Monthly Archives

December 2018

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Managing Safety in an Aging Workforce

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n 2017, nearly 45% of all employees were age 45 or older.[1] This number indicates that employers need to manage and maintain the safety of their mature employees in a diligent and effective manner. Despite older workers having a lower injury rate, their work-related injuries tend to be more serious than those incurred by their younger co-workers. Safety concerns could include:

  • Short-term memory
  • Slower reaction time
  • Declining vision and/or hearing
  • Declining balance

The most important aspect of any work environment is safety. Here are a few ways to help keep your mature employees safe in the workplace.

Routine Facility Maintenance

Regularly check that machinery is properly secured and guarded, and ensure repairs or parts replacement on office equipment is made in a timely manner. Makeshift repairs or temporary fixes could result in injuries, especially for aging employees.

Ergonomic Assessment

A job safety and ergonomic assessment can identify potential improvements to an employee’s workstation and environment. An audit of the employee’s environment can allow management to remove hazards and help determine the safest way for the employee to perform their job.

Prioritize Safety

Because slip and fall accidents and injuries are one of the major causes of aging employee injuries, prioritizing slip and fall prevention is incredibly important. Instead of putting off improvements, reprioritize your budget or annual plan to make necessary adjustments sooner than later.

Sponsored Exercise Programs

Encourage employees to participate in an exercise program. Lead the charge in a ‘Wellness Wednesday Walk’ around your building or campus, or sponsor a weekly exercise group. Regular exercise could reduce the risk of an on-the-job injury.

Harbor America supports employers’ efforts to control and reduce risk. Learn more about our Safety and Risk Management solutions.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm

Wage & Hour Division Payroll Audit Independent Determination Program

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The US Department of Labor hosted a webinar on the Wage and Hour Division PAID Program. The webinar covers details about the PAID self-audit program, program benefits, and how the program works. Employee benefits, for example, include no attorneys’ fees, no litigation expense or delay, and freedom to decide whether or not to accept the settlement. Employer benefits include resolution outside of litigation, no liquidated damages, and no civil money penalties. Check out the full webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENX2Q_9VArs

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6 Tips for Expanding Your Construction Business the Smart Way

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If you’re in the construction industry, you probably know this has been a good year for growth. In fact, the first three months of 2018 showed a four percent increase in construction projects when compared to 2017. But what about your construction business? Has your construction firm been around for several years but still isn’t growing? Then, it may be time to expand your company.  Or perhaps you are growing quickly but are doing so without a plan or strategy for growth in place. Here are six tips for expanding your construction business the smart way, along with what not to do:

1. Use the Internet for Marketing Your Company

Even though word-of-mouth is still the best way to get new customers, you need to take advantage of the internet when promoting your construction business. This means having your construction business visible on sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, yellowpages.com and other platforms.

Furthermore, create a professional website for your business that includes pertinent details about your company, such as its services and past projects. Include a contact form, and make sure your website is designed with strong SEO in place so potential new customers can find you.

2. Develop a Reputation for Delivering Exceptional Services

For your construction company to grow quickly, it needs to be known for providing exceptional, high-quality service. A huge way to develop a good reputation is to be known for being accessible when clients try to contact you. Moreover, when you don’t notify customers that you’re running late for an appointment, don’t expect them to give you more business or write positive reviews.

Look for customers whom you know you can easily satisfy and who will likely give you lead to referral business. The more clients you can retain, the less you’ll need to spend on marketing. Additionally, you won’t have to devote as much time to seeking new customers for replacing the ones who have left.

3. Earn a Reputation for Safety

As the construction trade is at a higher risk for accidents than most industries, it’s important your company has a good reputation regarding safety. In addition to having mandatory meetings on how to safely do each job, provide seminars on safety procedures. It’s also important to have a solid safety plan in place.

4. Network

Networking with other people is critical if you want to get more work for your company. For example, get involved in trade associations or your local Chamber of Commerce, so you can find more vendors and generate more leads. Also, giving back to your community by volunteering is another effective way to network for your company.

5. Choose a Niche Market

The key to success for a small business is finding and choosing a niche. Determine what you want your construction company to be known for doing well. In other words, emphasize your business’s strong points. Do you want to have a reputation for providing general contracting services, or would you rather be known for a specific service, such as renovating older buildings while maintaining their original character? When a company specializes or finds a niche market, it stands out as unique from its competitors.

6. Be Willing to Invest Money and Time into Your Business

For your construction company to grow, you’ll need to invest money and time into it. Regularly update your technology and buy new equipment, when needed. It can also be worth your time and money to provide ongoing training for your workers.

What Not to Do

  • Don’t hire people off the street. Always ask for references and do comprehensive background checks. Only hire skilled, knowledgeable and dependable workers To keep your top employees, offer them benefits, rewards and promotions.
  • Don’t cut corners to reduce expenses since this can tarnish your construction company’s reputation.
  • Don’t be afraid to adjust to new ways of doing things. Instead, be adaptable and open to new ideas, remembering that change can be a positive thing. Consider that not keeping up with the current trends can be detrimental to your business.
  • Don’t expect new jobs and customers to magically “fall into your lap” without doing any legwork. If you want your construction business to grow, you’ll need to be more proactive. This entails reaching out to general contractors and architects, asking them about their upcoming projects. If you’re reactive, rather than proactive, chances are, your company won’t expand. Even worse, you could be forced to go out of business.
  • Don’t expect to be “all things to all people.” This means being honest and realistic about what you can and cannot do.

Learn More About Harbor America’s Wide Range of Services

Another smart move is to hire a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) like Harbor America, so you can have more time to run your growing business. Please contact us for a free quote and learn more about our wide range of services.

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Top 5 Reasons to Have a PEO Handle Your Benefits

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As the owner of a rapidly growing business, you may find that it’s hard to keep up with everything yourself. From the daily operations to your Human Resources management, it can be a lot to handle. And, since your expertise is in the business operations, you may not have the specific expertise necessary for your HR and benefits management efforts to truly thrive. That’s where a Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, can help. Here’s a look at the top five reasons why you should work with a PEO for managing your benefits and related HR tasks:

Eliminate The Time Demand Of Payroll Processing

Payroll can be a time-consuming and resource-demanding process, especially in businesses where staff works varying shifts and time cards must be manually processed each week. If you want to be able to focus more of your time on your daily tasks, work with a PEO. They will handle your payroll needs for you as part of the contract.

While you could contract these services out to a payroll-exclusive business, it’s to your advantage to work with a PEO instead. A payroll-exclusive business will do nothing but your payroll needs while working with a PEO brings you far more. You’ll get not only payroll management but also general human resources services and benefits administration, too.

Increase Your Benefits Package Options

Because a PEO is in the business of managing employee benefits, compensation, and resources, they have access to top-notch benefits packages that you may not be able to offer otherwise. They deal with larger volumes because of the number of companies they deal with, so you can take advantage of group discounts and pricing structures that allow your employees greater benefits options at a lower cost.

Reduce Your Time Investment For Benefits Shopping

When you first started hiring employees, you likely saw first-hand how complex and time-consuming it can be to sort through all of the benefits package options, including any retirement packages, insurance plans, and work-life benefit choices.

Working with a PEO saves you from having to spend your time dealing with the searching, the comparisons, the negotiations, and the selection. All you have to do is tell them what you’re looking to offer to your staff, and they will help you create the package that you envision. That frees up the time you would have spent so that you can better focus on your business profitability.

Reduce Your Legal Liability Risk

When it comes to handling employment taxes, workers’ compensation policies and audits, and other federal employer documentation, missing a deadline or filing incorrectly can have legal and financial ramifications. These types of documents and filings are part of what a PEO handles every day. This means your PEO representatives are up-to-date on any changes that may have happened since last tax season, they know the deadlines for filing, and they will ensure that everything is submitted accurately. In addition, you’ll have someone to fall back on in the face of an IRS or workers’ compensation audit.

Retain Your Top Talent

Having a PEO that handles your HR for you means having someone who is dedicated to offering the best benefits, ensuring employee retention, and following employer laws. When your employees see that you are working with an organization that’s committed to offering them the best benefits options possible, you are far more likely to retain your top talent and minimize staff attrition rates.

Learn More About How a PEO Can Help Your Business

These are some of the top reasons why you should work with a PEO. As a business owner, you need to balance the needs of your staff with the requirements of your business operation. Understanding how Harbor America can help you do this makes it easier to prioritize the investment. Contact us today to take advantage of these benefits and more.