Monthly Archives

January 2020

Returnships: What You Need to Know

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While the younger generations have been overwhelming the general workforce, there are still individuals that are returning to work. Whether it is an individual returning from a medical condition, someone coming out of retirement, or a parent returning to the workforce, sometimes a period to reacclimate to the work environment can assist these individuals with a smoother, more successful transition.

Returnships are programs that can range from a few weeks to a few months that help individuals returning to the workforce develop relevant skills, build professional experience, and expand their networks. Returnships can offer a unique, alternative approach to recruiting strategies. Some industries require a depth of knowledge and experience in a field, which can create rifts in hiring new or entry-level employees to fill the voids.

While some companies may view this as a delay to their onboarding, returnships offer minimal risk because while employees may learn at a slowed pace, they are able to develop a deeper understanding of the company mission and ethos.

Returnships also do not guarantee employment. For example, if an individual finds that returning to work isn’t feasible, or the company does not think the candidate is the right fit, the individual does not have to accept or be presented an offer.

Although returnships are revolutionizing the way new or returning workers can reenter the workforce with ease, there are some loopholes in the implementation that need to be addressed. One hurdle to address is the difficulty of implementation of returnship programs due to the new concept. Many industries do not know how to design or implement returnship programs into their business structure. This also influences determining compensation for such programs.

Lastly, returnship programs are vastly different from company to company. It is important for individuals looking for such a program to do their due diligence to find a returnship that best suits their needs. Perhaps those that have already implemented or planning to implement a returnship program should look into varying levels to address various needs among their top candidate pools.

Returnship programs can assist in recruiting efforts at organizations of all sizes. However, not all organizations are equipped for returnship programs. As such, it is important to weigh the benefits these programs may offer to your company before advocating and implementing them. Not sure if you’re ready or equipped for this? Contact Harbor America, your partner PEO, who can provide insight into a business solution that best suits your needs.

Source: HR Insights: Returnship Programs

OSHA Agr x

OSHA: Agricultural Risks and Prevention

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With all the risks involved in agriculture, employees must remain diligent in their efforts to prevent injury. Noise exposure is one of the leading causes of hearing loss in the agriculture industry. As such, the agriculture industry should implement ways to educate the risks associated with the work, as well as provide adequate training to prevent such injuries.

Exposure to high sound levels increases a worker’s likelihood of hearing injury. Because agriculture uses noisy equipment like tractors, chain saws, grain dryers, and other heavy equipment for extended periods of time, OSHA [recommends] hearing protection for sound levels above 90 decibels or exposure to high sound levels of eight hours or longer.

Employers undertake the responsibility to protect their employees. Here are a few tips to help reduce noise exposures:


Both providing appropriate and sufficient equipment is imperative to adequate protection. Perform regular maintenance checks on all equipment to ensure there are no machine parts increasing decibels while in use. Replacing outdated, worn, or defective parts can reduce noise levels. Remaining up to date on equipment models and featured tools for such equipment can also reduce noise levels.


Delegating work on rotation can help reduce exposure to noisy equipment. For example, having a worker or group of workers operating a loud machine rotates to a less noisy task after a set period of time could reduce exposure to such high noise levels and risks. Individuals with already developed hearing problems should not be tasked with high noise tasks or work in high noise work areas.


Be proactive in identifying any potential risks and preventative methods to reduce hearing injuries. For example, if an individual displays symptoms or complains of symptoms of potential hearing loss, referring him or her to an audiologist to determine a potential injury can prevent further injury. Being proactive can also include awareness of your surroundings, such as ensuring all employees are following safety protocols and adequate safety equipment is provided to all workers. For more information on safety and health in agriculture, please visit OSHA’s website which provides helpful tools to assist with such concerns. If you’re not sure if you are in compliance with OSHA standards or would like to learn more about risk management, please contact Harbor America. We value the safety and wellbeing of all employees and have a team of safety and risk management experts that are more than happy to help find a solution that best suits your business needs.


Source: Agriculture Risk Advisor

Upskilling to Lead Company Revamping

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With the HR industry revitalizing and revamping its strategies to best position businesses in the competitive markets, the hunt for top talent is scarce. Marketing efforts have evolved to unique and quality benefits that attract younger, mobile candidates, as well as innovative, robust workplace settings and culture to retain top employees. With the struggle of attracting and maintaining a strong workforce, companies may see a shift to utilizing upskilling methods rather than engaging in the daunting HR processes for terminating, hiring, and recovering from employee turnover.

Upskilling is employer-provided training and education to learn new skills and enhance already established skillsets. This investment in employees showcases the value you have for their expertise, their trust, and enthusiasm to further their career within your corporation, and provides a win-win situation.

66% of global executives prioritize upskilling their employees.1 Upskilling provides benefits for both employees and employers.

For employees, upskilling provides broad growth opportunities and marketability. Learning new skills and honing established skillsets equip employees with more opportunities to advance their careers. With AI and automation revolutionizing the workforce, upskilling presents employees with a competitive edge to demonstrate adaptability and collaborative skills.

For employers, upskilling boosts employee retention and competitive strategy among rivaling companies and industries. Upskilling can reduce job vacancies and onboarding expenses, while also providing professional development opportunities for current employees. Progressing employee skills to adapt to changes in the market allows your business to prosper and sustain an ambitious position in the marketplace.

How to Implement an Upskilling Strategy

Evaluate business demands. The first and best place to begin strategizing for upskilling begins with evaluating the skill gaps and brainstorming solutions. From there, you can determine an appropriate approach to implementing such solutions.

Strategize long-term needs and resources. Next, you should look to the market that you service and predict shifts in skillsets and systems that will influence the employee demand and marketability. This will allow you to strategize for future needs and resources that will [sustain] in the long term.

Analyze employee needs. Employees carry individual skillsets that benefit your business. Take a moment to analyze what each employee brings to the table, and then identify potential areas of expanding such skillsets to further assist your business challenges.

Develop adequate upskilling programs. Cultivating programs tailored to both employee interests and business needs will provide more successful upskilling. Ensure programs are up to date with market and business changes, as well as using sufficient technology to advance such programs. Take advantage of technology. Investing in technology, such as performance management tools, can assist in the proper identification of areas for improvement, as well as methods for developing skills to improve.

Looking for ways to revamp your company’s approach to recruiting and employee retention? Harbor America provides an inclusive suite of HR management solutions, including onboarding, compliance, unemployment, and much more. Contact us today to learn more about ways to promote the use of upskilling and other resources available to advance your business needs.


1HR Insights: Benefits of Upskilling

2020 HR Trends to Watch

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The human resources industry has been long-standing and evolving. It is an industry that thrives on its foundation of communication, connection, and managing employee relations. As we enter 2020, there are some new trends that are revitalizing the HR industry’s foundation and ones you, as a business owner, will want to stay on top of.

Human-Centric Interactions

People are looking for more meaningful connections, both as business representatives and individuals. With genuine connection and building lasting relationships with clients, business owners might want to re-evaluate their in-house workforce and ensure their foundation can weather any storm. There are two organizational points that should be well-developed to nourish the human-centric interactions: leadership and company culture. Budding friendships with coworkers, placing an emphasis on gratitude, and collaborating on effective solutions to alleviate pain points are great ways to address company culture issues. Creating a positive, robust company culture starts with leadership. Finding leaders who can motivate, delegate, and integrate diverse personalities, cultures, and individual needs are imperative to successful changes in company culture.

Community Outreach

There is a humanitarian movement that is breaching the workplace. 2020 should see a shift of corporate social responsibility moving toward the forefront of business initiatives. Whether the social pressure has prompted companies to place more emphasis on giving back to the local communities they serve, or genuinely wanting to connect and develop a stronger relationship with the local communities, businesses are pushing social initiatives to new boundaries.

Balancing Accountability

With employee engagement and productivity becoming more vital to the integrity of a business’s vision, balancing employer and employee accountability will be pushed in the coming years. Employers will need to implement creative, innovative means for workplace engagement, whereas employees will need to develop well-rounded work ethics that encompass enthusiasm, ambition, and stamina for the work ahead of them. The focus will be less on employees only and shift to the entirety of a corporation, including leaders.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Remote and other flexible work arrangements are becoming the norm. Nine-to-five and five-day workweeks are being pushed out of normal business practices. As most businesses are revamping their corporate cultures and balancing responsibilities among all levels of their organizations, it should come as no surprise that the structure of such businesses will change as well. Research has shown that flexible schedules and work arrangements improve productivity and overall wellbeing of employees.

Data-Driven Strategy

Data analyses can drive strategy for predictive behaviors and better position companies for recruiting and retaining top talent. Using data can offer real-time and real-world analyses of what is working and what is not within the ebbs and flows of a corporate structure. Utilizing such data to formulate refined strategies can provide companies the boost they seek in both employee engagement and employee retention.

As the HR industry continues to evolve and trends constantly change, it can be cumbersome for business owners to stay on top of it all. For help managing your HR systems and processes, call Harbor America. We offer extensive HR resources and services that can push your business to the top. From workers’ compensation, payroll administration, safety and risk management, and technology, we value your business demands and provide adequate solutions for your HR issues.


Source: 8 HR Predictions for 2020