should consider carefully whether the company’s technology is up to date and whether it’s helping or hindering employees in getting their tasks done. This of course includes hiring technology, but also the systems workers have to use every day in your organization.

Tech is yet another area many HR leaders would love to improve, but they can’t seem to find the time for it in light of other pressing business needs. Yet the employee experience is the foundation on which the company’s continued success is built — so making time to prioritize it can have a big payoff.

HR professionals are crucial to keeping small and mid-sized businesses going and growing, but they’re not delivering the most value if their days are characterized by endless paperwork. When you automate and streamline HR administration, you give your HR pros the opportunity to fully contribute to organizational success.

Alex Tolbert is the founder and CEO of BerniePortal and Bernard Health.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
Like this article? We also offer tons of free eBooks on career and recruiting topics – check out Get a Better Job the Right Way and Why It Matters Who Does Your Recruiting.